Fall Back in Love with Your Home

Almost all relationships eventually get lulled into a rut, where those involved have to come up with new and creative ways to appreciate one another – so why should it be any different with your beloved home?

At Intracoastal Realty, we understand that sometimes you want a change of scenery. But if moving to a new house isn’t in the cards, then it might be time for a few new projects to renew your love for your house. It’s an ongoing process, and you’ll have to work at it, but we promise the time and attention you put into the place will be worth it.

Find a fresh perspective

Have you ever been told that perhaps you just need to look at things in a new light? We’ve found that when it comes to finding new things to love about your current home, sometimes that’s all it takes. Introduce a fresh perspective when you add a lamp to your living room, swap overhead lighting in your bedroom for a softer touch, or even take the time to install outdoor lights so you can spend more time in the backyard when weather permits. The more you can see and enjoy in your home, the more likely you are to think of it fondly.

Change the tone

If you feel as though your house isn’t giving you the right vibes, changing up the look and feel of some of its rooms with a new coat of paint can go a long way in setting a better tone. Take an afternoon and walk through your home to help you weigh the pros and cons of color choices in some spaces you’d like to say something different than what they are now. The thought behind colors can say a lot; do you want a bolder shade like red or yellow in the kitchen to motivate you to cook at home more often? Maybe you want to take advantage of that tub in your master bath, so you need a nice soothing color like blue or green to help reel you in. After you’ve visualized your new hues, you can set aside a day to tackle the task of painting, then sit back and wait for it to dry. In no time at all, you’ll have the perfect excuse to rearrange some furniture, too!

Clear the air

Who says spring is the only prime time for a deep clean? Sometimes, all you need to fall back in love with your home is to clear out the cobwebs and do a little reorganizing. When our spaces follow a logical order, and we’re not surrounded by clutter, we tend to feel less stressed and more motivated to stay on task and get things done. So if you find yourself getting exasperated often, or feeling unimpressed with where you live, the key may be to show it a little love. Donate the things you never use anymore, take on those home improvement projects you’ve been meaning to get to, and give all your belongings their proper places. We think that by the time you’re done, you’ll have unearthed a newfound appreciation for your house and all its little quirks.

If you’re ready to reconnect with your home’s best features, there’s never a better time to get started! And our expert staff keeps our blog up to date with plenty of home maintenance tips, real estate news, and great local information if you live close by, or plant to move to the area anytime soon. Check it out if you need a little inspiration to fall back in love with your home.


Absorption Reports: 4th Quarter 2019

Absorption rate, also referred to as “inventory levels” or “months of supply”, gives you an idea of the number of months it will take for the current inventory to be sold out based on the last 12 months of sales.

Housing prices stabilize when supply and demand come closer together. Generally speaking, 5-6 months of supply is “normal”. Less than 5 months of supply will result in APPRECIATING home prices (Seller’s Market), while 7 months or more of supply will result in DEPRECIATING home prices (Buyer’s Market).  Each of the counties in our area are at their lowest inventory levels since 2005.  New Hanover County is showing a total of 1.9 months of inventory for existing home sales (for comparative purposes, it peaked at 22.6 months in 2009); Brunswick County is at 4.3 months (peaked at 20.0 months in 2009); and Pender County is at 2.9 months (peaked at 22.1 months in 2009).  As you can see from the three county charts below, inventory levels vary by price segment.  Take a look at the absorption reports for a better idea of where your house stands in the market, and contact an Intracoastal Realty agent to learn about the supply and demand for your specific neighborhood.

New Hanover County


Brunswick County


Pender County


Important Crawl Space Factors that can Affect the Health of your Home

Guest Blog Contributor: Crawlspace Medic

How did hurricane Florence affect your crawl space? Here’s what to look out for in your crawl space…

Even though Hurricane Florence passed through our area several months ago, many homeowners are still feeling its lingering effects without knowing it. We are Crawlspace Medic, experts when it comes to the area underneath your home. We exist because 60% of the air you breathe in your home comes from your crawl space. Here are 7 important factors we inspect for daily that can affect the health of your home.

High Wood Moisture Content

Wood moisture content is one way for you to know if there is an issue with the structural components of your home. Wood moisture content is the percentage of water in the wood framing supporting your house. Proper wood moisture content should be 5%-15%. Anything outside of this range can potentially cause issues, sometimes major. Once your moisture reading reaches over 15% it is likely you have fungus, mold, or mildew. When the moisture readings get to 20% or higher, you can almost guarantee fungus or mold is forming in your crawl space. You can get a wood moisture reader from your local home improvement store for around $50 or call your local crawl space repair company.

