Category Archives: Realtors

Blockchain Applications for Real Estate – How “Bitcoin Technology” will Change or Improve Real Estate

Blockchain Applications for Real Estate

Most people have heard about cryptocurrency but few understand it. I must admit, upon first hearing about Bitcoin years ago I was very wary. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies remind me of a Ponzi scheme or other scam. It just seemed like voodoo and I thought it was creating money out of thin air.

I think it is a tough pill to swallow when someone changes our concept of money. If money is only virtual can it just disappear?

We have learned to trust banks; but it would not take too much of a disruption for that trust to be shattered. The foundation of money is the exchange of value and people’s perception of value.

The mighty dollar is recognized as a store of value the world over. The US stopped backing up the value of the dollar with gold decades ago. But, it is still the world standard and trusted currency.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Bitcoin was created in 2009 and is perhaps the most well-known of the cryptocurrencies; but there are over 1,000 other digital currencies.

Unlike the Federal Reserve System of centralized control of the banking system and money supply, cryptocurrencies are decentralized and use a blockchain transaction database as a distributed ledger.

There is no single entity, government or financial institution that controls the bitcoin or any cryptocurrency network. So, rather than a single “truth” ledger as used in a centralized system, the distributed system uses several thousands of points or ledgers and “people” (miners) to verify the integrity of the system.

This means it is exponentially more difficult to hack as there are thousands of copies that must agree instead of one central “location” of the data.

Best Explanation of Blockchain Technology

I didn’t truly understand or trust Bitcoin and have ignored it until I began to understand the blockchain concept of a distributed database and the implications it has for verification across many applications and industries.

Removing the “currency” aspect helped me to understand the implications without getting hung up on the money part.

I highly recommend watching the video below. This video by Anders Brownworth, is the simplest and best explanation of blockchain that I have seen to date:

Broad Real Estate Applications and Implications

I don’t know about you but watching the above video was a lightbulb moment for me. Seeing the demo as to how the actual records worked deepened my understand and allowed me to visualize its usage in so many other areas.

While I am not the smartest egg in the basket; if I can grasp the future implications then the really smart people can actually harness them and make them a reality.

The advantages of blockchain techniques are accurate, verifiable and public information.

Consider the current state of the real estate industry where title records are centralized and recorded at the county level. Distributing the information through a blockchain would eliminate any clerical errors and provide a streamlined history of property transactions.

Title insurance is prone to fraudulent targeting but blockchain encryption would improve security. This would also impact the title insurance industry costs and reduce risks.

Escrow could be handled through a blockchain rather than through an Attorney. Blockchain technology could validate property disclosures across many owners and over decades could be saved and easily retrievable. Global real estate markets would become more transparent, lowering risk and increasing liquidity.

Smart contracts are pre-written, stored and replicated with blockchain. They can be used for money, property or anything that can be shared, traded or exchanged.

The contracts are executed and run by the computers in the blockchain without the help of any 3rd party. Therefore, no one person owns the contract or has complete control of it. They enable trust by encryption on a shared ledger where all parties have access to them. They are redundant across the blockchain to prevent loss. They save time and money by eliminating the need for a middleman.

Ethereum is the most prominent public blockchain platform to use smart contracts. Smart contracts will be the future of negotiation; they will self-execute based on a set of instructions that two parties have agreed to. This code logic can include just about any of the- if this, then that – contingencies prevalent in a real estate transaction.

The National Association of Realtors have also explored and written about the potential of blockchains and real estate.

Real Estate Backed Cryptocurrency

In July 2017, REcoin was launched as the first ever cryptocurrency backed by real estate. Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) declared the offering a fraud designed to bilk unsuspecting investors.

A quick search also finds Share Estate, that allows you to invest in commercial real estate all over the world using blockchain. It uses the Ethereum platform and a closed end fund. Share Estate owners will receive SRE tokens that are backed up by real estate assets, share in the net profit of the commercial projects (through rent or eventual sale), able to use the underlying objects like booking a night in a hotel in the fund, the value of tokens will increase over time reflecting the underlying value of the real estate asset and provide voting rights for the holder toward planned project acquisitions.

Make no mistake, cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Witness over 1,574 bitcoin ATM’s installed all over the world by September 2017.

The IRS treats bitcoin as property rather than currency. So, bitcoin is subject to capital gains tax and scholars have agreed that the currency behaves similar to the precious metal markets.

Coinmarketcap.com reported in June 2017 the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies is bigger than 100 billion USD and record high daily volume is larger than 6 billion USD.

REAL (Real Estate Asset Ledger) is another real estate venture using cryptocurrency. It crowdfunds real estate purchases where a group of investors, whom may not even know each other, buy shares similar to a Real Estate Investment Trust. The properties being crowd funded accept REAL Tokens or its in-house cryptocurrency. Pay outs are made in Ether a widely used cryptocurrency.

Streamline Rental Process for Landlords and Tenants

Rentberry is another blockchain related real estate application. It uses a long-term rental application built on consensus blockchain ledger technology. The company’s website describes its services as “a transparent home rental service and a price negotiation platform uniting tenants and landlords. It automates all the standard rental tasks from submitting your personal information, credit reports and custom offers, to e-signing rental agreements and online rental payments.” Rentberry is also an Ethereum based blockchain application.

