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Realtor Donald O'Meara on Johnston County Real Estate
Episode 238th April 2024 • Best of Johnston County • Jonathan Breeden
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Welcome to The Best of Johnston County podcast! In this episode, I sit down with realtor Donald O'Meara to discuss all things Johnston County real estate. We dive into the current market trends, the best neighborhoods to live in, and the unique charm of this area. 

Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or looking to invest, this episode is packed with valuable insights and tips. Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn from a local expert. 

Tune in now and discover why Johnston County is the place to be for all your real estate needs.


Episode 23 - Donald O'Meara


Jonathan Breeden: [:

Donald O'Meara: So that, was the biggest part. I,

I, One I wanted to get away from any franchise, so it was locally owned and operated small, so I had more control over it so that I could kind of set my own fees, set my own structure with my people and didn't have to answer to the big corporations that wasn't really in Johnston County.

There's a lot of big franchise real agents in Johnston County, but there's only a few that are actually just only owned and operated in Johnston County.

So that was a big thing for me is that I just wanted to just set aside and be a Johnston County, locally owned and operated agency.

the county or unraveling the [:

Jonathan Breeden: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Best of Johnston County podcast. I'm your host, Jonathan Breeden, and today we have with us Realtor, a good friend of mine, Donald O'Meara. We're gonna talk a little bit about the O'Meara Realty Group. His involvement in the community with GCAA and downtown Smithfield development and some of the other community service activities he does, as well as why he loves Johnston County and how he got here.

Welcome Donald.

Donald O'Meara: Thank you, Jonathan. Appreciate it being here. So thank you, looking forward to it.

Jonathan Breeden: Well cool. Well first just, I guess, introduce yourself to the audience. Your name, where you're from, where you grew up, all that good stuff.

Donald O'Meara: Gotcha. So, Donald O'Meara, obviously owner of O'Meara Realty Group, and our office is in Smithfield, North Carolina.

rginia area. We moved here in:

eden: Oh my goodness. That's [:

Donald O'Meara: I played at Pfeiffer University in near route outta Charlotte, North Carolina.

And then I coached at UNCW and Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania.

Jonathan Breeden: Right. And when you were coached, I think you coached women.

Donald O'Meara: Yep. Coached women's basketball. Yes, sir.

Jonathan Breeden: And you were fairly successful at it.

Donald O'Meara: Yeah, we did. And then when I went to Virginia, I was actually a high school girl's basketball coach. Jokingly, the Marv Levy of girls basketball. I lost three State Championships in a row.

Jonathan Breeden: Oh my goodness. Yeah. That's tough. So you and uh, Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers

Donald O'Meara: Feel on the same page.

Jonathan Breeden: Right. Now he's lost two Super Bowls as a head coach, and then he was the office coordinator with Atlanta. Blew the 28 to three lead to the uh, new England Patriots.

So, uh. but before Andy Reid won three Super Bowls, he had lost some Super Bowls too. So,

Donald O'Meara: You gotta win, some loose it..

Jonathan Breeden: Right, well, I think you're a great coach when you get to a State Championship or if you get to a Super Bowl or anything like that, whether you win the actual game or not, because you wouldn't be there if you weren't a great coach.

Donald O'Meara: Right. always said great coaches come from great players, so.

Jonathan Breeden: [:

Donald O'Meara: In all honest truth, one was just kinda lifestyle where we moved, and financially looking to get a better lifestyle for my family, there's not as lot of money in teaching and coaching. Right?

Especially at the lower level, that and just you know, when I started having kids time, so I wanted something that allowed me more time and really I take my passion for coaching into real estate, working with new real estate agents and clients and teaching them and and I still get to coach my son, which is a cool part for me.

Jonathan Breeden: So, I guess the next question would be you were coaching, you played college basketball and then you were coaching high school and college basketball.

When did you decide to become a realtor? and were you originally licensed in Virginia or North Carolina?

Donald O'Meara: No, actually never did real estate until we came to North Carolina. I was actually obviously a teacher and a coach for years, then I started small business. I did inflatable party rentals when we were in Virginia. When we moved here, I couldn't really get that off the ground, there was just a lot already going on here, couldn't get my foot in the door.

dustry, oh, that's true. For [:

Jonathan Breeden: So when did you get your real estate license?

Donald O'Meara::

Jonathan Breeden: Okay. All right. And then did you immediately open a real estate group?

Donald O'Meara: No, I started with,

hile. And then I decided that:

Jonathan Breeden: Oh, man. Yeah. No, that's great. I remember when you were, doing that in Garner, that's when I first met you and Right. and I was going around, I was like, who what? I see these signs everywhere, you know? And then I think we originally met you ended up, we went through GCA, the Greater Cleveland Athletic Association.

