Professional Home Staging Can Lead to a Quicker Sale, and More Money

By Judy Royal

All the world’s a stage, including your home. If you’re planning to sell a property in the Wilmington NC real estate market, you’ll want to make it as appealing as possible to the masses with an eye-catching first impression. Cleaning and fixing that doorknob that’s been broken for years aren’t the only things you can do to get ready. Home staging is the process of preparing your residence for the marketplace with the goal of making it attractive to the highest number of potential buyers through the use of the following components: artwork, painting, furniture, accessories, lighting, greenery, and carpet. Experts agree that a professionally staged home is likely to spend less time on the market and net a higher sales price.

“The first thing it does is it gives the buyer a vision and a lifestyle of how they can live in the home,” said Lyn Manning, interior decorator and staging specialist who works with many Intracoastal Realty clients. “It just sets up a whole visual appeal. When we go in model homes we typically like the model home, and part of that is because it’s all set up to visually appeal to and emotionally grab the buyer. It shows them that lifestyle that they can have in that home and helps them decide how they can set the furniture up.”

This is especially important in homes that have floor plans with irregularities, Manning said. Professional staging can smooth those out by adding visual items that might be similar to what the new owner would incorporate. “It kind of takes away that guessing game for a buyer who has seen that raw, open space,” she added.

Staging isn’t just for empty homes, though. Many potential sellers will need to continue living in their residences while they are on the market and open to buyer showings. While Manning can provide all the furniture and decor to stage an empty property, in a lived-in space she works with what’s already there. “The challenge is to show the homeowner that less is more and get them to understand that thinning out is really necessary,” she said. “I really need to use what they have, maybe adding a few inexpensive elements to dress up what they have, and that’s a key part of this. My job is not to critique or criticize how they have lived in the home or their choice of decor.”

The home staging concept was born in 1972 when Barb Schwarz left the interior design business and went into residential real estate in Bellevue, Washington. With a background in theater, she began to suggest to sellers that they set the scene for potential buyers. In 1985, Schwarz began touring the country to teach agents and decorators about home staging and how it can be an advantage when selling a house, and in 1999 she founded the International Association of Home Staging Professionals® (IAHSP®).

About 49 percent of Realtors® who work with buyers believe staging usually has an effect on the buyer’s view of the home, and another 47 percent believe staging sometimes has an impact on a buyer’s view of the home, according to the National Association of Realtors® 2015 Profile of Home Staging. The report, the first of its kind from NAR, also found that Realtors® on the buyer side believe staging makes an impact in several ways: 81 percent said staging helps buyers visualize the property as a future home, while 46 percent said it makes prospective buyers more willing to walk through a home they saw online.

Realtors® believe that buyers most often offer a 1-5 percent increase on the value of a staged home (37 percent from Realtors® representing sellers and 32 percent from Realtors® representing buyers). Additionally, 22 percent of Realtors® representing sellers and 16 percent of Realtors® representing buyers said the increase is closer to 6-10 percent.

For an empty home, Wilmington sellers can expect to pay an average of $1,595-$1,895 for home staging, depending on how many rooms need the service, and there is also a small fee for each month the staging specialist’s items remain on the property, Manning said. The cost for a detailed consultation that uses the homeowners’ existing belongings is $125-$155, she added.

So how do you get started when you have years or maybe even decades of accumulated goods in your dwelling space? Matthew Finlason, the host of HGTV’s television series “The Stagers,” offers these 10 rules for staging homes, according to an article on HGTV’s website:

  • Grab them from the curb: Add potted plants and flowers, pressure wash patios and walkways, weed the garden, and mow the lawn.
  • Make it sparkle: Mop, dust, vacuum, wash windows, and clean baseboards, inside cupboards, under sinks, and in closets. Also, be mindful of any odors.
  • Pay attention to color and light: Neutralize strong colors for the broadest appeal, and open up blinds and draperies to ensure sufficient natural light.
  • Depersonalize: Remove excessive personal items, such as photos, collections, personal awards, and electronics.
  • Consider replacing furnishings: Think about removing or replacing worn or outdated furnishings, and get rid of extra pieces.
  • Invest in new artwork: Breathe new life into your home with paintings and photography, which can be used to contemporize a room and add a splash of color.
  • Make repairs: Repair squeaky doors, chipped or smudged paint, and broken fixtures and fittings that you’ve neglected.
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint: Refresh a dull, dated room by brushing on some neutral color.
  • Don’t forget the floors: Get rid of worn carpets, and consider refinishing shabby hardwood floors. An inexpensive new area rug may also be a quick fix.
  • Spring for new light fixtures: Renew the look of the room by replacing old or dated light fixtures, door hardware, light switches, and outlets.