Rentberry has over 100-thousand users and lists 160-thousand properties in nearly five-thousand cities in the United States.

Current Marketing to Bitcoin Buyers

A Philadelphia Condo community has advertised condos for sale at 795 bitcoins (over $342k at the market exchange rate at the time) to attract the segment and illustrate the validity of the currency.

Currently, the practicality of a total bitcoin transaction doesn’t fly. The title insurance company must comply with the “good funds rule” where money needs to cover all escrow items. A lender will not currently accept bitcoin to pay off a mortgage balance so bitcoin transactions are limited to where a seller owns the property without a mortgage. A transaction where the bitcoin is converted prior to completing the real estate transaction is always possible and has taken place in Texas.

A Dubai apartment complex is also being priced in bitcoin. The $332 million dollar project has two apartment towers and a shopping mail. Prices for a studio apartment started at 27 BTC.

Limiting Factors to Blockchain Adoption

Forbes recently wrote about the roadblocks for blockchain applications in real estate. The roadblocks are very real due to the lack of understanding by most people and entrenched industry incumbents whose entire reason for being would be threatened by the change. As applications using blockchain increase and people become more trusting and knowledgable, the technology will be applied to real estate.

Bitcoin magazine states cryptocurrencies are a significant challenge to central banks ability to influence the price of credit for the whole economy. Cryptocurrencies work without regard to national boundaries or policies.

Fraud and Criminal Use

While cryptocurrencies facilitate person to person exchanges globally, their nature has attracted a “criminal” or underground use from Ransomware hackers requiring payment in the currency to helping dwellers in the black market to evade taxes or launder money.

Unlike currency held in a financial institution, cryptocurrencies are more difficult for governments or law enforcement to seize and are favored by the criminal element to remain anonymous and undetected.

Volatility

Over the last year bitcoin gained value and recognition. On Jan 2, 2017 a bitcoin was worth $985.56; as of Nov 6, 2017 a bitcoin was worth $6778.17. This would be quite a windfall for any real estate transaction defined in bitcoins from earlier in the year. However, like all markets what goes up can also go down.

The volatility of bitcoins, or how much the price changes over time, is much higher than most centralized currencies. Some experts warn that it is the next bubble that will burst.

Conclusion

Fundamentally, blockchain technology has many more applications that will affect our lives in far reaching ways. Cryptocurrencies is just the tip of the iceberg. Cryptocurrencies are in their infancy and will likely go though many changes in the future.

Blockchain technology can be applied even more broadly and has the potential to radically change much of how business and governments operate. Our lives and our jobs will likely be dramatically impacted over the next few years. Changes will not be limited to real estate applications. For this reason, it is important to begin to get a basic understanding of this technology and how it may be applied in the future.

Eillu real estate leverages the best in technology to provide the best service and value to our customers. While we are not advertising our listings in bitcoin, we always stay on top of industry and technological trends to provide first class services.

MLS Monthly Outer Banks Market Report


Things Your Real Estate Broker Won’t Tell You about Listing Fees

Eillu lowers listing fee to 1.5%

Have you considered selling your Outer Banks home? There are a lot of things to consider before you put your home on the market. Perhaps, you believe one real estate broker is as good as another to maximize the profit from the sale and to complete the sale in the shortest time.

Not true. The skills, market knowledge and motivation differs greatly from one agent to the next. A single agent may be able to sell your home, but a team pulls together additional resources and skills to expertly market and use technology to gain efficiencies. Each agency defines what services they provide and at what cost.

How do real estate commission work?

The standard commission in the Outer Banks is 6%. So, that is $6,000 for every $100,000 of the sale price. That is a lot of money! The average sale price in the Outer Banks is $410,819, as of the last MLS statistics. So, a seller will need to pay over $24,500 in agent commissions for the sale of their Outer Banks property.

The commission is typically paid entirely by the seller; but 3% goes to the listing agent and 3% goes to the buyer’s agent. On each side of the transaction, the commission is typically shared with the brokerage to cover overhead and costs; so, each agent may only realize a fraction of the full commission.

While a seller lists their home with one firm, typically the buyer may be found by an agent at a different firm. The firm representing the buyer is completely independent of the listing firm and could be any one of hundreds of real estate firms.

So, what do you think will happen if you disclose the seller will only pay 2% (or less) to the buyers’ agency? Less traffic, less interest and a listing that may lag even though everything else is done right. Of course, it is not ethical not to show a buyer a property because the commission is reduced. Many times it may not be a conscious choice by the agent. The buzz and excitement generated by other listings just cause it to fall out of favor.

As a seller, you need to maintain the status quo to keep buyers agents motivated. In the past, I have even offered a bonus to the selling agents to increase interest, create buzz and sell the property faster.

At Eillu, we think we have discovered a better way. It’s a win for sellers and a win for buyers and all agents are fairly compensated and well-motivated.

How much will it cost you to sell?

Consider this: Does it cost twice as much to sell a million dollar property compared to a half million dollar property? At 6%, that’s $30,000 vs $60,000! Cost to sell a high dollar property may be incrementally higher but not likely double. After all, doubling the amount of advertising may only be throwing money away if it is not well targeted.

Does it cost twice as much to sell a million dollar property compared to a half million dollar property? At 6%, that’s $30,000 vs $60,000!