Signs of Fungus and Mold

Fungus and mold are easy to spot even though they come in all different shapes and sizes. Fungus and mold grow on the wood under your home slowly eating away at the structure of the wood. They can often look like black spots, white spots, or discoloration of the wood. Two of the major things that cause a large amount of the structural repairs we perform are wood rot and wood decay, both created by fungus. The only consistent solution to fungus and mold is to fix the problem of high moisture with a crawl space dehumidifier.

“Streaming” Insulation

Streaming insulation is exactly what it sounds like, long strips of insulation falling from the space between your floor joists. Streaming insulation can happen in several different ways: animals, moisture accumulation, or simply age. If left untreated, insulation will often fall to the floor of your crawl space, rot from excess moisture, and leave you no choice but to replace it. If you have noticed your heating and cooling bills are a bit higher than usual, you may want to call a professional to check your insulation.

Musty Smell

Often we like to tell people to trust their nose. If your crawl space smells stale, rotten, musty, or damp, you likely have a problem. Several things can put off a strong smell; standing water, mold and fungus, dead animals, or even a broken pipe. It can often be hard to locate the source of the scent, so we always recommend calling your local crawl space professional.

Weak and Damaged Wood

Weak and damaged wood is something you have to get under your house and actually check for. You can visually inspect the structural timber for discoloration and cracks, but the absolute best process checking for wood rot is to poke a piece of wood with a screwdriver. If it sounds hollow or the screwdriver can punch a hole you likely have a problem. Structural problems can often be hard to diagnose. If you think you have a problem, we highly recommend talking with a crawl space professional.

Water in Ductwork

During the recent hurricane and also in times of heavy rain, you may get flooding in your crawl space. If your ductwork hangs low, then it is very likely you have water in your duct lines. You need to physically check all lines for water. Water in lines will make them heavy, and you may even be able to hear it sloshing. If left unattended, water in your ductwork will cause rot and mold. You could unknowingly be releasing fungus and mold into your house every time you use your heat or AC.

Standing Water

Standing water in a crawl space is often a sign that there is a bigger problem, usually: flooding, improper grading, plumbing leak, high water table, or water intrusion from a foundation wall. Many of these can be solved with some version of a drain system, but leaving standing water is never a good idea. Standing water will raise the humidity level in your crawl space, leading to higher wood moisture content and many other things that can harm your home’s health. When you see an area under or near your house with standing water, call a professional to explore the best way to remove the standing water.

We see all of these problems on an almost daily basis, and we understand it can be scary and confusing to find the right solution. That being said, if you see the start of a problem, please reach out to a professional who can offer a proper solution and ensure you have a healthy crawl space and home. In almost every case, prevention (in the form of early treatment) is more cost-effective than repairing a problem that has been ignored. Please feel free to call us any time with questions or to schedule a checkup.

Crawlspace Medic – (910) 726-9424 – Crawlspacemedic.com – Licensed Contractors

 

Disclaimer: The content, views, and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and are to be used for informational purposes only.  Intracoastal Realty makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information in this blog. 


Moving with Pets

Moving day has arrived! If you’ve played your cards right, you’re all set. The truck is here, all of your boxes are packed and ready to go, and you’ve done a once-over to make sure you didn’t forget to do anything else on your to-do list before you leave.

While we know this day can be full of stress as well as excitement for you and the human members of your family, your furry friend is probably feeling just as amped up by all of the activity disrupting his or her home. To make sure that everyone in the household is able to relocate from one house to the next with ease, we’ve put together a few of our best tips for moving with pets. With any luck, they’ll help you all make it to your new adventure without incident!

Consult the experts

Have a chat with your current vet prior to moving day for a few pointers from an expert. Most vets will be able to tell you all about possible complications pets can experience with the stress of moving, relaxation methods you can employ to keep your four-legged friend calm throughout the process, and even acclimation techniques for after you’ve arrived. When you have all the information, you can better prepare for a smoother transition for every member of your family.

Put together an overnight kit

As you pack up the house, single out the items you’re more likely to need for your pet and put them all together in an easily accessed kit. Ensure that everyone in the house knows about this care package of sorts, and store it somewhere you won’t forget or that would be hard to reach in case of an emergency. This pack might include any medications your pet is on, treats, favorite toys, a blanket, and anything else that you could need to be able to retrieve at a moment’s notice.

