Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Your Property Value

Home Improvement House Meaning Renovate Or RestoreThe real estate market is on fire! When we have a market like this, it may be the right time to prepare your property for sale. If you’re considering substantial changes, they could affect the property’s overall market value. Here are four remodels to avoid and four to consider before listing your home.

Posted on Feb 23 2017 – 10:57am by Housecall / Brooke Nally

Remodels to Avoid:

Luxury Rooms

An indoor basketball court, wine cellar, sauna, or even a movie theater won’t often recoup the high building costs. Luxury add-on rooms are hard to pitch to buyers unless you’re living in an upscale housing market—the average homebuyer won’t be willing to pay for them. Further, rooms that depend heavily on wired electronics, like home theaters, are hard to keep current because TVs and speakers are constantly advancing.

Swimming Pool

The average cost to build a pool is $39,084, a hefty price tag that is seldom recovered once the home is sold. It’s widely accepted throughout the industry that a homeowner will lose money by adding a swimming pool. Homebuyers don’t want to deal with the maintenance cost of a pool (which can cost as much as $2,000 a year), the added insurance premiums, and—if they have young kids—the safety issues.

Gaudy Accents

Though gold-plated crown molding or mosaic-tile backsplashes may feature prominently in your ideal vision for your home, they often turn out to be the average homebuyer’s worst nightmare. Passing fads or niche trends rarely stick around long, so if you miss the brief window when your remodeling choices are in, you’ll end up paying for it later.

Changes Contrary to Area Standards

If you aren’t watching the trends common to your area, you could end up losing a lot of money. A home that totals $600,000 after all the renovations won’t sell in a neighborhood where homes are netting half that price. Likewise, knocking down the walls of extra bedrooms for an open layout won’t be appealing in a family-oriented neighborhood.

Remodels that Pay:

Steel Doors

You don’t want to go cheap on a standard front door. At roughly $1,000, steel doors are comparatively affordable, durable, low maintenance and burglar resistant. As an added bonus, the National Association of Realtors® reports that steel door upgrades show the highest return on investment of any home remodel, at over 100 percent of the cost.

Solar Panels

As the price of solar panels continues to drop, the energy payback on installing them is becoming greater and greater. The average rooftop solar system is now paid off in seven and a half years. After that, panels are a big money-saving asset. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory notes that homebuyers “consistently have been willing to pay more for a property” with solar panels—a premium of around $4 per installed watt, on average.

Related: Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Solar Panels?

New Siding

The exterior of your house is the first thing potential homebuyers see when they come to your home, and you want to make the best first impression. This is part of the reason redoing your siding is so profitable. New siding recoups around 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors®, thanks largely to the increased curb appeal and improved energy efficiency it provides.

Broadband Access

Access to broadband speeds is considered an essential utility for today’s connected homebuyer. Research shows that faster internet speeds increase your home value by as much as 3 percent. Homeowners can prepare their homes for higher broadband connectivity by working with area providers to install requisite equipment and wiring. Building out wall ports and cable-hiding baseboards is a good move to attract buyers, too.

Even if you’re not considering selling your home just yet, keep potential selling benefits in mind. Intrepid homeowners know that the best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.

March 2017 Area Events

March 2017 Events3/1 – 7/9: Beyond the Horizon – Cameron Art Museum

3/1: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Cape Fear Community College / The Wilson Center

3/2 – 5/1: Reflections in Black & White – Cape Fear Museum of History & Science

3/3 – 25: Spring Art Show – Frankllin Square Gallery, Southport

3/3-5 & 10-12: World-famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids – at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher

3/3: Sixth Annual Sheriff’s Charity Ball -”Diamonds and Denim” – St. James Community Center in Southport

3/4: Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce – Live, Learn, Shop Local Expo – 925-15 Seaside Road, Ocean Isle Beach

3/4: Mardi Gras by the Sea Festival and Parade – Middleton Park Soccer Field, Oak Island