We at Eillu believe, the additional cost to show, market and sell the higher value property does not justify doubling the commission cost. That why we have lowered the listing commission to 1.5% (with a $15,000 cap) and included an incentive to buyers who use an Eillu Associate of 25% ($5,000 cap) of the Buyer’s Agent commission, payable at closing.

This is likely to be disruptive to the Outer Banks real estate market. No one likes change. Real estate is no different and the 6% commission has been the status quo for as long as anyone can remember.

Real Estate has changed

What most people fail to realize is the real estate market is vastly different than when this commission model was put in place. In the past, real estate agents had a monopoly on the MLS. So buyers and sellers did not have information or the network access. While there is not public access to the MLS directly, the internet provides a multitude of listings, information and resources available for buyers and sellers to educate themselves and perform analysis without the use of an agent.

Technology and the internet has drastically changed the real estate market. The internet puts buyers and sellers directly in the driver’s seat with access to up to date information. Today’s buyers and sellers are much more educated on the market and the process before they contact an agent. Over 98% of buyers today begin their search on the internet and hire an agent after educating themselves.

Buyers can research the market and take virtual tours of distant properties very easily. This allows buyers to do a lot of the work before even contacting an agent. They can pre-qualify for a mortgage and know how much they can afford. They can narrow down their search to just a few properties in the area that meets their criteria.

In the past, buyers may not have been as educated and needed to see a dozen or more properties before finding one to place an offer. They needed an agent to walk them through the process and typically did not pre-qualify before embarking on their search. This required a lot more of the agents’ time and attention and did not always result in a sale. Therefore, the higher commission rate offset work where the agent earned no commission.

Today, rather than a buyer visiting a dozen or more listings; they have done the work prior to hiring an agent. At Eillu, we recognize the effort buyers have made for themselves and believe in giving back. If you use an Eillu Associate to buy your Outer Banks home, we will reward you with 25% of the commission earned (up to $5,000) by the buyer’s agent. It’s like free money, right when you need it most. You can use it for closing, home improvements, new furniture or a vacation.

What exactly does the seller get for his/her money?

Agent Fees are Negotiable

Agent fees or commissions have always been negotiable. In the past, most sellers did not ask or attempt to negotiate the commission. In a booming market, an owner attempting to negotiate a commission may not find an agent to accept. If one did find one to accept, what kind of service would be provided for the lower commission? Not likely the agents’ best effort especially when they had other properties they could sell that would yield more for them.

Discount or Flat Fee Services

Nationally, there are several real estate agencies advertising discount or flat fee services. There are some agents who are adopting a “pay-per-service” or even hourly billing. This structure allows the seller to pick from a menu of services, like MLS listing, open houses, yard signs and fliers, and pay accordingly.

In Chicago, Lucid Realty has a sliding scale for commission and also an hourly rate. Redfin is also a major company adopting a discount commission model. Some companies, reduce the services provided with the discount commission while others include “full-service”. For some companies, full service may include staging, professional photographs, video or drone tours and for others it does not. There is no standard definition of “full service”.

Sellers should be aware of what exactly is included in the listing agreement and what the commission will be before selecting a listing agent for their home.

Eillu is Full Service for Buyers & Sellers

At Eillu, we have created a boutique real estate firm using a specialized team of professionals. We have built a new type of agency from the ground up. We invested in technology to get a seamless network.

Our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system allows us to track, react and respond within minutes to all inquiries on our website. Our communication and document management system makes it easy to store and access all documents or messages with one easy interface accessible from any device. This makes it easy for buyers, sellers and our agents to be productive from anywhere.

Our team of professionals include seasoned and experienced Agents as well as many people you will not meet. These are the technicians keeping the network and website optimized or the marketing professionals creating a customized campaign to sell your home. All of this is put in place to create efficiencies to streamline and simplify the process. This makes it easier for all involved in the transaction and translates into savings. We believe in transferring these savings to our buyers and sellers. We want to be your agency of choice for life!

Eillu Full-Service Includes:

  • Current Market Analysis with Listing Price Strategy
  • Measurements & Notes of Property Features
  • Staging and curb appeal
  • Profession Photos
  • Aerial Drone Video (> $500k for select locations)
  • MLS Listing
  • Listing on Syndicated Realty Sites—900+
  • Coordinate Showings
  • Sign
  • Lockbox
  • Advanced Marketing Team to write copy, blog, create advertising, brochures, email marketing, and social media
  • Dedicated Web Page for your listing
  • Zillow 5 Star Premier Agent
  • Follow-up After Showings and Communicate Feedback
  • Review Offers in Detail & Negotiate
  • Follow-up with loan processing, inspections and all buyer deadlines
  • Attend home inspection
  • Communication to Seller every step of the process
  • Secure document storage, signature and retrieval
  • Attend and Represent at Closing
  • Broker with over 20 years’ experience in OBX market—over $1 Billion in Real Estate sold
  • Host Open Houses

Our Commitment

Our commitment goes beyond buyers and sellers. We have designed a real estate agency to motivate and reward agents based on customer satisfaction. Eillu Associates can elect to earn a salary and other benefits rather than being an independent contractor that receives a portion of the commission. We believe the team approach and flexible compensation structure provides security for agents and motivates them to provide the best level of service.