Prepare a safe zone

During the process of packing the car or truck, and then again when it’s time to unpack, keep your pet in a quiet, safe location out of the fray. Not only will this make it easier on you to get things done, knowing where your pet is and that he or she won’t be roaming about, but doing so means that your favorite companion is out of harm’s way. In the chaos of rearranging furniture and carrying heavy boxes into your new home, pets who are underfoot can get stepped on or otherwise injured accidentally. And if you have a pet that is strictly indoors, you can eliminate the risk of letting him or her outside during all of the trips in and out.

Moving day doesn’t have to be quite as stressful where your pets are concerned! And with a reliable real estate agency on your side, you have representatives who are willing to streamline the paperwork and other processes so you can focus on the finer details – like remembering where you packed your playful puppy’s second favorite ball.


Staying Ahead of the (Learning) Curve at Intracoastal Realty

“Happy New Year,” with its focus on personal resolutions, often translates to “Happy New You.” Among the top annual resolutions, according to multiple surveys, is “learn a new skill.”

At Intracoastal Realty, our training team makes this a continued focus, inspiring agents, both new and experienced, with opportunities to keep skills fresh, up-to-date and ready for what lies ahead.

Stephanie Fessel, Intracoastal Realty’s director of learning and development, leads all aspects of the company’s training for new agents supporting their efficiency, sustained productivity and use of technology platforms. A former real estate agent herself, Stephanie brings 16 years of real estate training to Intracoastal Realty’s team, blending live and online classrooms, webinars and one-on-one coaching, and facilitating opportunities for collaborative learning and teamwork.

So, what’s on Stephanie’s 2019 Syllabus? A look ahead includes these topics:

• How to build and manage your database
• How to communicate with your sphere of influence
• How to prospect For Sale By Owners and Expired Listings
• How to do Geographical Farming
• How to conduct an effective Open House
• Social Media Best Practices and Strategies
• Enhancing Your Realtor Profiles online
• Generating Testimonials
• Business Planning
• Newly-designed Listing Presentation
• 10 Step Buyer Process
• 10 Step Listing Process

Stephanie is also offering newly revamped New Agent and Veteran Agent sales skills training programs.

“I’m delighted to be part of Intracoastal which is well known for its investment in professional development and continued agent training,” says Stephanie. “The company provides the administrative staff, marketing, technology and everything an agent needs to be successful in the real estate business.”

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to broaden your real estate skills, then consider joining a team that supports that personal growth.  Contact us to learn more about working with Intracoastal Realty.


Key Steps to Buying a Home in North Carolina

As one of the most important decisions you can make, buying a home requires you to cover all your bases before you’ll be handed the keys.

It may seem daunting, but with the right professional by your side, the home buying process itself is a simple checklist. In no time at all, you’ll find yourself the proud owner of your very own house! North Carolina’s home buying procedure is fairly straightforward, but every set of circumstances is different. Here at Intracoastal Realty, our agents walk with you every step of the way to make sure you wind up with the ideal home for you and your family.

Contact your realtor

Your real estate agent is key to successfully navigating the home buying process. This is the professional who will help you complete the right paperwork, find and view homes, and eventually negotiate your terms. So when you know that you want to buy a home, whether it’s your first or your fifth, you’ll want to make sure you have reliable support.

Map out your priorities

Even if you haven’t planned out exactly what kind of house you want to live in, there are certain structural or design aspects you know you need or want. To better assist your real estate agent during the search, take the time to articulate what you’re looking for and what features you would most want to have in your home.

Get preapproval

Mortgage preapproval is a key component to the house buying process because no matter what you end up purchasing, you’re going to need to have the financial backing to do so. And once you do, you make yourself a strong candidate for the seller to consider in the event of a bidding war on a house.

House hunt

This is one of the more stressful, yet fun sides to buying a house! Looking through all of your options can feel overwhelming, but using your real estate agent’s knowledge at this point in the process can help you narrow down the available properties to the ones that you’ll be able to picture yourself living in one day.

Look at the facts

Some of the best assets we have as real estate experts are the MLS system and our own market research. And when it comes to your future home, we use those resources to make sure you know as much about the house you want to buy before we present you with any paperwork. As you’re house hunting, check in with your real estate agent and review these statistics so that you’re well acquainted with your potential purchase.

Make an offer

Here comes the fun part: making an offer on the house you want to buy! After making the initial offer to the seller, you and your agent can work together to negotiate any further terms or amendments to the price you’re willing to pay on the home. You can even speak with your agent beforehand and get a general idea of what sorts of compromises you might be presented with during this phase of the home buying process.

Negotiate

If negotiation isn’t your strength, a quality real estate agent will have you covered. Here at Intracoastal Realty, our agents take the guesswork out of navigating this step by acting as your liaison and using years of valuable experience to help you settle on terms that agree with everyone involved.

