Monthly Archives: July 2008

If you are going to live here more than 2 years, read this!



See below!  Big news!  There will now be a tax cut for first time home buyers of up to $7500.  This is huge for our area!
Look at it this way: 
Loan Amount:  $125,000
Rate:  6.5%
Term:  30 years
Interest paid in the first year:  Approximately $8100.00
Essentially, with the tax cut, the buyer could have an interest free loan for the first year.  In addition, they are able to deduct mortgage interest, not with RENT!    Sounds like a no-brainer to meJ  As always, you should refer the buyer to their tax advisor for details. 
Once again, our community is reaping the benefits of the crunch felt around the country.  We are so fortunate to have the military to not only sustain our economy, but to allow it to flourish.  Thank them by making them aware of this invaluable information.  With a VA Home Loan, the veteran can actually come to closing with zero out of pocket, pay a lower rate than much of the population,  and now get an additional tax break!!!
Get out there and sellJ J J
As always, thank you so much for your support.  I will provide more details on the new legislation as I receive it. 
Bush Signs Rescue Plan for Homeowners, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac 2008-07-30 11:20:33.810 (New York)
By Roger Runningen
     July 30 (Bloomberg) — President George W. Bush signed into law legislation that helps 400,000 homeowners facing foreclosure and extends a lifeline to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
     Bush signed the measure at the White House about 7 a.m.
today, spokesman Tony Fratto said.
     “We look forward to putting in place new authorities to improve confidence and stability in markets, and to provide better oversight for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” Fratto said.
     The law is aimed at stemming foreclosures and halting a free-fall in housing prices by providing federal insurance for refinanced 30-year mortgages for homeowners struggling to make their monthly payments.
     The measure also is designed to restore confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by tightening regulations and authorizing the Treasury secretary to inject capital into the two biggest U.S.
providers of mortgage money.
     The measure passed the Senate July 26 and the House three days earlier.
     The recession in the housing market, the worst since the Depression, along with higher fuel prices and a shrinking job market, is weighing on consumers and the economy.
     The White House Office of Management and Budget this week cut its February forecast for economic growth this year to 1.6 percent from 2.7 percent. The OMB said it expected the economy to expand 2.2 percent next year, compared with its earlier forecast of 3 percent growth.
                          Lead Lobbyist
     The foreclosure-prevention measure, unveiled in March, was bolstered after Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson sought and received temporary authority, through Dec. 31, 2009, to lend money or buy the stock of Washington-based Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac. The goal is to avert a collapse of the companies that buy or finance almost half of the $12 trillion of U.S. mortgages.
     The treasury chief, who was the lead lobbyist for the White House, persuaded Bush to back off a threatened veto over a section of the legislation that provides $3.9 billion in grants to states to buy and repair foreclosed properties. Bush said he regarded it as a bailout of lenders.
     The law also creates a tough regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises.
     Under the law, the Federal Housing Administration can now insure higher loan limits, up to $625,500 from $417,000 in high- cost areas. The law also raises the nation’s debt limit to $10.6 trillion from $9.816 trillion to accommodate the Paulson plan.
     A new FHA program, a unit of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, would insure up to $300 billion in refinanced 30-year fixed loans for about 400,000 borrowers struggling with their monthly payments after loan holders agree to cut their mortgage balance.
     The measure would offer $15 billion in tax breaks, including provisions offering the equivalent of interest-free loans worth up to $7,500 for first-time homebuyers. States would be able to offer an additional $11 billion in mortgage revenue bonds to refinance subprime loans.
Jennifer Furtney Ellenor
Mortgage Advisor
(910) 442.7682



Made Me laugh so I thought I would share. . .visit my LinkedIn and see who I might randomly know and add me to your profile! 




Visit: View McKenzie Laurence's profile on LinkedIn



You can find great local Jacksonville, North Carolina real estateinformation on McKenzie Laurence is a proud member of the ActiveRain Real Estate Network, a free online community to help real estate professionals grow their business.

and stop back by my blog. . .happy you’re here!