We also believe in giving back to the community. We have recently applied to become a certified B Corporation. A B Corp is a new organization structure that recognizes a company can still be profit driven and contribute positive change in the world. A B Corp is certified by the non-profit B Labs that the company meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. We love the Outer Banks community and continue to reach out and give back locally and globally. In fact, 5% of net company commissions are designated toward philanthropy.

Choosing the best real estate agency to represent the sale of your home should not be based only on price. The services you receive in exchange for that price is important to get the most value for your dollar. Most important though, is to have trust. Confidence that your most valuable asset is in the best hands possible. Not blind trust. At Eillu, our actions speak louder than words. List with us and find: honest communication, transparency, and fairness to all parties.


October 2016 Outer Banks Real Estate Market Report

first-quarter-2016-market-statisticsThe Outer Banks Association of Realtors released the October MLS Statistical Report – you can get the full report here.  Some highlights from this month’s report follows. 

Overall Market

Residential inventory decreased by 9% from compared to October last year while the median sale price increased by 4% and is likely to continue to put increased pressure on prices.  The quantity sold fell by 2% and volume sold increased by 2%. 

Lots and land volume sold increased by 14% with the quantity sold increased by 7%.  The average sale price for land increased by 7% while the median sale price is down by 6%.  Inventory is down by 20% compared to last year.

This is the lowest inventory numbers for land and residential in October in more than 10 years. 

Foreclosures

Short sales fell by 60% with the average sale price increasing by 36% compared to last year.  Bank owned property fell by 28% with an increase of 13% in the average sale price.  Overall the quantity of distressed property fell by 41% with an increase in average sales price of 27% and median sale price at 6%.  The reduction of distressed property inventory should continue and lead to modest appreciation levels and a healthier real estate market.

Residential

While single family units sold fell by 3%; condos unit sales increased by 21% compared to last year.  While single family units had no change in the volume sold, condos volume sold increased by 27% and Median sale prices increased by 6%.  Single family average sale price increased by 3% with a median increase of 7%.

The 2016 median sale prices for the towns in the Outer Banks and the percent change compared to 2015 appear below:

 

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Town

Median Price

% Change from 2015

Corolla

$428,500

-13%

Duck

$439,000

-1%

Southern Shores

$399,700

11%

Kitty Hawk

$305,000

-1%

Colington

$235,000

-2%

Kill Devil Hills

$267,000

13%

Nags Head

$387,000

6%

Hatteras Island

$265,000

1%

Roanoke Island

$263,000

7%

Currituck Mainland

$238,561

8%

 

Kill Devil Hills had the largest percentage gain of 13% compared to 2015.  OBAR also included charts for new construction permits in the recently released reports.  KDH has the greatest number of permits (over 40) and the greatest value especially when adding both incorporated areas and unincorporated areas.

Now is the ideal time to invest in Outer Banks real estate.  Prices are relatively low compared to market conditions in 2007, financing is readily available and mortgage rates are at historical lows.  The rental market is strong to provide income from the investment for years to come. For more information on buying Outer Banks Real Estate, or selling Outer Banks Real Estate or to learn more about the Outer Banks in general, please check out our blog.

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Rare Opportunity to Join Eillu Boutique Real Estate Team on OBX

Eillu-real-estate-recruit-new-agentsAre you ready to join the most progressive Real Estate Agency on the Outer Banks?  Act now, as Eillu is looking for new sales associates and are only looking for “a few good men… or women”.  Experience matters; but more important is initiative and drive.  We are looking for individuals who will work with our in-house marketing and technology team to deliver the best in class experience for our customers.  We have processes in place to provide qualified leads to our Agents and we are looking for Agents that can run with them. 

More Resources and Rewards

A Real Estate agent is not an island – to fend for himself and his survival.  Eillu is redefining what is best in class for sales, service and marketing.  But not only that, Eillu believes in providing resources and rewards to our agents.  Our agents are not just commissions to the firm.  We believe in rewarding agents with higher commission splits and long term financial security plans. 

Eillu does not charge Agents any franchise or office fees. We provide business cards, access to printers, scanners and copiers at no charge to the agent.  Not only that but, we provide error and omission insurance and workmen’s comp insurance. 

The resources available to the agent also include access to the CRM system and the marketing and technology team to learn how they are used.  We include all the technology to be a paperless office with Zip forms, secured cloud storage for all documents and paperwork.  This streamlines communication with clients and makes it easy to work with any device so you can be productive no matter where you are. 

Our Transaction Coordinator will process and validate you and your client’s paper work to make sure no items are overlooked to cause problems at closing.  The Coordinator will also follow-up with Vendors and service professionals to make sure necessary activities are completed.  This frees up Agents to do what they do best; connect with customers and assist with buying and selling properties.

Don’t be a Number – Join A Family

Are you just a cog in an anonymous wheel at your current firm?  Every Agent is part of our family.  Eillu and the team will support your personal and professional goals.  Each agent brings something unique to the team mix.   Each shines as an individual and contributes to the success of other team members and the success of the agency. 

We are looking for partners for life.  Where your longevity is rewarded with profit sharing and a long term financial planning.  We have your long term interest in mind.  Our success is your success and we are looking for Agents who are committed to professionalism and desire to expand their knowledge and performance every day.

