Tracy Maurer is the daughter of a retired Navy commander, which means she’s lived in many different places growing up, including Japan. When her father retired, Tracy’s family settled in her mother’s hometown of Sanford, N.C. When Maurer moved to Wilmington to attend college, she never left. After successful careers owning a cleaning business and a horse farm, eventually Maurer started to invest in properties with her father (finding them, remodeling them and selling them). In 2003, she secured her real estate license. Maurer has been managing rental properties ever since and her time spent in the business is now nearing 23 years. Four years ago, she joined my team at Sweyer Property Management and it’s been great to have her on board.
When Maurer is not at home with her husband and three beautiful boys, she spends time with us helping military families and the corresponding market. I asked her some questions we get asked often about the military rental market in Wilmington, N.C., and have shared her expert answers here.
Q: What major trends and changes have you noticed in the military housing market in the past few years?
A: Over the last two years we have seen the military market increase tremendously. The activity in 2011 to early 2013 time frame was slower than it is now. Back then, a lot of the military were pulled out of the area as troops were pulled out of Iraq, but MARSOC (Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command) has brought a lot of new activity to the area. It is expected to continue to grow.
Q: What locations, specifically, are highly sought after by military families in our region?
A: Holly Ridge, Hampstead and Sneads Ferry are the most popular areas as they are close to the base but not too far from the city of Wilmington. There are also many families that move to the north side of Wilmington, but spouses tend to like the balance of the aforementioned areas, as it is a fairly equal drive for anyone to get where he or she needs to be.
Q: Are military renters a good tenant investment, and what can someone who owns a property do to entice military families?
A: In general, those in the military make excellent tenants. They are very organized, listen well to what is needed, and are prompt in providing necessary documents. They usually leave the property in excellent condition (they are, after all, trained to do so in the military).
Investors that wish to appeal to military families should have a property that is in great condition. Also, allowing pets and having a fence is smart. These families move a great deal, and their pets come with them.
Q: Many believe that military families are given military housing. This doesn't seem to be the case?
A: There is military housing available, but the spouse that is at home often wants to be closer to a vibrant city. Military bases tend to have most of the single people, which can take up their entire base housing. Sometimes single men and women in the military do purchase homes off base and become homeowners. There are many in the military who are investing in rental property each place they move so that they have a nice rental portfolio of homes when they retire.
Q: What is important to military families who rent?
A: Things need to happen quickly for them, and they need answers right away. They want a house in great condition. They like to have lawn care included, although this does not always equate to more money for the landlord. Often there is one spouse at home taking care of the family and the home, so not worrying about the lawn is a huge help.
Q: How long do they usually commit to staying?
A: Most of the time military families look for a one to two year lease, but often end up staying two to three years.
Q: What trends do you anticipate in the year to come regarding military housing rentals?
A: With the coming election and other events that are going on in the world at large, it is hard to say right now. But from what I understand, MARSOC has built an enormous, beautiful new campus with offices and more, so the expectation is that somewhere around 2,000 to 3,000 Marines will be moving to the Wilmington side of Jacksonville, around Stone Bay Military Base.
Q: How can a management company like Sweyer assist this community?
A: We work with a large number of military families, and understand what their needs are. We have put processes in place to help them in both their searches for rental properties and while they are tenants. This includes our mobile app and user friendly website that offer both tenants and owners a portal for payment and a way to submit maintenance requests. We are in the process of adding “smart lockboxes,” which will allow people to view many of our properties seven days a week by themselves at times convenient for them. We try to make the process as easy, organized and seamless as possible. My father is retired Navy, so I am very familiar with the strain that these moves entail.
Overall, with the team at Sweyer Property Management, we work hard to help everyone in our community, especially our deserving military families.
Sweyer Property Management has been providing real estate property management services and long-term rentals to the Wilmington area since 1987. The company continues to be the industry leader with more than 1400+ units and more than 20 employees. Sweyer Property Management has exhibited continuous growth throughout the Wilmington, Leland and Hampstead areas while maintaining a 4.8 Google+ rating for customer service. To inquire about the company’s full-service management services, or to take a tour of houses for rent in the area, email [email protected], visit us online at WilmingtonForRent.com or download our mobile app, Sweyer Rentals. You can also Like and follow the Sweyer Property Management Facebook page to get property management tips or see properties for rent.
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