While these tips are a good start for any seller, they cannot replace the aesthetic details a professional can impart for a perfect look that can help you grab top dollar for your property.

Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell, Intracoastal Realty is here to meet your Wilmington NC real estate needs. We are a full-service real estate brokerage operating since 1976, and we currently have 12 offices with over 400 agents and staff to serve Southeastern North Carolina, including the areas of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Southport, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Leland, Hampstead, and Topsail Island.

Spring Appetizer: Asparagus Gruyere Tart

Tested by Casey McGuire
Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Blog

Looking for a simply fabulous spring appetizer to serve at your Easter brunch or Kentucky Derby Party? This month’s dish when made with plump, in-season asparagus, makes for a sophisticated, visually pleasing appetizer. Store-bought puff pastry is a great short cut, and Fontina cheese can substitute for Gruyere.


  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
  • Asparagus Green
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.



Luxury Portfolio Spotlight: Local Landfall Jewel, Modern Austin Estate and a Spectacular Location in Laguna Beach

As our partnership with Luxury Portfolio allows, Intracoastal Realty’s listings are often featured on 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 included showcase a more contemporary style with many exceptional features! We hope you enjoy learning more about these three extraordinary custom homes.

The jewel of a Southern home, where every room has its own charm and captivating views, exceeds your highest expectations. Landfall’s finest — surrounded by lakes and the Intracoastal Waterway. This magnificent home includes a boat slip, seven-car garage, guest house, heated swimming pool with waterfall hot tub. Enjoy nature on this 2.69 acre lot, centrally located yet away from the fray. Truly a remarkable home.

PROPERTY FEATURES INCLUDE: 3 Fireplace(s), Security System, Security Patrol, Central cooling, Heat Pump, skylights, smoke detectors, walk-in shower, walk-in closet, wash/dry connect, wet bar, Whirlpool, gas grill, shutters – functional, storm windows, thermal windows, hot tub

INTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE: first floor master, second kitchen, 9-foot plus ceilings, apt/suite, blinds/shades, ceiling – trey, ceiling – vaulted, ceiling fan(s), elevator, gas logs, home theater, hot tub, mud room, pantry


AMENITIES INCLUDE: on golf course, In-Ground Pool

BUILT IN: 2009



See it!

This property is one of the finest modern estates in Austin, or Texas for that matter. World-renowned architect Peter Gluck masterfully set this home on over four acres in the heart of Westlake. The acreage surrounding the house and detached guest house encompass a peninsula affording complete privacy with level and 100% enjoyable land providing a perfect, unobstructed view of downtown Austin. A spectacular home surrounded by nature less than 10 minutes from Austin. The attention to detail is unparalleled.

PROPERTY FEATURES INCLUDE: 1 Fireplace(s), security system, attached side-entry garage, Attached, Entry-Side

INTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE: built-in bookcases, built-in entertainment center, high ceiling, dumbwaiter, walk-in closet

AMENITIES INCLUDE: negative edge in-ground pool

BUILT IN: 2005



See it!

Truly one of the rarest locations of all beachfront homes in Laguna Beach. When it comes to location, there really isn’t—and never will be—anything like this property. The home is situated on an extended curve of the coastline that allows for one of a kind spectacular unobstructed views of the white sands of Main Beach and the cliffs of Heisler Park, as well as Crescent and Emerald Bay. Breathtaking views of Catalina along with the picturesque evening sunsets are a prelude to the presentation of city lights that can be seen from almost every room in this exquisite home.

