An Unintentional Evening in Wilmington

FeaturedAn Unintentional Evening in Wilmington

We took a little us time away from the girls for our Anniversary. Mom and Dad love us just enough that as they returned from their Florida vacation they took the girls in for the night. Thanks Rents!

We started out towards our favorite single parent’s haunt, Old Yacht Basin Provision Company of Southport. Since this was the night of the Super Moon Eclispe we knew we might be pushing our luck. We’ve seen it flood down there a couple time before on Super Moons. As predicted a Closed sign was hung on the door. Later that night we got a photo from a friend showing Provisions at high tide an hour and a half after we drove by.

Yacht Basin Provision Company By: Sarah May

So we left Southport and decided to check on our Second Favorite Restaurant in the Oak Island area, Joseph’s Italian Bistro. It’s Sunday, They’re closed. SMH.

Front Street Brewery
Front Street Brewery

So I decided let’s head to Wilmington and I’ll flex my romantic hubby muscles and show Beth I remember where we went on our first date down at the coast. Front Street Brewery, here we come.So we meander over to the Brewery where I asked for a seat away from the TV’s so I can focus on my “romancee”. The hostess giggled and took us upstairs to seat us right under one. “Thanks” (insert sarcastic tone).We sat for a minute before the server arrived and we took that time to scan the menu. “Hmmmm… this is not the..I remember having pasta with andouille sausage and scallops. Nothing here but bar food.” The server was visibly shaken when we told him to bring us a couple of brews and a check, “We are going to eat elsewhere.” AND off we go in search of a fourth restaurant.

Elijah’s of Wilmington

A little search on Yelp! yields the name Elijah’s, on the waterfront. A little bit of a sketchy walk on a darkened street by the river with the homeless later and we arrive.Beth of course feels bad now that we are eating a nice meal after seeing homeless folks and the whole discourse on that end’s with me reminding her that the guy commented on my “Lady”. I’m sure none of this would have transpired had we driven and parked closer to our unknown destination but hey, this is what makes life interesting.

We waited a few moments by the front door to be seated in a nearly empty restaurant. It is 9pm by now. We chose to sit outside on the expansive covered deck with about three other couples. The clearly still in college couple, the parents of a one year old (why are they out this late with a baby?) and some Sunday Night Football watchers at the bar.

Crabcakes Elijah
Shrimp & Scallops Elijah

Even though we arrived late in the evening, near closing time. The wait staff were super friendly, attentive and nice. We found out they have two menus. One for the outdoor deck area and the other for the inside area. The inside is a bit more upscale. The two kitchens only serve the area you are seated in and they can’t cross the food orders so you have to order from one or the other. Unless, you get there late, near closing, in the off season. Thanks Bill! Our server made an exception for us. The food was yummy. We ordered the Crab Dip, Crab cakes and Shrimp & Scallops Elijah. The dip was super tasty, Crab Cakes were also good. The Shrimp & Scallops were cooked to perfection. That means they **popped** as my teeth sank into them. My only downside would be the number of shrimp and scallops served for the money. I think there were four or five scallops and maybe ten shrimp with a small side of steamed zucchini and squash for $24.

Bill, our server even offered us a tip on a “safer” route back to the car. Out the door, up the hill to 3rd street with the traffic, and then west to the lot. As we walked up Ann Street Beth spotted the old dilapidated home on the corner of Ann and 3rd street and wondered what it’s story was. I noted the emerging Halloween decoration as we neared the street corner and was surprised to see the home owners roasting marshmallows over a firepit in the front year. We decided to stop and chat with Pete and Heather I believe her name was. She was quiet. Pete was not. They were waiting, in vein I believe, for a break in the clouds to witness the eclipse. Pete is quite an interesting guy actually. He owns the demolition company whose signs are proudly plastered all over the front of the home. I think he said the home was built in, 1845 or ’87. At first I wasn’t sure if the signs were for the house in progress but it seems he is intent on rebuilding the home. His plans include a Piano School for the underprivileged, a juice bar and a myriad of other endeavors in the 7000sf property that overlooks the riverfront from the top of the hill home built in. We left them to their roasting and made our way back to the car for the long ride home.

11181727_10204457461147843_3902160384639463166_nAnother Adventure Away from the littles and memories made for the future.


That Day Big Oil Stole My Vote. 

That Day Big Oil Stole My Vote. 

Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.

George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 1778

Three weeks ago we stood in the Brunswick County commissioners meeting. More than 30 of us had gathered together to share  concerns about Oil Drilling and Seismic Cannon Testing on our outer continental shelf. We thought surely with over half of the room supporting a new resolution against this attack on our coastal traditions, economies and marine life, surely we were going to walk away with what we wanted. 