Scared of our market?! You shouldn’t be!


  Not sure if the Jacksonville-area market is the right place for you to invest?  I’m sure you have been watching countless news stories about the industry, the market and various lending institutions.  The Onslow County area never experienced the “bubble” so many “Chicken Littles” are running around crying over.  The market isn’t falling here. . .and this is still a tremendous land of opportunity for the first time home buyer and more!

The general rule of thumb (note, not gospel and I will NOT garantee these results) in our local market is a minimum two years of ownership will ensure you turn a profit when you sell.  When working with a buyer there are always three questions I know they will have: 1. “What will my monthly payment be?” 2. “What will my closing costs be?” and 3. “How much money do I stand to make when I sell this home?”.  There are no pat answers, I would like to say I wish it were that easy but I’d be lying.  I LOVE this job, there are no simple answers and every home, every family, every transaction is it’s own “animal.”  There are too many variables to simply throw figures off the cuff at you and, if someone does, get it in writing!

There never was a rollercoaster market in the Jacksonville area. . .no peaks and valleys to weather.  If you work with a true professional who can explain the market in regards to your sale or purchase so that you know the effects it will have on you, and your investment. . .you’ll be in good hands.  If you ask your agent direct questions. . .and you get a deer-in-the-headlights stare back. . .keep looking. 

I’m looking for a few great clients!  If you’re looking for a REALTOR with answers, who wants to earn your business not simply for the deal at hand but to earn you as a client for life. . .I’m your gal!

New listings, new projects


Hiya folks!

I just wanted to share my latest listing on Highway 24 near Kenansville.  The physical address is 917 E. Highway 24.  A brick, three bedroom, two bath home with a great layout and park like back yard for 140,000.  Located near the 40 intersection, great for folks who travel but want a slower pace of life.  Bucolic setting with options nearby to board horses. . .it is well worth the drive to check it out if you are local to the Onslow county area.  Just past Beulaville on your right before you reach Kenansville.

On the horizon, I’ll be lising approximately 25 acres between Jacksonville and Maysville this fall.  There is a lovely renovated brick home on the property. . .but, if developed and subdivided could be a small new constuction community. . .contact me for more details and plans. . .but thought I would get the word out in the event a builder/developer is looking for new land opportunities.

More to come and majy irons in the fire so-to-speak,

Easy access to your home when it’s on the market


Please bear with myself as well as my area Realtors as we transition from Supra brand lock boxes to Sentrilock.  As a board we feel the technology Sentrilock offers is far superior to that of Supra, and less cumbersome in our day to day activities working for nice folks like yourself. 

What does it mean for you as a seller?  Pretty simple swap out of your older lockboxes with the new, please be patient as we wait for them to arrive, probably in batches, to be exchanged.  I believe the goal is to have them all exchanged by end of month so, if your home is on the market, expect to see your agent dash by to swap them out.

As a buyer, you won’t notice much change, but, instead of that little black calculator looking thing we have used for years to gain entrance to a home, we now have something that looks more like a credit card or a college laundry card. . .much smaller and hopefully, more efficiently tracking what homes we show and when to give the sellers a better idea of the activity on their home.

What is a lockbox you say?  I provides a safe and secure location for a spare key to your home to be available for any licensed real estate agent in the regional area to easily gain entrance to your home (with proper notice, naturally) so either preview your home for clients or to offer a guided tour of your home to help get it sold.  It’s a pretty handy system, the spare keys are located at the homes to be shown and an electronic log is kept of who showed your home and when.  No need to hid a key under the mat or wait around for an agent to show up.

All in all, we are growing and updating to better serve you, our consumers.  I’m looking forward to the transition, it helps me work even harder for you.