This location renders it one of the most unique properties ever to enter the Laguna Beach real estate market—and what’s found inside is just as impressive. Rare and exotic materials and finishes, mosaic-inlaid tile entrance leading to artist-designed sculptured glass front door, 2 story ceilings, wine cellar and decadent guest quarters are a handful of elements that contribute to the home’s opulent esthetic, while custom works of art—including mosaic outdoor entertainment areas & gourmet full kitchen—establish a warm ambiance that’s quintessentially relaxed Laguna Beach luxury. Built nine years ago, the home looks as though it’s brand new incorporating a coveted side-by-side 4 car garage.

BUILT IN: 2006


LOT ACRES: 0.0300

See it!

April 2017 Area Events

Click on the live links below for more information:


4/1: Holden Beach Free 5K Color Run – 123 Jordan Blvd. Holden Beach

4/1-2: 25th Annual Herb and Garden Fair – Poplar Grove Plantation

4/5-9: North Carolina Azalea Festival – Various Locations

4/5: Azalea Queen’s Coronation – Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre
4/5: Loop The Lake Extended 5K/10K/1 Mile Fun Run – Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre
4/5: The Temptations featuring Dennis Edwards – Kenan Auditorium
4/6: Cole Swindell with Michael Ray and CJ Solar – Miller Lite Main Stage
4/7: Airlie Luncheon Garden Party – Airlie Gardens
4/7: After Garden Get Down – Bluewater Grill, Wrightsville Beach
4/7, 8, 9: Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour – Various Home Locations
4/7, 8, 9: NC Azalea: Cirque Ma’Ceo – Wilmington International Airport
4/7: Duran Duran – Miller Lite Main Stage / 701 N. Front Street Downtown Wilmington
4/7, 8, 9: 35th Annual Juried Spring Art Show & Sale – Hannah Block Historic USO (FREE)
4/7, 8, 9: Azalea Street Fair – N Water St. & S Water St. / Downtown Wilmington (FREE)
4/7, 8: Street Fair Children’s Area – The Cotton Exchange (FREE)
4/8: Street Fair Music & Multicultural Stage – Princess St & N Water St (FREE)
4/8, 9: Azalea Festival Boxing Tournament – Wilmington Convention Center
4/8, 9: Coin Show – Elks Lodge, 5102 Oleander Dr. (FREE)
4/8, 9: Historic Home Tour – Various Home Locations
4/8: The Azalea Festival Parade – S 3rd Street (FREE)
4/8, 9: Riverwalk Shag Contest…on the Banks of the Cape Fear – Hilton Riverside
4/8: MGC Parade Mile Race – Thalian Hall / 310 Chestnut St
4/8: Old School vs. New School Concert – Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre
4/8: Jason Derulo With Opening Act Morris Day And The Time – Miller Lite Main Stage
4/8: Fireworks Sponsored by AARP – N Water St, N Water St (FREE)
4/9: Festival Finale – Bluewater Grill

4/8, 14,15: Alligator Egg Hunt – N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher

4/8: BunnyDayz – Mulberry Park on 123 Mulberry Street in Shallotte

4/14: Easter Egg Hunt Carnival – Battleship North Carolina Park

4/14-9/5: Lorikeet Landing tropical bird exhibit- N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher

4/15: Old Bridge Easter Egg Hunt – Sunset Beach Town Park

4/15-16: Wrightsville Beach SUP Surfing Pro-Am North Side of the Crystal Pier

4/19-23: Carolina Cup SUP Race – Blockade Runner Resort

4/22: A Taste of Calabash – Calabash Community Park (Persimmon Road)

4/20-22: New Hanover County Arboretum Master Gardener Plant Sale – 6206 Oleander Drive

4/22-10/1: Starring Cape Fear (Experience Hollywood East) – Cape Fear Museum

4/22: Grammy Award-winning Blues and Gospel singer/songwriter Mike Farris – Thalian Hall

4/22: Wilmington Symphony Season Finale – The Wilson Center

4/23: RESCHEDULED / 23rd Annual Pleasure Island Seafood Blues & Jazz Festival – Fort Fisher Military Recreation Area

4/23: 2017 5K Race for the Planet – N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher

4/23: 2017 9th Annual Paws4People 5K and 1 Mile Fun Walk – Empie Park, Wilmington