I left feeling cheated. 

The commissioners had conspired, before, to protect the incumbent members by allowing them to vote in favor of a no drilling resolution while the remaining commissioners voted for no change to the current resolution in support of spoiling our natural resources that support so much of what we are here. They ripped the underpinning from our hope. The result was a tie vote and no change. How, after their own researcher told them that there was no benefit to the county had they chosen to remain solidified against us, the people, their people who had told them we didn’t want it. Their comment that, “After fielding calls for the past two weeks, on the scales, it was about half for and half against.”, rang like lying bells in my ears. How is this possible? My vote has somehow been stolen, usurped from me, bought. Yes, my vote has been bought, not by me, not for me, but out from under me. The chinga-ching-ching of coins from a Pink Floyd song ringing in my ears. Yeah, it’s a gas. When it should be a solar field or a wind farm, it’s gas that has won, gas and its money. The Koch Brothers and their love of money and everything wrong with American politics today. Our votes were bought and paid for long before we ever arrived, and we were fools to hope that, “We the people,” meant anything once the sweet smell of freshly minted bills were waved under the noses of our leaders. Hear the words he shared, “if we vote no, we will be left out in the cold. If we vote yes the we have a place at the bargaining table.” Mr. Phillips, I say, I want no place at that table of poison and disgrace. I will stand hungry and cold on my integrity and belief that what you choose as right for me is death to my children and their children. Might I add your children as well. Commissioners, you have chosen for us all without regard to your elected duty to represent the people. 

What Financing?

What Financing?

I’ve got a conversation I wanted to share with you from this week that circles around financing. A client is looking at buying their first home and really didn’t know where to even start. I talked with them for a about five minutes and got them pointed first at few lenders. Because you really can’t buy something unless you know how much money you have. Right?

So put a few days distance and we are hooking up to go look at the first round of homes that we’ve picked out. We are riding around and have a little time to talk in between and I ask what their fears are about buying a home an I can hear that they are really concerned about the price point. The homes we are looking at aren’t really hitting a home run. We stumbled on a home about 20k over their requested price point and they really have that level stuck in their head. Question is how do we get there. Well, I’ve always been a fan, and some people aren’t gamblers so this isn’t their bag but I’ve always been a fan of Adjustable Rate Mortgages for first time home buyers and young couples. Cause here’s the deal, how long are you really going to live there? Three years, Five years tops? I mean if you are hard core and want to front load a bunch of cash into a note on a home so you can drag a ton of equity out later then that’s your gig but, for most people the goal is to get as much house as they can for as little cash up front as possible. An ARM is a great way to do just that.

What’s an ARM? Well, in the a Conventional loan the interest rate stays the same over the entire length of the note. So if you have a Conventional 30 year loan at say 4.1% then that’s the rate for 30 years. In an ARM the bank gives you a lower up front rate on the gamble that they are going to earn that back later. There is an initial period where the rate will be at say, 3.25% compared to that 4.1% Conventional, so you are saving almost a full percent on the interest portion of your payment. Later that rate will go up but we aren’t worried about that. (I’ll explain later)  The lower rate translates into about $72/month in savings on a 150k home. After the initial period that can be three, five or seven years, then rate will change based on the prime rate. (If you want to know about the prime rate you need to ask a lender or a finance guru.) The rate is usually capped in the amount it can rise each year so you won’t see a crazy change in your payment. But that’s not the point.

Back to my single, 25 year old client who is probably going to find that special person in the next five years and start thinking about starting a family. Are they going to want to stay in this first home. No way! They are moving on up to the top with their new two wage earner income. So why saddle into a long term loan with a higher rate? They are going to kiss that mortgage good bye in less than five years. So why not pay less up front and get that ARM?

OR, here’s the point….

Use that lower interest rate that gave them $72/month and put it against the price of the house to leverage them into the house they REALLY wanted in the first place. That $72 allows you to bump the home price up over 15k and can make the difference in getting the home you had to buy or the home you wanted to buy.

And if you aren’t out of the home within the five years that’s okay too. Just keep your financial nose clean and re-finance the home before the end of the initial term of the ARM ends. You’ll have paid a ton into equity on the home in five years and you can get a loan for thousands less which will lower your payment again.

Got questions? Call me or shoot me an email. Answering Real Estate questions is what I do for a living. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it.

eally think that looking at a range of homes is always, always a good idea. Look a little under your range and a little over.