3/5: The Jungle Book – at Cape Fear Community College / The Wilson Center

2/16 – 3/5: Crimes of the Heart – Cape Fear Playhouse / Big Dawg Productions

3/7: The Habana Boys – Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts

3/10: Opening Reception / From the Fire – Cameron Art Museum

3/10: Best Foot Forward – at Cape Fear Community College / The Wilson Center

3/11: US Open Fat Bike Championship – Blockade Runner Beach Resort

3/11: Cape Fear Comic Con – Best Western Plus Coastline Inn, 503 Nutt Street, Downtown Wilmington

3/11: St. Patrick’s Day Festival & Parade – Parade: Downtown Wilmington / Festival: Riverfront Park

3/14: Sea Trail Garden Club Fashion Show and Charity – Sea Trail Conference Center in Sunset Beach

3/15: City Ballet / Beauty and the Beast – at Cape Fear Community College / The Wilson Center

3/16: Lionel Popkin – at Cape Fear Community College / The Wilson Center

3/17: Earth, Wind & Fire – at Cape Fear Community College / The Wilson Center

3/18: The 13th Annual Steve Haydu St. Patrick’s Day Lo Tide Run – Carolina Beach Boardwalk

3/18: Badwater Cape Fear – Ultra Marathon Race – Old Baldy Lighthouse, Bald Head Island

3/18: Wrightsville Beach Biathlon – Blockade Runner Beach Resort

3/18: The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra – Operatic Orchestra – at Cape Fear Community College /  The Wilson Center

3/21: Ann Wilson of Heart – at Cape Fear Community College / The Wilson Center

3/22: Lawn & Disorder, Comedy From The Suburbs – Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts

3/22: Cape Fear Stage Presents / STOMP – at Cape Fear Community College / The Wilson Center

3/23 – 4/6: The Last Encampment – Cape Fear Playhouse / Big Dawg Productions

3/24: Fourth Friday Gallery Nights – Downtown Wilmington

3/24-25: Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon – Municipal Lane Wrightsville Beach

3/25: Puttin’ on the Ritz – 6th Annual The Golf Ball benefitting The Harrison Taylor Scholarship Fund – South Brunswick Islands Center, 9400 Ocean Highway 17 N, Carolina Shores

3/25: The Kennedy’s Concert – Virginia Williamson Event Center, Bolivia

3/30: Jason Isbell w/ special guest Hiss Golden Messenger – at Cape Fear Community College / The Wilson Center

Luxury Portfolio Spotlight: Bradley Creek Point, Modern Boca Raton Estate and Montecito’s Original Hilltop Baron

As our partnership with Luxury Portfolio allows, Intracoastal Realty’s listings are often featured on LuxuryPortfolio.com. We often spotlight outstanding listings around the world and become enamored with the many features, outdoor spaces, and interior design and decor of these lavish properties. This month the properties listed have exceptional ocean and waterway views! We hope you enjoy learning more about these three extraordinary custom homes.

407 Bradley Creek Point RoadOnce in a lifetime the right property comes along… The perfect location in sought- after Bradley Creek Point off designated ”scenic NC byway” Airlie Road within walking distance of the Intracoastal Waterway and Airlie Gardens. No expense was spared and no detail overlooked in this magnificent Normandy inspired residence with private pier. From the latest building innovations including spray foam insulation, Marvin windows and Mike Powell’s furniture quality cabinetry and built-ins to antique European interior doors and mantles from the 17th & 18th century. Impeccably designed and masterfully built by Mark Batsin’s Tongue and Groove Old World Craftsmen, this 6,500 sq. ft., home captures the perfect blend of neighborhood setting, timeless design and commitment to only the finest materials.

PROPERTY FEATURES INCLUDE: Waterfront, 3 Fireplace(s), 3 Attached Garage Spaces, Central, Heat Pump

INTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE: 9 ft. Plus Ceilings; Elevator; Mud Room; Pantry; Walk-in Shower; Wet Bar

VIEWS INCLUDE: Water, Sunrise

BUILT IN: 2013



LOT DIMENSIONS: 74x376x135x304

See it!