4/23- 5/9: 4th Annual Wilmington Jewish Film Festival – Thalian Hall

4/27: Massive Grass & Folkstone Stringband – Thalian Hall

4/28: Kure Beach 70th Anniversary Celebration – Ocean Front Park / 105 Atlantic Ave

4/29: Ocean Isle Museum Foundation’s Ocean Isle Beach Wine Fest! – The Museum of Coastal Carolina is located at 21 East Second Street in Ocean Isle Beach

4/29: 14th Annual MAKING LEGENDS LOCAL Gala: British Invasion – Audi Cape Fear

4/29-30: Holden Beach Days at the Docks Festival – Pavilion at Jordan Blvd

4/13-30: The Comedy of Errors – Dreams Garage

4/30: 5th Annual Strawberry & Wine Festival – Sunset Beach Town Park

Southeastern North Carolina Beach Access Rules for Dogs

By Judy Royal

If you’re in the market for Wilmington NC real estate or you just want to take a vacation in the area, there’s a good chance you might be factoring a four-legged family member into your plans, as pet ownership is steadily on the rise; 65 percent of U.S. households, or about 79.7 million, own a pet, according to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, an increase from 56 percent of U.S. households in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted.

While you’ll find a variety of pet types in American homes, the most common are dogs and cats. Cats can settle into (and, let’s face it, take over) practically any dwelling space and be perfectly content with never venturing beyond the walls of your residence. Dogs, however, are the pets you’ll be most likely to take on excursions with you. Southeastern North Carolina, with its numerous public beaches, is a prime location for an interactive adventure with your canine companion.

Before you pack up the pooch and embark on such an excursion, though, there are some dog rules on the NC beaches you’ll need to know. It’s not a Fido free-for-all out there. Each beach has various rules (and hefty fines for those who don’t comply) so people and animals can live in harmony while enjoying fun in the sun. But no matter where you are, keep your dogs off the dunes and be sure to bring plenty of poop bags – and use them – so your furry pal doesn’t leave behind any unwanted surprises.

New Hanover County

Carolina Beach: Leashed dogs are allowed on the municipal beach strand anytime October 1-March 31 and only between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. April 1-September 30. Town Council recently voted on the latter, making its municipal beach strand the only one in New Hanover County to allow dogs during peak tourism months, even with restricted hours.

Freeman Park, however, located off the municipal beach strand on the north end of Pleasure Island, has the following rules: Leashed dogs are allowed year-round during all hours. They may be unleashed and under voice control October 1-March 31 if the owner is within a reasonable distance.

Kure Beach: Leashed dogs are allowed on the municipal beach strand anytime October 1-March 1. They are not allowed at all April 1- September 30.

Fort Fisher State Recreation, however, located off the municipal beach strand on the south end of Pleasure Island, has the following rules: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach year-round during all hours.

Wrightsville Beach: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach anytime October 1-March 1. They are not allowed at all April 1- September 30.

Masonboro Island, however, located across the rock jetty just south of Wrightsville Beach and accessible only by boat, has the following rules: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach year-round during all hours.

Brunswick County

Bald Head Island: Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round during all hours. They must be on a leash from sunset to sunrise during sea turtle nesting season, which is May 1-November 15. They may be unleashed and under voice control at other times.

Caswell Beach: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach year-round during all hours. They may be unleashed and under voice control year-round from dawn until 9 a.m. and additionally October 1-April 30 from 3 p.m. until dark.

Holden Beach: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach anytime September 11-May 19 and only between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. May 20-September 10.

Oak Island: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach year-round during all hours. They may be unleashed and under voice control October 16-March 15 between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. in locations with the rule indicated on beach access signs.

Ocean Isle Beach: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach anytime Labor Day-Memorial Day and only between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. Memorial Day-Labor Day.

Sunset Beach: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach anytime from the day after Labor Day-the Thursday preceding Memorial Day and only between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. from the Friday preceding Memorial Day-Labor Day.

Pender County

Surf City: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach year-round during all hours.

Topsail Beach: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach year-round during all hours. They may be unleashed and under voice control October 1-May 14.

