2 0 1 8 R E A L E S T A T E R O U N D U P
The year looked like it was going to break all records until Hurricane Florence made landfall.
A Y E A R L I K E N O O T H E R
ON SEPTEMBER 9, 2018,
eastern North Carolina awoke
to an attention-getting weather
forecast. The coast was soon
forecast to face a Category 5 storm, the
most powerful to ever hit the region.
As most barrier island and waterfront
homeowners heeded the reports and
prepared, putting hurricane shutters
down or boarding houses, pulling boats
out of the water and beginning evacua-tions,
Realtors were almost frantic; there
was still so much to do.
On their radar was not only their homes
and their offices, but the homes and offices
of all their customers and clients. Every
property they’d sold and each one they had
listed for sale, plus those prospective buy-ers
had interest in, all had the potential to
be damaged, destroyed or even wiped off
“It just puts a whole other level on it,
a whole different layer to it, when you
are thinking about all these people and
all these houses,” says Jessica Edwards of
Coldwell Banker Seacoast Advantage.
The storm miraculously shed most
of its strength before making landfall
over Wrightsville Beach. Still, as a Cat 1,
it lingered for three solid days. Copious
rain fell, rivers crested at record levels.
Wilmington itself became an island with
no way in, no way out.
Post-storm there was a mixture of
relief for those whose homes and proper-ties
were spared, coupled with horror at
what had happened to neighbors, and
grief over the loss of every life, home
First responders, emergency manage-ment
and government personnel, the
Cajun Navy, churches and nonprofits,
and yes, even Realtors put aside the
damage to their own homes to help oth-ers
in need, first. Help came from far
Schools and businesses were closed for
weeks. The hospital was damaged.
“The storm affected every industry;
when you think about the attorneys,
doctors that didn’t see patients for two
weeks,” Edwards says.
Not to mention car dealers, hairstylists
— every conceivable type of business. For
those in sales, it went dead for a minimum
of five weeks. It became a time of real test-ing,
enough to rattle the strength of even
the most seasoned business veterans.
“You have to take that into consider-ation,
it was a huge part of our market;
things were delayed, things fell apart,
and didn’t sell at all or still haven’t sold,”
To hold pending sales together,
Realtors became creative, using every
skill, every scrap of knowledge they had
to consummate sales despite downed
trees, ponding water, moisture damage
and blue tarps everywhere.
“We were all on track for an absolutely
gangbuster record year until the hurri-cane
hit. And then we were basically shut
down, not only for the 10 days or two
weeks the town was literally underwater
and without power, but really, for about
five weeks the real estate market went
dark,” says Vance Young of Intracoastal