Training & Mentorship

At Eillu being the best and staying at the top means continual learning.  Learning doesn’t stop when continuing education requirements are fulfilled.  It is a lifelong endeavor and a natural curiosity to expand, do more, see more and connect more.  At Eillu, we provide all the training resources along with mentorship; with motivation and accountability for results.     Team members can also mentor each other complimenting skill sets and increasing knowledge and connections.  Mentoring helps all agents to handle any kind of transaction and issues that arise with confidence from the experience of senior Agents.

Boutique Agency vs. Franchise

A boutique real estate firm defines itself differently than the franchise agency.  Rather than be one size fits all; most serve a niche market and have a driving passion that guides the business.  For Eillu, our guiding passion is customer experience.  We believe a specialized team approach is the best way to exceed client’s expectations.  We have a commitment to our community of the Outer Banks and believe in giving back through many established charities and events. 

Bottom Line

Our driving goal is to be the best.  The best customer service to both buyers and sellers, the best marketers and the best use of technology to make everyone more efficient.  While many agencies seek to be the biggest; to Eillu – size doesn’t matter.  We are looking for Agents who will contribute ideas to improve the team.  In today’s market, process improvement is continual.  If you are someone who likes to be involved and influence the future of the firm, then we want to talk to you!

Download our Recruitment Presentation for more details or schedule a confidential appointment today to see if you are a good fit.  We are looking for new full time dedicated Agents.  Agents dedicated to life long relationships with customers and being the best in class.  Agents dedicated to the Eillu Team and the community and who want to make a difference.  Are you one of the few we are looking for?

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Why Professional Marketing in Real Estate Matters

houseeMarketing plays a vital role in today’s real estate world. Buying and selling real estate has evolved dramatically over the past decade and people are depending on an agency with a strong marketing plan.

The internet is the first place buyers are looking and you need to make sure your listing stands out! You may wonder how your home can stand out from the thousands of other homes and is there any guarantee that buyers will click for more information and pictures?

If your Real Estate firm has a strong optimized website then it’s a safe bet that they have a large database of potential buyers. Before you hire an agent, you should make sure that you understand how they plan on marketing your home. An advanced Real Estate agency that understands the importance of professional marketing will be able to provide current examples of their email blast, blog articles, and other tech-savvy strategies. Below are some of the latest trends in real estate marketing that agents are using to sell your home!

Mobile Friendly Website with a Page for Your Listing

Your Agents website and emails need to be user-friendly on all devices. You want a potential buyer to have a positive perception of your Agent’s website and have it easy to navigate. Over 60 percent of emails are accessed by a mobile device so it is essential that the site is responsive. If the content on the page isn’t quick to load, the person is very likely to look elsewhere for their real estate needs.

At Eillu, our marketing plan includes a dedicated website page for every listing.  Our website has been optimized so that potential clients can easily find your listing. The easier the listing is to find online, the easier it is for people to take the next step and see the listing.

Hire a Professional Photographer

Successful real estate depends on great photography. Bad photos of listings can completely lose the buyers interest so it is vital that your Agent has well-staged, high resolutions pictures of your listing.

Real estate photography is often left to the professionals because they know how to enhance lighting and space to improve the quality of your images. The first thing a person usually notices when they are looking for a home is the pictures, so amazing pictures are the first place to start to attract buyers.

Develop Guides for Buyers and Sellers

Most clients, both buyers and sellers, have questions about the buying and selling process.  Some of these questions are common and are encountered multiple times. Eillu has created many downloadable guides to answer the common questions and obtain new leads.  Eillu’s website is a convenient place to find information that keeps buyers engaged.

Advertising

Advertising today is concentrated on the internet because that is where the people are and that is the preferred method buyers use to search.  A marketing plan typically includes a mix of advertising on various channels.  At Eillu, we have Zillow Premier Agents and include paid ads on the site.  Similarly, trulia, Homes.com and Realtor.com is also be included in the mix.  In addition, your homes listing is also included on over 900 affiliated sites to maximize the exposure.

CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is used by the advanced real estate firms to capture client data and expand the marketing possibilities with automation and targeting based on clients preferences.  Frequent emailed Newsletters to our client base keeps them engaged with real estate related topics, current community events, activities and local news.   The CRM allows Eillu agents to be more efficient and reach more customers by providing reminders and having a central location of client data.  It also allows us to be super responsive with chats and other techniques on the site to reach out to contacts when they need it the most.

Open Houses

While open houses are a traditional way of marketing listings, they continue to have a place in the marketing mix.  At Eillu, we believe in hosting open houses for Agents as well as potential buyers.  We generate more interest in our open houses through publicity leading up to the event and give-a-ways to generate excitement.

Increase Website Traffic

Professional marketing depends heavily on great content.  We believe the inbound marketing method of attracting customers with useful information and keep them coming back as valued clients.  We maintain client relationships for life and through all of the milestones reached.

We continually produce great content and promote the content through various channels.  Some of these channels are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.  In turn, these channels funnel more leads to our website to continually build the traffic and the number of eyes that will see your listing page.

We also vary the length and format of our content to appeal to different audiences. We produce long form content, like ebooks, to delve into a topic with more detail, infographics to illustrate a topic graphically as well as video to appeal to a wide range of audiences and preferences.

Our marketing team continually monitors your analytical data to improve our results and invest time and resources where we receive a positive return.  Real estate agents that have developed an effective marketing strategy are more likely to be able to provide clients with data-driven results.