How NOT to sell your house

I couldn’t resist this repost. . .I found this article on this morning and thought I would share. seems to be a really neat site with lots of great ideas, info and resources. . .you really need to check it out.  The list below, 10 things to do to NOT sell your house may seem pretty silly to some of you. . .but in this industry, being in and out of people’s homes all day, you really see some unusual and embarassing stuff. . .just know that when it comes to your home on the market, there is no such thing as things being too clean inside and out. . .!!!

(MyHomeIdeas) — If you’re wondering why your house has languished on the market for all these months, check out our tongue-in-cheek guide to common mistakes sellers make

Don't try to hide things inside stoves or cupboards, experts say. Potential buyers usually look everywhere.

Don’t try to hide things inside stoves or cupboards, experts say. Potential buyers usually look everywhere.

1. Leave out your pictures, magazines, books, and knickknacks. You want a prospective buyer to feel that they know you, right?

Wrong. You want the buyers to immediately begin imagining themselves living in your house, and they’ll have a hard time seeing beyond the pictures of your family at Beaver Creek and the old issues of Gun & Garden.

Even worse, they might find your taste in books laughable or your choice of evening wear tacky and decide they couldn’t possibly live in your house.

So clear every surface, every side table, every coffee table, the sideboard, the desk and the dining room table. You can put one item in each room, and it should be a plant or flowers.

2. Don’t change the cat litter. After all, you changed it yesterday, right? It doesn’t smell that bad yet.

Or…..give your house the sniff test. It should smell fresh and clean. Nothing is more off-putting to a prospective buyer than a house that’s stale-smelling, or worse.

Don’t Miss

Often, you become so inured to the smell of your own home that you don’t notice scents that might offend a visitor. Empty the garbage cans, load dirty clothes into the washing machine, run a lemon through the disposal, give wood furniture a quick swipe with polish, and for goodness sake, change the litter box.

3. Express yourself! Indulge in your favorite colors in vividly painted walls and furniture. Paint an accent wall a bright color. It’s fun!

Or…make your house a place anyone could imagine making their own. This means removing most evidence of your own personality. Decorate with a rigorous devotion to beige.

Neutral walls, pale furniture, soft lighting, and inoffensive art all go a long way towards creating a crowd-pleasing interior. Remove your collections to a safe place for the duration of the selling process, since you want a prospective buyer to look at the space, not get distracted by your Beanie Baby collection.

4. Stash your dirty magazines and movies in your oven or drawers! No one will open them to look inside.

Oh, yes they will. Get rid of everything you wouldn’t want your mother to see. Prospective buyers will open the oven, investigate drawers for function and capacity, and study your closets and your medicine cabinet.

Part of preparing your house to sell is a ruthless purging of all these places and a thoughtful review of potentially embarrassing items in your house. If your bedroom is your personal love palace, remove any evidence of your rollicking sex life, at least temporarily.

5. Leave your furniture arranged as it is. That way people can see how much you can fit into the room!

Or….remove those extra pieces of furniture that make a room livable but add to the sense of clutter — side tables, foot stools, magazine racks, and rocking chairs, which take up more space than a fixed chair. Create simple arrangements with maximum impact.

Often people arrange their living room as if they’re hosting the neighborhood watch association meeting, with all the furniture lined up along the walls. Instead, place a sofa facing the fireplace, and flank it with two chairs facing a coffee table in between. This will create visual depth and an inviting vignette.

6. Make sure buyers know your team loyalties. Don’t forget to fly that Red Sox flag!

Or…put your fan-of-the-year behavior on hold for a while, and stash your team merchandise away in the attic. What if your best prospect is a Yankee’s fan? You don’t want to lose a buyer over a big sponge #1 finger. The same goes for religious paraphernalia, although that may actually be less of a deal-breaker than the wrong team loyalty.

7. Don’t worry about the breakfast dishes in the sink. People will understand you were in a rush to get out the door that morning.