Donald O'Meara: Yes, sir.

t's right when Mirror Realty [:

So, why did you decide to go out on your own and what makes Am O'Meara Realty different than the other realtors?

Donald O'Meara: So that was the biggest part. One I wanted to get away from any franchise, so it was locally owned and operated small, so I had more control over it so that I could kind of set my own fees, set my own structure with my people and didn't have to answer to the big corporations that wasn't really in Johnston County.

There's a lot of big franchise real agents in Johnston County, but there's only a few that are actually just only owned and operated in Johnston County.

So that was a big thing for me is that I just wanted to just set aside and be a Johnston County, locally owned and operated agency.

Jonathan Breeden: Okay. And do y'all do anything different for your clients than any other builders?

gh and have to deal with the [:

We also you know, being locally owned and operated, we have a lot of connections with local people, so we know what's going on. We know a lot about the communities and maybe what's going next door to you when you move into the communities and just local knowledge like that.

said, I gotta kickstarted in:

So it's kind of started out as just a little fun thing with the team's name, and then it kind of got to be taken off where everybody's running around here with sold by Donald t-shirts on.

And kinda like you said, everybody thought mine signs and name was everywhere. But at that time I was really kind of small, just trying to build right.

Jonathan Breeden: Branding. Right? No doubt.

No doubt.

Donald O'Meara: Brand, sir.

Jonathan Breeden: So, you got the, I guess the office space, which is right there in Dennis Smithfield, right across from the little brown jug for those listing, your window's faced the little brown jug right there on, was that front street?

Donald O'Meara: Yeah. That street's Front street.

o the open house that was in [:

Yeah, yeah, Yeah, we did, we still had some left over from the business. We hadn't sold completely yet.

Right. Well, that was cool. So, I mean, how many agents do you have now?

Donald O'Meara: So I have eight total agents and then one office person.

Jonathan Breeden: Oh, that's awesome. Okay.

Donald O'Meara: And actually a new intern. We just hired a girl from Cleveland High School who's interning with us and she wants to become a real estate agency. I gotcha.

Jonathan Breeden: I gotcha. So what are the initial pro if I'm thinking I wanna sell my house, what's the first thing I should do?

Donald O'Meara: So the first thing I always tell people is you should probably contact three agents. You know, set up a time, have them come to your house and talk about what they think the value of your house is, what they're gonna do for you, and then what they're gonna obviously charge you.

That's the most important question for everybody.

Jonathan Breeden: Right. Okay. And then I guess y'all put together a, I call it a CMA, like a comparative market analysis. Right, right, right, For the client decide, say, okay, this is what we think we can sell your house for and this is what you'll make.

Donald O'Meara: That's right.

guess y'all could also make [:

Donald O'Meara: Yeah. So typical listen point for me you'll call me, I'll come into your house, we'll go over numbers of recent sales, comparables to your house. We'll talk about what I'm gonna do to market it, how I can set myself apart from the other 15,000 agents in the Raleigh area.

Then we're gonna talk about fee structure, how that looks you know, fees, you know, commissions have to be negotiated.

So, it depends on whether you're just selling, whether you're selling, buying, or whether you're selling and moving somewhere else, kind of makes that structure change.

And then we are going to, usually if you decide to hire me, I'll come back at a later date and I go room to room with you. Or somebody on my team does, and we go through and say, okay, let's do this, let's change this, let's take this piece of furniture, put it in the garage, kind of stage the home for photos, bring in photos, and then put that awesome circle or mirror realty sign in your front yard and get it going.

, [:

ow, I would say when I got in:

We don't see that as much anymore but we're still a very healthy market, especially in Johnston County. You're looking probably at an average of 30 to 45 days on market now instead of three hours, right? Which is a little bit different, but the market is very rate driven.

Right there, after Christmas, the rates dropped into the sixes and it was boom. Things started selling again. Now they're creeped back up a little bit to sevens and things are a little bit slower.

So, it changes the buying power for people and as we all know, affordability in Johnston County has changed, you know, your average of $400,000 homes now when you used to be in the 200.

So it makes a difference.

t's gone up substantially. I [:

Which is just supply and demand, this is capitalism. You know, and I know people are saying they look at all these growth and stuff, we still have a housing shortage in Johnston County. Don't you agree?

Donald O'Meara: Yeah. Believe it or not, I mean, and that's what a lot of people will say, well, they're building everywhere, but the majority of those were already sold. You know, there's a catch-up point, but where there's new construction coming, there's still not a lot of people reselling.

Because they don't have nowhere to go or if they resell, you know, and they make $150,000, they're gonna turn around and put that right into their house to have an equity, you know, the same payment they have now.

So, it's a tough scenario of, you know, when is the right time to sell and buy and you know, everybody's reasons is different.