These are just a few things to consider when you are researching a real estate agent for selling your home based on their professional marketing. Our boutique agency has a dedicated team of marketing professionals devoted to applying the best marketing techniques to increase the exposure of your home. With over 50 years of combined experience along with engagement in the community where we work, Eillu’s team of experts is ready to assist you in selling your home or finding the perfect property for your family to enjoy!  Yes, you can expect more with Eillu.

 


Advantages of Using a Boutique Real Estate Team

house-664674_640With so many real estate companies out there, it can be challenging to figure out which one is the right fit for you. Boutique real estate companies are becoming increasingly popular because of the special attention they give their clients. Boutiques firms offer superior customer service, in house marketing services, dedicated team members, and a quality over quantity mentality.

Today, the real estate consumer can educate themselves on the property, pricing, and general information before even interacting with an agent. This means that you must have a strong online presence with high quality photos, videos, and blogs to capture the consumer’s attention. Larger companies typically use a one-size fits all advertising model, while a boutique firm can create a marketing plan specifically for your home. Below are some of the top reasons why many buyers and sellers are using boutique real estate teams.

Top-Tier Agents

A boutique real estate firm is a small office that is staffed with experienced agents. The hiring process is unique and the owner is looking for well vetted professionals to join the close-knit team. The owner is working to build a small and proficient environment, which means only the best and most motivated will be hired. At a boutique firm, you can expect each broker to be proficient and dedicated to each client. The agents at Eillu have a proven track record as major players in the Outer Banks that enjoy working together to get the best results for their clients.

Team Support

Real estate agents and the marketing team work together on a daily basis to meet the needs of buyers and sellers. They have weekly meetings to keep each other up to date on the status of listings and important community information.  The agents and team have a strong working relationship, which lets them exchange information that can be beneficial for clients. Helping each other by working together allows agents to exceed client’s expectations and provide the best customer service possible.

Customer Service

Unlike larger companies, a boutique sales team realizes that each of their clients has different needs. The team understands the importance of having a strong relationship with the client and work hard to make sure the customer is always happy. Agents are motivated by customer satisfaction, not the number of homes they purchase or sell. When choosing a boutique firm you can expect an entire team dedicated to finding you the perfect home. If you are selling your home, you can trust that we have toured your property personally and have in-depth knowledge of the community so we can attract the ideal buyer. Boutique firms measure success by customer satisfaction and repeat clientele.

Eillu has an experienced team prepared to help with your Outer Banks property purchase or sale. Contact us to learn about buying or selling your Outer Banks home!

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Lakefront Delight in the Villages at Ocean Hill, Corolla

The Outer Banks is surrounded by water.  While technically not an island, we have the Atlantic Ocean to the East and the sound on the west.  With all this water, you may be surprised to find a hidden gem with a lakefront home on this beautiful peninsula. 

4-bedroom-3-bath-and-2-bath-Lakefront-home-in-Villages-at-Ocean-HillSituated in the lovely community of the Villages at Ocean Hill in Corolla, NC is 1242 Lakeside Dr.  This 4 bedroom (plus bonus room) Lakefront house is nestled on a wooded lot offering lots of privacy for the backyard deck, hot tub and pool.  The home has 3 full baths and 2 half baths that are well appointed.  The split level design creates and immensely comfortable flow for year round living.  The spacious garage has a built in workbench and plenty of storage space.

4-bedroom-3-bath-and-2-bath-Lakefront-home-in-Villages-at-Ocean-HillThe split level design also creates tons of usable deck space; private decks off of two bedrooms plus a spacious “L shaped” deck from the upper open living room area and a smaller deck for the lower level rec room or man cave.

The expansive open concept area for the living room, dining room and kitchen is ideal for entertaining large groups while still being intimate when it is just the family relaxing, enjoying a meal or watching TV. The mellow flames of the fireplace will provide added warmth and ambiance on cool winter nights.

4-bedroom-3-bath-and-2-bath-Lakefront-home-in-Villages-at-Ocean-HillWhat is most striking about the house is how roomy and spacious all the rooms feel.  It has over 3,400 sq ft for 4 bedrooms plus a bonus room that can be used as a home office, study or whatever you like. 

The master bedroom features a “spa like” master bathroom with a jetted tub nestled next to 3 windows, a separate large shower and double sinks. The custom tile work includes niches and a bench in the spacious shower.

4-bedroom-3-bath-and-2-bath-Lakefront-home-in-Villages-at-Ocean-HillThere is tons of storage space which is very unusual for Outer Banks homes which are typically designed as vacation homes.  From the huge kitchen pantry, master bedroom closet plus several well placed storage areas on each level and outside; there is ample space for everyone’s stuff.  The poolside storage has plenty of space for pool supplies, rafts and even deck furniture.       

4-bedroom-3-bath-and-2-half-bath-Lakefront-home-in-Villages-at-Ocean-HillThis home is well maintained and has not been in a rental program.  The current owners have enjoyed it as a second home.  It is tastefully decorated and is offered fully furnished.  One has to see this home to fully appreciate it.  There has been tremendous attention to details.  The furniture and accessories evoke calm restful seaside feeling with out being “beachy kitsch”.  The selection of fixtures and the quality and durability of materials have been carefully selected throughout the home.  The foyer features a lovely custom tile medallion to greet guests upon entering and the lower level has a hand painted mural on the closet door. 

