NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- Anyone who's paid any attention to local real estate knows that the market here is slowing down. Home sales in April of this year were down three percent compared with April 2006. The hardest hit county in the state was Brunswick County with a nearly 50 percent downturn in home sales. The strongest area in our state was Jacksonville with 17 percent sales growth. Unless you've been through it yourself you may not realize what buying or selling a home is really like. We found two local people who do know and their experience may help you. Buying a home could be the biggest and most important purchase you could make in a lifetime. That's the case for Jesse Mangler, a Wilmington resident who's been searching for his dream home for the past three months. In today's buyers market Jesse has found that some sellers are more accommodating. Mangler said, "This house here was reduced and had a fence allowance giving $2,500 back to the buyer." Also in real estate patience is a virtue. "Just keep looking," Mangler said. "A lot of homes out there still and just finding the right one for yourself." Kim Crisp has been dabbling in real estate for the past 15 years. He's been around long enough to see the local market through its ups and downs. Crisp said, "For the past year we've been in a low period. The market is saturated with properties." Crisp is in the business of flipping homes: making minor repairs on the homes he buys, then turning around and putting it back on the market. When you're looking to sell a home, doing the work yourself, if you can't, shop around for a trustworthy handy man. Crisp said, "Like with the tile floor we save a ton of money for a particular guy to come in, rather than use a contractor to come in and do the work." No matter which side of the market you're on, both our buyer and seller agree that patience is key. Kim crisp also says to make sure you've got curb appeal. Mow the lawn, and plant flowers. And when you're doing your renovations, pick neutral colors and fabrics that appeal to the masses.
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