Jonathan Breeden: Yeah. And you know, and I've said this on the podcast as we've interviewed other builders and people that are in development in the area, and I don't know if people realize, but being a divorce lawyer where you're always looking for a place for your clients to move because all of a sudden this relationship is not working out.

You know, there's [:

Donald O'Meara: That's right. And a lot of people with a complaint. We had this conversation off-camera, a little bit about infrastructure, you gotta have infrastructure. So you gotta have people to pay for the taxes, to pay for the infrastructure, right? And then when the infrastructure catches up, that's only gonna make this area expand even more.

IE-540. If we look at historically stats in North Raleigh before 540, and what happened when 540 was finished, I think we're gonna see another uptick here in Johnston County when that's all done.

Jonathan Breeden: Right. I don't disagree. I mean, and now whether people are gonna laugh when they hear this, but Garner is about to be inside the BeltLine.

t neighborhoods there is the [:

Donald O'Meara: That's right. We're gonna be basically the next Wake Forest, you know, and oh, I never thought about that. So I need to be looking. Now those average median prices in there are 600,000.

So, which is what we're seeing in some of the new construction on Cleveland Road right now. True Homes and Eastwood have just put in two new subdivisions and they're starting in the six hundreds.

Jonathan Breeden: Man, that's a lot of money for a house.

Donald O'Meara: That is, especially in Johnson County. But you know, but that's a good thing for us in, but I agree as a local real estate agent and working with a couple builders that I'm involved with, we all agree that we need to see some more affordable housing in Johnston County.

You know, 1 27 homes is building quite a few of those, but we need some of the other local small builders to get back into the high to $300,000 homes.

u talk about I wanna sell my [:

And so, I think that has kept some of the houses that might be more affordable off the market because those people who wanna move don't have anywhere to go and they don't wanna leave Johnston County.

Donald O'Meara: Great. I would agree with that about five years ago, probably if you wanted to sell and upgrade, you were limited to Portofino and a couple small subdivisions like that with the higher end homes or you know, custom build on land. And land is, as we all know, has pushed almost out of affordability in Johnston County.

used to jokingly say in about:

a is, you know, it's not just:

I [:

The taxes are reasonable, they cut taxes last year where Wake County and Raleigh, the City of Raleigh, raised taxes almost every single year. And so, people are wanting to move to Johnston County.

There's good schools, the roads are crowded, but Okay. And I don't think that's going to change and there's nothing Jonathan Breen or Donald O'Meara could do to stop it.

So I think we just need to do the best we can for it.

Donald O'Meara: Yeah, I agree. I mean, I need to say, like you said, that there's a reason people are coming here is because of, obviously locality.

the reason I came here, it's:

Jonathan Breeden: Well, that's true, there's no doubt.

know, but you do have great [:

So Duke, North Carolina, Wolfpack fans, I mean, you're right there. So, if we could just get 'em to keep it in Greensboro, that'd be amazing.

Jonathan Breeden: Right.

Have family law questions? Need guidance to navigate legal challenges? The compassionate team at Breeden Law Office is here to help. Visit us at www. breedenfirm. com for practical advice, resources, or to book a consultation. Remember, when life gets messy, you don't have to face it alone.

Jonathan Breeden: Well, let's switch subject here and talk a little bit about some of your community involvement. You and I both have been on the Greater Cleveland Athletic Association board.

I just have come off, you're still on it. What made you want to get involved with that group and what have you learned from that involvement?

baseball. And then obviously [:

And then once I got in there, you know, I used to get a lot of questions from clients, people moving in, you know, why does GCA do this? Why does, you know? And I said, that's a great question, I don't know.

So, there was a board meeting one night and I went up in there and next thing I know I'm on the board. So, and I still don't know why GCA does some certain things, but I just wanted to be involved in the community and be more than just a coach. Try to help out with some bigger decisions, planning and seeing what was coming for the future 'cause that also helps me in the real estate business to know that, hey, we do have a park.

It might not be for our kids, it would probably be for our grandkids, but at least it's in the plans and it, there's a want for it, a need and it's happening.

So that was the big thing, same thing with Swift Creek, Boosters Club. I jumped on that probably six years ago. My son wasn't even there, my daughter didn't play sports, but you know, I just wanted to be a part of the athletic department, help out, help 'em raise money, you know, gave things brand new school, very neat opportunity.

And it's been a fun ride.

on stands at the Swift Creek [:

But we can all agree that Cleveland High School is great and the football team there and the athletics there and we're all Rams at heart here, out here in the Cleveland community.

Tell me a little bit, I know you're involved with the Downtown Smithfield Development Association. Tell people what that is and what it does?