The home is lakefront with only a few steps separating the yard from Crystal Lake.  The lake is a private lake for the community and as a result does not require a license to fish.  The fishing is catch and release.  Residents and guests also enjoy kayaking or stand up paddle boarding in the lake.  What a calm and relaxing way to spend the day enjoying the beautiful nature and surroundings.

4-bedroom-3-bath-and-2-half-bath-Lakefront-home-in-Villages-at-Ocean-HillWhile you may never want to leave this lakefront retreat, the Village of Ocean Hill has wonderful community amenities for you and your guest to enjoy.  The fitness center has a full range of gym equipment; from treadmills, elliptical trainers, bikes and rowing machines; to a complete set of benches and machines for weight training.  There is a oceanfront and a lakefront community pools with adjacent parking.  The younger set are sure to enjoy the playground.  There is also basketball court, shuffleboard, tennis courts, volleyball and four square court; something for everyone to enjoy.

One feature you are sure to enjoy is the beach valet service.  No more dragging your stuff to the beach.  Just rent beach chairs and umbrellas and the service will set you up in your reserved spot to leisurely enjoy your time in the sun.  The snack bar at the oceanfront will tempt you with ice cream, snacks and cold drinks. 

The Villages at Ocean Hill is the most northern community in Corolla before the 4 wheel drive beach; known for the wild horses and wide open spaces.  This home in the Villages at Ocean Hill is perfect for a second home, a vacation rental or year round home for a discriminating owner. 

Be sure to check out our virtual tour of 1242 Lakeside Dr:

 

 

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2015 Real Estate Market-at-a-Glance

Outer Banks real estate market statistics 2015

How many times have you heard – “I remember when I could have bought such and such a lot / home for some unbelievable low price back in – a not so distant year”. Most people who live in the Outer Banks have a story about the deal they did not act on, at the time – and lived to regret it.

Perhaps, you have vacationed here for decades and made many pleasant memories with your family, only to realize that you could have owned a place of your own for nearly what you have paid in rentals over the years.

Well, it is not too late and there is no better time than now to own a place of your own! Outer Banks real estate is a great asset to hold and will provide many years of enjoyment to your family as well as healthy investment returns.

The Infographic on this blog highlights the 2015 Outer Banks Real Estate Sale Statistics. You can download the complete 2015 report here.

Major highlights from the report are:

Overall Market

  • The number of units sold was at the highest level since 2005
  • Inventory was at its lowest level since the MLS started gathering the information in 2007

One does not have to be a rocket scientist in economics to know when demand is increasing and supply is reduced; that prices will increase. Clearly, the indicators are in place where there is going to be upward pressure on prices. It is time to act now and make a deal on a new home, existing home or land, before the market forces take hold and prices may become out of your reach.

Interest rates have been at historically low levels for quite a few years, but this is not likely to last forever. Low oil prices and it being an election year may have a neutralizing affect. The credit markets have stabilized and mortgages are easier to qualify for compared to recent years. The Outer Banks is a seasonal market and activity starts to pick up in the spring. The early bird catches the worm and early buyers in the market are likely to find the best deals.

Foreclosures

Another indicator supporting increasing pressure on prices is the reduction in the number of Short Sale and Bank Owned properties.

  • The number of residential properties that were sold as Short Sales declined by 16%
  • The number of residential Bank Owned properties sold declined by 37%

Overall, the number of residential distressed property (short sales and bank owned) sold was down by 30%. Interestingly, while the average sales price for short sales decreased by 2%, the median sale price for short sales increased by 13%. This could be indicative of reaching the bottom of the distressed inventory where the ‘lower quality’ inventory affected the average price calculation more than it would the median calculation. Overall, the average price for residential distressed property sold was up 3%; the median price was up by 9% in 2015.

Land

There is nothing like living on a barrier island to realize they are not making more of it; especially when one can walk from the sound to the ocean without getting winded!

  • The number of lots sold declined by 5%
  • The average cost for a lot increase by 7%
  • The median cost for a lot increased by 10%

While there are still undeveloped lots for you to build your dream house, the number is declining every year. Once again, when the supply is reduced and even if demand stays the same; the price will increase.

Commercial

Frequently, the commercial market is overlooked with reported statistics. While there were not a large number of commercial transaction in 2015 (34), it was a 17% reduction over 2014. Despite fewer transactions, the average sale price increased by 12%.

  • The median sale price increased by 92%
  • The active inventory at the end of 2015 was down by 23%

For comparison, the active inventory for residential properties is down by 11% at the end of 201

If you add up all of these factors, you will realize that Outer Banks is an ideal place to plant your “feet in the sand” and buy or build your castle. You can design the beach house of your dreams or choose from the many beach houses already for sale. Start making memories with your family in your own rental home while profiting from positive cash flow and other ownership benefits.

If you live in the Outer Banks, learn how you can stop throwing your money away with rental receipts and own your own place for perhaps even less than you are paying in rent. Learn how the tax advantages of home ownership can change your bottom line and earn equity for years to come.

For more information on buying Outer Banks Real Estate, or to learn more about the Outer Banks in general, please check out our blog.

 

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Top 3 New Communities to Buy an Outer Banks Vacation Home

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The dream of owning an Outer Banks Vacation Home is shared by many people. Once you start vacationing on these barrier islands, the land becomes part of your soul and only grows year after year. There is just a totally different vibe that comes with OBX compared to other beach destinations like Cape Cod, the Hamptons, or the Jersey Shore that people just love.

