Category Archives: Bank Owned

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.

As if you needed more great reasons to live in this state…


According to an article today on Yahoo news, Raleigh and Charlotte are two of the top ten places to live in the US that are CONSIDERED TO BE RECESSION PROOF!!!

Check out the article, and, as always, if you are looking to BUY, SELL or RENT real estate, I would love the opportunity to earn your business!  Give me a call at 910.554.0761 or email me at so we can get the ball rolling.  Visit my websites: and for more information about the Onslow County area.

Working with real estate agents



I work at Century 21 Champion Real Estate in Jacksonville, NC. . .and I am a licensed real estate broker and a REALTOR. . .and I want to talk a little about agency.  In the State of NC, when you approach an agent and begin to “talk shop”. . .once the conversation turns from basic chit chat perhaps about the property and the market in general to your specific needs, financial status, etc. . . .sort of like Miranda Rights, you have the right to remain silent.  Until you sign a buyer’s agency or seller’s agency with that agent, they are required to share that information with their clients if it is advantageous to them.  “I just won the lottery, love the home you are marketing on Main Street and plan to offer a lot less than the list price.”  Well, if you aren’t in a contract relationship with me, I have to tell my sellers that information, which, would be less than advantageous to you.  There are Seller’s Agents, Seller’s Sub Agents, Buyer’s Agents and Dual Agents. . .different hats of disclosure and responsibility that the very same agent can wear.

If you are interested in a copy of Working With Real Estate Agents, I would be more than happy to email a copy to you as it is too long to post here in a Blog format.  Know that regardless of what agent you speak to or in which town in the state of North Carolina, you are to be presented this at “first substantial contact”. . .which might not be the very first conversation, but once the topic shifts to your personal needs, financial information. . .or, techinically, if you are active duty and in uniform, as a Marine Brat, I know how much you make just by looking at your rank insignia.  Knowledge is power and in a real estate transaction, I want you to feel you have the best advantage and best representation possible, even if it isn’t with me. . .and the only silly questions in real estate are the ones you don’t ask.  So, ask away!

Learn a little more at

My take on today’s mortgage news.


Good afternoon all~

 Many of you have had questions regarding the state of the real estate market in the greater Onslow County area which includes such townships as Jacksonville, Sneads Ferry, Topsail, Holly Ridge, Hubert, Richlands, etc.

“What’s going on with our market?” “Would you say it is a seller’s market?” “Are we in a buyer’s market?”  There is SO much to discuss on these topics and more so as a first blog posting, I will try to give an overview as to what status OUR current marketplace is in.

Onslow County is BLESSED, we have great stability, we are less affected by inflation as well as recession than other portions of our great county.  Which means, those high swings UP in property values that major urban areas saw in the last several years had a pretty small impact on our property values namely because we are such an appraisal-based market. . .generally speaking our average buyer is using a VA/FHA or Conventional loan, we saw, percentage wise, very few unconventional/high risk/adjustable/or exotic loans that other portions of the US . . .mortgages that required the property REALLY be worth what it is being sold for, using nearby recently sold homes (within the previous 6 months) as comps to justify the prices.  We certainly did see an uptick in prices in the last few years but with a majority of our home buyers and sellers being full-time active duty or in a career that is in support of them, folks have fixed salaries and generally could qualify for a traditional mortgage. . .keeping things pretty steady in terms of property values and sales were brisk.

Things have slowed over the summer and fall due to bad press for the mortgage market and higher interest rates to cool that market down. . .some buyers were intimidated by what they were hearing daily on the news, the foreclosure rate and changes in the mortgage industry were largely to blame.

What’s happening now?  Things have actually picked up, despite the winter being seen as our “slower” season. . .homes in a higher price range in our area, namely the $220,000 and up price range are still a bit sluggish. . .but your average single family dwelling, when well priced and adequately marketed by a professional sell in a very reasonable amount of time with happy sellers and buyers as a result.

If you have questions specific to your home, such as what improvements are worthwhile, or, would be interested in a free home valuation and market assesment, I would be more than happy to speak with you on a personal level. 

One wonderful lesson learned as a result of all of these market changes, there is no one-size fits all mortgage, buy what you are comfortable balancing as a monthly bill in conjuntion with your car payment, student loan payments, etc.  Don’t get talked into buying more home than you can afford comfortably and choose a loan with a fixed interest rate so that years down the line you aren’t hit with a balloon loan payment or a hefty refinance fee. . .I know personally I feel uncomfortable working with someone who is stretching for a mortgage with a promotion in their future. . .the future is uncertain, I can tell you that I shudder at the idea of helping someone get into a home that will have then crying over their mortgage payment down the line as they write their monthly check!

More info to follow, check back freqently!

Here is what I received from Carolina Family Mortgage today regarding the Mortgage Freeze Plan:

For those of you that are interested:

Details on the Mortgage Freeze Plan that President Bush announced to assist clients with Adjustable Rate Mortgages:

*** In order to qualify for an interest-rate freeze, you must have received your mortgage sometime between 01/01/05 and 07/31/07, and need to be facing an interest rate reset sometime between 01/01/08 and 07/31/10. 
*** You may be eligible to have your interest rate frozen for five years, but only if you don’t qualify to make payments at the higher adjustable rate. 
*** You cannot be more than 30 days behind on your payments. 
*** Investment properties are NOT eligible.
*** You cannot have more than 3% equity in your home.
*** Credit scores <660 will be given top priority.
Clients interested in the program should call 1.888.995.HOPE

I took this information from an article I just read, so this is my interpretation of the Plan. In other words, don’t hold me to it:) 

Jennifer Ellenor
Carolina Family Mortgage