Donald O'Meara: So, yeah, I'm not on the board, but I do a lot of stuff with them, I think. So, they basically run a lot of activities like Ham and Yam, Third Street Eatery and stuff like that. But really it's about a promotion of downtown Smithfield businesses. And I guess, what I don't wanna call it a revamp, but just a bringing businesses, small businesses to Smithfield.

at and shop and just since I [:

They've brought in some great new restaurants, there's been expansion of local , they've redone the theater on the Neuse River now, and now they can have concerts, wine walks that, you know, just a lot of stuff that people don't even know is going on right there in their back pocket.

So, it's been a great thing for Smithfield.

Jonathan Breeden: Yeah. Well, what are some of your favorite restaurants? I have my favorite restaurants in town at Smithfield. What are some of yours?

Donald O'Meara: So, I hit 'em ball and I've hit a lot of them, but, I would say my top one is go, is I love a greasy spoon at the diner.

Okay. Um, The Diner.

I do love the Diner, especially for breakfast. Sammy's Pizza and they've opened up a bar now, which is pretty neat.

Jonathan Breeden: I did not know that.

Donald O'Meara: Yeah, so they've got a nice bar in there now, and Chargrill for a hamburger, you can't really beat a Chargrill hamburger. It doesn't matter what day of the week I go in there, they're lined up to the door and you're out in five minutes if you need to be.

And, you know, love it or leave it, crickets is amazing.

Smithfield have done a nice [:

And they've got more events at Christmas, you can do the horse-drawn carriages and do lots of Christmas decorations and I would say anybody that's not spending time in downtown Smithfield. You should go. I think you would find it exciting and there's a lot of great businesses there.

Same thing with Selma, with the antiques and that kind of stuff. And I think, I guess before we get outta here, you or your wife are part owners of Celtic Creamery, which is not exactly in downtown Smithfield, but right outside of Smithfield.

Donald O'Meara: We're right on the edge. Yeah. We don't fall under the downtown Smithfield jurisdiction, unfortunately, but we do a lot with them. We set up obviously at the Hammond Yann Festival and, and thing, but yeah, not to give a unsolicited plug, but

Jonathan Breeden: No, yeah, no.

Donald O'Meara: It creamery JoCo right on two-ten as you're going into Smithfield. That's ice cream in Johnston County in my opinions.

ny event that you have. And, [:

And I have to be real careful with the Chocoholic stuff because I don't really need all that. But yeah it's excellent and that's been a nice get for that part of Smithfield because there really wasn't a retail business over there. I guess, there was a gun shop where the Creamery is now a few years ago.

So that was good to get and it's open seven days a week, I believe.

Donald O'Meara: It will be coming in the spring, in the winter. We close on Mondays, but we're open seven days a week and we extend our hours in the summertime.

Jonathan Breeden: Oh that's awesome.

Donald O'Meara: Yeah, and obviously we have a lot of young Johnston County kids working there for us too, so, which is really cool.

Jonathan Breeden: Right. Well, it's great. I absolutely love Celtic Creamery and I go there probably too much.

So how can the listeners get in touch with you and your organization? Our office line is:

And we have obviously Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, all the good stuff.

Jonathan Breeden: Oh, yeah. [:

Well, the last question we always ask the guest on this program is, what do you love most about Johnston County?

Donald O'Meara: So,

Jonathan Breeden: I,

Donald O'Meara: I mean,

Jonathan Breeden: I,

Donald O'Meara: that's a hard answer, but the biggest thing that brought me to Johnston County was the small town feel. Everybody knows your name, kind of, you recognize people at the stores, but yet you still had everything you needed.

And then obviously locality. You know, right here between 40 and 95, you can get almost anywhere you want and

Jonathan Breeden: you know,

Donald O'Meara: that's a big thing.

So, you know, being that, and then obviously, you know, good school systems, stuff like that. So there's a lot of things that bring you to Johnston County. But I think the biggest thing to me is that even though it's growing like crazy, it's still's got a small town feel.

Jonathan Breeden: Well, that's great. And I would agree with that. I still like the small town feel and seeing my neighbors and knowing everybody and meeting new people. I love to meet new people too.

So we want to thank Donald O'Meara for coming on to the Best of Johnston County Podcast.

g this podcast, feel free to [:

So that you'll be aware of future episodes of the Best of Johnston County podcast. And if you would be kind enough to leave us a five-star review down at the bottom, it will help with our exposure so other people will know about the best of Johnston County Podcasts.

New episodes come out every Monday. And so be looking for them. If this is your first time listening, feel free.

Go back, listen to some of the previous episodes, including the one with Adrian O'Neill, the Johnston County Parks and Rec Director, or Patrick Harris, Johnston County Commissioner or Ted Godwin Johnston County Commissioner about where this county's going and some of the infrastructure plans that they are put in place and that are coming.

By listening to this podcast, you will learn a ton about Johnston County and where it's going, and how the leaders of this county and the small businesses see its future and how you can play a part in it. Until next time, I'm your host, Jonathan Breeden.

he end of today's episode of [:

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