There is also the perception that the Outer Banks Real Estate Market is beyond the reach of the non-mega wealthy. Perception is not reality, however. Today there are more opportunities than ever before for regular families to purchase that dream beach house.

Here is a list of the Top Three new construction communities for you to consider when you are ready to purchase your vacation home along the Outer Banks:

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Beacon Villas, Corolla

The newest addition to the Corolla Light Resort Village, Beacon Villas are deluxe duplex style townhomes located on the Oceanside of Rt. 12. Each townhome is almost 2500 sq. ft. and includes four bedrooms and four and a half baths. They are also sold fully furnished with two distinct floorplans to choose from.

As an owner in Beacon Villas, you will become part of the multiple winning North Carolina’s Resort of the Year Award – Corolla Light Resort Village. Members of the resort have access to the following amenities included with ownership:

  • Seven Swimming Pools
  • Children’s Playground
  • Basketball, Shuffleboard, Volleyball, and Tennis Courts
  • Oceanfront Grille Restaurant
  • Poolside Snackbar
  • Trolley Service
  • Sports Center
  • Nature and Walking Trails
  • Soundfront Pier and Gazebo

Beacon Villas is right in the middle of all of the best tourist attractions Corolla has to offer. Shopping and restaurants are just a stone’s throw away along with the Whalehead Club, Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the famous Corolla Wild Horses. But even if you just want to experience everything the resort has to offer, the Corolla Light Trolley will transport you and your family to all of the resort facilities as well as to the beach. Sure beats dragging all of your supplies to the sand yourself right?

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Devonshire Place – Bermuda Bay, Kill Devil Hills

Whether you are looking for a permanent home, 2nd home, or vacation rental investment property, Bermuda Bay has what you are looking for. The community is located on the soundside of Rt. 12 in Kill Devil Hills within walking distance of beaches, shopping, restaurants, schools, and historical landmarks like the Wright Brothers Memorial.

Bermuda Bay is divided into three villages each with their own individual property styles. Cambridge Cove is a townhome Community, Hamilton Cay is a condominium community, and Devonshire Place is a single family community.

All three villages are designed in bright colors to give the feel of tropical islands with ponds and lush landscaping throughout. Centrally located in the heart of the resort is Elbow Beach Clubhouse and Recreation Area. Each village has access to the facilities there including swimming pool with water slide, volleyball court, and fitness center with pool table. Plus, when you decide that the OBX life needs to be your full time reality, there is an Elementary, Middle, and High School all within walking distance of the community. What better place is there to raise a family than at the beach?

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Villas at Corolla Bay, Corolla

One of the best deals anywhere on the Outer Banks, The Villas at Corolla Bay are single family homes that are affordable to almost anyone. Located on the Oceanside of Rt. 12 in Corolla, the community is within easy walking distance of the beach and just steps away from the sound.

Each four bedroom, three and a half bath home is designed with a reverse floorplan to maximize the amazing views of Corolla. They are also tastefully designed to evoke memories of seaside communities of the past with batten board gables, large decks, shuttered windows and painted trimwork.

What really sets this community apart, besides the price, is the custom courtyard that comes with every home. Every property has a designated fenced in private outdoor space perfect for your own swimming pool, hot tub, or deluxe barbecue stations.

Corolla Bay also includes a central recreation area with a swimming pool, bath house, picnic areas, horseshoe pit, basketball court, and shuffleboard. But you better act quickly with 40 Villas already sold out of 57 in the development.

 

For more information on properties available in these communities or Outer Banks Real Estate, check out our blog.

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Duck Real Estate Market-at-a-Glance for Jan. – Oct. 2015

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You have been coming to Duck for years and dreaming of the day you could buy your own beach house. Well, now is the perfect time to buy a house on the Outer Banks! Whether you’re purchasing a second home, vacation rental investment, or retirement property; Duck is the perfect choice for a location. Buy now and have the majority of 2016 for enjoyment of the beach yourself or a full season of rental income.

The pristine beaches of Duck are private, less crowded and it is one of the best resort destinations on the East Coast. There is also plenty of history, boutique shopping, and five star restaurants nearby. You or your guests will be excited and entertained by all that Duck has to offer for years to come.

One of the best features of Duck is the location. Situated at the northern end of Dare County, Duck is considerably less crowded than the rest of the Outer Banks and has more of a village feel than a beach town. The Duck boardwalk is the perfect place to watch a sunset, fish, or set your kayak into the Currituck Sound. Be advised though, you won’t find any ferris wheels or arcades on this boardwalk. But there are plenty of area attractions within a short drive including the famous Corolla Wild Horses to the north and Jockey’s Ridge State Park and Jennette’s Pier to the south.

All of these facets make Duck the perfect place to plant your roots firmly in the sand. The market has plenty of existing homes and undeveloped lots for the adventurous types wanting to design and build their own home. Check out our handy informational graphic for more in depth news on the Duck Real Estate market. The town is already firmly entrenched as a premiere vacation destination for the entire eastern seaboard, let alone the Outer Banks. New businesses and restaurants are only cementing that status further and make it a place worthy of investing in.

For more information on Outer Banks Real Estate in Duck, to search for properties currently available, or to learn more about the area, check out our blog.

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