BOCA RATON ESTATEChic modern living spaces are at one with the outdoor environment in this exquisite showplace gracing the shores of the Intracoastal Waterway in The Estates, Boca Raton’s crown jewel beachside enclave known for its long-standing tradition of world-class resort living.  Pairing the talents of Mark Timothy Luxury Homes and Affiniti Architects, and just completed at the end of 2013, this modern masterwork is artfully furnished by Marc-Michaels Interior Design, an award-winning industry authority twice named to Architectural Digest’s annual AD100 list of the world’s top architects and designers.  Connecting with the outdoors through airy glass walls, the clean architectural lines play up the beauty of natural finishes such as the pebble-stone accents and warm woods adding an exotic Balinese-inspired flair.

Hidden behind the tall louvered entry, the front courtyard creates a serene oasis where an ipe walkway bridges the reflecting pond, bringing guests to the glass-encased entry looking through the house to the waterfront view framed by another glass wall.  Conducive to casually elegant living and entertaining, the versatile open floor-plan sets off each individual space with signature elements featuring a long linear fireplace in the living room and a built-in buffet with see-through display shelves between the formal and informal dining areas.  The living areas and luxe master retreat all open to the elegant resort-inspired pool patio that captivates the senses with its glowing fire-pit, water wall, swaying palms, and tranquil waterway view.  Epitomizing stylish indoor/outdoor living, this one-of-a-kind Intracoastal estate is simply stunning.

Spanish River Road, Boca Raton, Florida.  A prestigious beachside enclave, The Estates is located within walking distance of the famous Raton Resort & Club, close to Mizner Park’s world-class shopping and dining.  Boca Raton’s private executive airport is only a 15±-minute drive.

This striking modern estate fronts 100± feet on the Intracoastal Waterway, capturing scenic water views and sunsets across lush lawns extending all the way to the shoreline.  Glass walls join the interiors to the waterfront lanai and ipe platform decks with a fire-pit by the sleek pool and spa outlined in pebble-stone finishes.  The rock water wall is itself a work of art.

Exquisite designer finishes and furnishings exude sophisticated ease in this effortless single-level residence totaling 6,862± square feet with three bedrooms, three full and two half baths, a back-up generator, and three-bay garage.  Impact-rated glass is used in all windows and exterior doors, and floor finishes are of hardwood and stone.

Across the great room, double doors enter the private gallery of the waterfront master wing which opens to the lanai.  Giving a serene water view and featuring a linear fireplace, the window-walled master bedroom is accompanied by a luxe bath that creates an exotic spa-like environment with stunning wood-and-stone finishes, a sculpted free-standing tub, multi-head shower with built-in bench, and a voluminous boutique-style glass-enclosed wardrobe room with elaborate custom fittings.  Placed apart from the master quarters in separate wings off the foyer, two more bedroom suites both have walk-in closets and private baths.

BUILT IN: 2013


See it!


SOLANA IN MONTECITOSet privately on a lush knoll top boasting sweeping 360-degree views of the Pacific, the glow of the Santa Barbara city lights and the Santa Ynez mountains, Solana, circa 1916, is one Montecito’s original “Hilltop Barons,” estates. Shining from a stunning restoration, Solana’s residence unfolds gracefully over 22,000+ square feet and 11+ acres while historic details coalesce with modern amenities.

INTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE: Butler’s Pantry, Guest House, Guest Quarters, Pantry, Remodeled Bath, Remodeled Kitchen, Room Addition, Wet Bar

BUILT IN: 1914


See it!



Award-Winning Tex-Mex Chili

Recipe Courtesy of Graphic Designer & Marketing Coordinator Casey McGuire

Here it is! This month’s recipe is the chili winner from the Intracoastal Lumina I February 2017 Cook-off. This heated dish is sure to impress family and friends during these last few days of winter. “It’s all about the toppings!” exclaimed winner Casey McGuire.  “My list helps to enhance and drive home this recipe’s Tex-Mex flavor.”