Whether or not you have pets, Intracoastal Realty is here to meet your Wilmington NC real estate needs. We are a full-service real estate brokerage operating since 1976, and we currently have 12 offices with over 400 agents and staff to serve Southeastern North Carolina, including the areas of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Southport, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Leland, Hampstead, and Topsail Island. Let us know how we can make your home or vacation dreams come true!

Wells Fargo Championship Will Showcase Southeastern North Carolina


By Judy Royal

The bustling Wilmington NC real estate market and its impressive array of homes and properties will be on full display when some of the biggest names in golf, their devoted fanbases, and other spectators come to town in seven weeks. The Wells Fargo Championship, to be held May 1-7 at Eagle Point Golf Club in the rapidly growing Porters Neck section of northern New Hanover County, will act as a showcase of our area for thousands of visitors who might be getting their first glimpse at what Wilmington and its surrounding beaches as well as neighboring Pender and Brunswick counties have to offer. Would it really be a surprise if more than a few of them decided to buy their own slice of our paradise? After all, plenty of people fall in love with Southeastern North Carolina while on vacation and later return to spend their real estate dollars here so they can become a more permanent part of the area. It’s a symbiotic relationship, as many of the factors that stimulate tourism also strengthen a destination’s property market and provide a boost to home sales.

Whether you’re ready to buy or sell, or even if you’re just seeking a long-term rental or an NC beach vacation rental, Intracoastal Realty is here to meet your Wilmington NC real estate needs. We are a full-service real estate brokerage operating since 1976, and we currently have 12 offices with over 400 agents and staff to serve Southeastern North Carolina, including the areas of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Southport, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Leland, Hampstead, and Topsail Island.

If you’re already here, you might be thinking about offering your home for rent during the Wells Fargo Championship for the influx of visitors who will be descending upon our area. Intracoastal can help you with that, too. Many of these visitors will be seeking to combine the tournament with a beach vacation and looking for something a little less commercial than a hotel. Don’t go it alone and put yourself and your property at risk; let a professional help you navigate the waters of offering your home as a short-term rental option for those looking to explore and discover our area.

The Wells Fargo Championship, a PGA Tour-sanctioned competition usually held at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, began in 2003 as the Wachovia Championship and has raised more than $19 million since then through Champions for Education, its nonprofit host organization. Last year, the golf tournament in Charlotte drew 185,000 people. The tournament is making a one-year stop in Wilmington for 2017 because Quail Hollow Club is hosting the PGA Championship, one of golf’s four major tournaments, in August and the Charlotte course will need several months of lead time to prepare for it. Although the tournament will return to Charlotte in 2018, the Wilmington area will reap the benefits of the temporary relocation. With up to 30,000 tournament tickets available each day during the four days of competition rounds and a projected economic impact of between $40 million and $60 million for the region, the event is expected to infuse lodging and other service-related industries with a windfall and foster new or enhanced business relationships for area companies. Also, The First Tee of Greater Wilmington will be the primary beneficiary of the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship and its more than $1 million in anticipated charitable giving. Re-established in 2016 as a local chapter, this organization’s goal is to reach 25,000 youth within the community by 2018. With support from the City of Wilmington, a tract of land adjacent to the Wilmington Municipal Golf Course has been allocated for the building of a new program site that will consist of a three-hole practice course, driving net area, and 1,000-square-foot classroom building to create a solid learning environment. The grand opening of the new facility is scheduled for the week of the tournament.

Thursday and Friday of the tournament will be broadcast on the Golf Channel, with third and final round coverage on Saturday and Sunday to be nationally televised on CBS. The tournament is broadcast to one billion households in 225 countries. This will be the first PGA Tour event in the Port City since the Azalea Open was held at Cape Fear Country Club in 1971. That event started in 1949, and winners included Arnold Palmer, Mike Souchak, and Art Wall Jr. Player commitments for this year include Roberto Castro, Derek Ernst, Lucas Glover, Bill Haas, James Hahn, Mackenzie Hughes, Andrew Johnston, Danny Lee, Marc Leishman, Shane Lowry, Ben Martin, William McGirt, Phil Mickelson, Carl Pettersson, Jon Rahm, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Vijay Singh, and Hudson Swafford. Eagle Point is a Tom Fazio-designed course that opened in 2000 and has been ranked among the Golf Digest list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses six straight years.