Or….they’ll think you’re a slob who couldn’t be bothered to put the dishes in the dishwasher, and probably hasn’t taken very good care of the house. Other people’s dirty dishes are especially revolting, and conjure images of squalor. If it means you have to take your family out to breakfast, make sure you leave the kitchen pristine. My Home Ideas: Company-ready kitchen

The same goes for the bathroom. Dry the inside of the sink and the surrounding counter completely before you leave the house.

8. Let the buyer fix the hole in the wall and the broken light fixture. They may want to choose their own!

Or…be prepared to lose a sale over the poor condition of your house. Everything in your house must be in good working order before you put it on the market. This process can take a couple of months, but you need to fix all broken fixtures, change all burned out light bulbs, repair any flaws in the walls, and refresh any paint that needs it.

The same goes for outdated or worn wallpaper. Some things do not get better with age, and nothing dates a room more than eighties wallpaper. My Home Ideas: Painting over wallpaper

9. Leave the yard as is. After all, it’s the house they’re coming to see!

Or…learn to see your yard an extension of the house, and give it a thorough once-over. Trim unruly bushes, pull weeds, spread fresh mulch, and keep it mowed.

Your yard sets the expectations of the buyer before they’ve even stepped in your house. Consider installing attractive outdoor lighting. It goes a long way, for a little investment, toward creating a dramatic mood. And if you have a dog, go on a hunt for “land-mines” and clean them up.

10. Leave your dog in his crate while people look at your house. He’s well-behaved.

Or…he’s not so well-behaved when you’re not there and strangers are tromping through his house. Nothing is so distracting as a barking dog when prospects are trying to get a detailed look at your house. Even though he might be contained, his voice will carry. Take him with you if you can, or drop him at a pet-friendly neighbor’s house and repay them with house-sitting or a similar service.


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Bear Trail at Southwest Plantation


So, the word is officially out.  Art and my team secured the new homes in Southwest Plantation . . .Bear Trail. 

Located outside city limits of Jacksonville, off of Dawson Cabin Road.

Homesites priced from the low 50’s, beautiful homes priced from the mid 200’s.

I’ll have more information on my website soon, but, until then, take a moment to visit: to learn more about the course, tee times, and more.

For the best directions, use the address: 444 Harris Creek Road, Jacksonville, NC 28540

More info and more photos to follow. . .very exciting project to be involved with, I am looking forward to it!

Bear Trail GBear Trail Golf
at Southwest Plantation
444 Harris Creek Rd
Jacksonville, NC 28540
at Southwest Plantation
444 Harris Creek Rd
Jacksonville, NC 28540

Yes, my last name is changing.


Hiya folks.

I have been asked enough recently that I thought it worthy a post on the old blog, which, apologies for not devoting time to it in the past few months, ’tis the busy season and my schedule has been swamped.

Long story short, I was married, to a Marine, and, in another life I was a Marine’s daughter (apparently I was a sikorsky groupie in a former life). . .dear old dad is retired and, unfortuantely the marriage didn’t work out.

This summer, once I can catch my breath and find some spare daylight I will be working on the fun process so many ladies love. . .legally changing your name.  I’ll be reverting to my maiden name, Johnson, from Laurence, this summer. . .so. . .thankfully the first name, McKenzie, is a snap to remember–there’s only one of me in the real estate market here in the area.

So, what does this mean to you?  No much, other than I am about to have some snazzy new business cards to hand out soon.  I should have done this a year or two ago, but, in the marketing world, you hate to make changes like this. . .but, it’s the nature of the beast I suppose.  I don’t plan to do this again, the divorce thing, the marriage thing was pretty great for the most part. . .but divorce, I think I’d rather have my wisdom teeth pulled, and a root canal, and be covered with live angry bees first. . .

Long and short, soon I’ll be McKenzie Johnson (again) but it will still be good old hardworking me.

Visit and to learn more about me, the Onslow County area and see lots of great homes.  I have bunches of nifty links there as well for schools, bases, local areas of interest and more.