  • 2 lbs ground beef
    1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 cans of green chiles
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can fire-roasted corn
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 can chili/kidney beans (mild or medium)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • Pinch sugar
  • Few dashes of hot sauce (or more to taste)
  • Few tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro


  • Shredded cheddar
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges
  • Diced onion
  • Jalapeno slices
  • Cilantro


  1. Saute onion, jalapeno and garlic in olive oil with salt and pepper until soft and translucent, then add in ground beef and cook through.
  2. Add rest of ingredients, saving some cilantro for serving. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least one hour.
  3. Serve with toppings!



Wilmington Facts from the Historian Bob Jenkins

The Gift of HistoryWalking tour - 1

On January 19th, area historian and Downtown Wilmington tour guide, Bob Jenkins shared with Intracoastal agents many interesting facts from Wilmington’s History.  From the early beginnings through current day, Bob delivered his key storytelling notes with humor and incredible detail. We tried to capture the essence in the highlights below. Pick out just a few to have on hand – you’ll be glad you did.

  • There are 320 miles of coastline in North Carolina – and the only main river feeding from the north of the state to the ocean is the Cape Fear River. The river is over 200 miles long!
  • The first 170 miles drop in elevation by 160 feet – delivering huge amounts of water down to where it meets the last thirty miles of water heading to the ocean – this last thirty-mile leg is tidal water.
  • While many river settlements along the east coast developed in the late 1600’s, the settlement of Wilmington was a late-developer. Even with all the great resources to be had (rice and timber), there was something to “fear” about the Wilmington location.
  • The term “Cape Fear” evolved due to the continual shifting of sands and navigable bottom changes presented by “Frying Pan Shoals” at the base of the river’s delta.
  • Only when the British desired another deep-water port along the coast between the Chesapeake Bay Settlement, and the Charleston, South Carolina, settlement (both were founded in the late 1600’s) was it worth the risk of the shoals to establish Wilmington.
  • The area around the river was ripe with opportunity for two key agricultural offerings – RICE and TIMBER.
  • The settlement of Brunswick Town was the first in our area to founded in 1726. British landowners originally from South Carolina, Maurice, and Roger Moore, established the first rice plantation. ORTON Plantation. The manor house was constructed in 1735.
  • There were approximately 120 RICE plantations along the river – not cotton as some would expect.
  • “Cape Fear Pines” were an available and grand crop for harvesting and for the production of turpentine and pine tar. Both became a huge resource as export items to the British in England. The pine trees were “boxed” to capture the natural pine-oil from them. Similar to capturing sap from maple trees in New England to make syrup.
  • Heart-Pine was treasured as the hardest wood for the keels of British ships, and Pine Tar kept the ships afloat – thanks to coating the bottoms of ships. Pine tar was plentiful and gooey; hence, the TARHEEL moniker given to North Carolinians, by locals and British Colonists.
  • In colonial times sixty-percent of all naval stores in England came from the Cape Fear region. Rice production was huge! One acre of ground could supply 75 bushels or rice, annually: hence, the term Carolina Gold.
  • The Port of Wilmington was developed by a Scot – John Martin – as he was given a land grant to focus on the development of a major seaport vs. agriculture.
  • The choice of the name “Wilmington” was bestowed on the town in honor of the Earl of Wilmington, Spencer Compton, a patron of the then current governor of North Carolina, Gabriel Johnston – and chartered in 1740.
  • The Cotton Exchange became the largest exchange in the World. In the 1870’s. It grew from agents of the company traveling to cotton farms in the area – and providing incentives for the southern farmers to work in partnership. The business included some fifty European agencies.
  • Over time – Wilmington became a major shipbuilding port and produced 243 “Liberty Ships” during World War II. There were five major railroads coming into and out of Wilmington due to the industry and the war economy. They started leaving in 1950.
  • Side Note – Masonboro Sound got its name from the Grand Masons (Masonic Lodge of the era).


Bob Jenkins Reference Resources:

Cape Fear & Frying Pan Shoals
Cape Hatteras and Outer Banks

Harpers Weekly 1876 – turpentine production graphic and more!