Check off your to-dos

There are plenty of tasks for you to accomplish before the sale of a home is completed, so be sure to keep a diligent record of inspections, payments, and any other necessary reviews of the property before closing day. That way, by the time you’re ready to sign paperwork, you’ll be able to enjoy the moment without anything else hanging over your head.

Get approved

If you were preapproved for a mortgage earlier in the process, then this part is simple! As soon as you have the finances to complete the purchase of your next home, it’s just a matter of setting a closing date with the seller and your agents.

Invest in insurance

Title insurance can help save you time and money on the off-chance that the previous owner overlooked some clerical error or mistake in the title for your new home. We always recommend home buyers invest in title insurance to help cover any potential legal expenses and keep the buying process moving along on schedule.

Inspection

Pre-closing inspection is the last chance to express an opinion about what stays or goes in your house when the current owners vacate it to make room for you and your family. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for damages or any defects that went unnoticed on your first viewing, or that might have been sustained during the move-out process. If you included any repairs or modifications in your terms, be sure to get a status report on those at this time, too.

Close the deal

And you’re done! All that’s left at this point in the home buying process is to sign on the dotted line and make the house you just bought a real home for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.

Ready to find your dream home in coastal North Carolina? Our talented, dedicated real estate agents look forward to working with you! Contact us to get started.


Planning Renovations in the New Year

When 2019 rolls around in a few days, tons of us will be putting our resolutions into action, and hopefully sticking with them throughout the year! Have you thought of what you want to accomplish?

Here at Intracoastal Realty, we make it part of our business to see your dreams come to a reality by helping you find and buy your ideal home, or sell the one you have so you and your family can move on to better and brighter opportunities. But what if your goal isn’t to move, but to refurbish your current house so that it becomes the home you’ve always wanted? This usually means that it’s time to start planning your renovations and home improvement projects, and whether you plan to do them yourself or to hire a professional, it’s going to take some planning for everything to turn out just the way you want it.

What are we doing?

Renovations, minor or otherwise, can take a lot of time and resources, so it’s key to first focus on what exactly it is that you want to have done to your house. Maybe you’ve got a fence that badly needs replacing, or perhaps you’ve always wanted a spectacular garden tub in your master bath. No matter the project, it’s best to sit down and figure out at least the main aspects of what needs to be done, what rooms will be involved, who you’ll need to call, and who or what will be affected by any inconveniences that will arise from the construction period.

What do we have?

The next most important aspects of a home renovation project are going to be in the details. What kind of budget are you prepared to set aside for the venture? If you don’t think you’ll have enough at present, you may need to break out the calendar and decide when you could comfortably put up the financial resources you need to get the work done. In that plan, go ahead and have a few places bookmarked in case this particular project takes you out of the house for a few days for safety or comfort concerns and how long those arrangements will be feasible if they do come up.

When is this going to happen? 

As is always the case with a major home improvement project, timing is everything. If it involves the outdoors or a sensitive system in the house, you may need to plan out the project due to environmental and weather concerns. Or, personal factors like a school schedule for the kids may come into play and affect when this renovation will be doable. So while you plan your budget and the parameters of the construction involved, be sure to keep an eye on dates and have a general idea for when you’d like to cross things off your to-do list, all while allowing a little wiggle room for any unexpected setbacks.

If you’re ready to take a step forward in your home improvement plans this year, make sure you’re off to a solid start! And if you decide instead that 2019 is the year you move someplace new, contact Intracoastal Realty for your buying or selling needs.


Intracoastal’s Impact in 2018: A Year for Community Connections

At this time of year, businesses often look back over the past twelve months with a critical lens to measure “what has been accomplished.” For Intracoastal Realty, we also consider where we have made a meaningful impact through community engagement and connections.

In 2018, this reflection calls to mind the number of organizations, programs, fundraisers, and issues that Intracoastal has supported through volunteerism and donations, cash and in-kind alike. Importantly, our generosity reflects our independence, for without franchise fees going to out-of-state corporate entities, our revenues stay local, doing good work and supporting those in need here.

Over the past year or so, over 100 organizations benefitted from Intracoastal Realty’s efforts. Our contributions supported education, medical, and social services.  Our agents and staff volunteered with non-profit organizations nearly every day, as board members, event volunteers, and informed advocates.

As a company, our management team and agents also support elementary and higher education with grants to teachers and scholarships for students, respectively.  Our Teachers Fund donated $24,430 to elementary educators in New Hanover, Brunswick, Onslow, and Pender counties last year alone.  Since its founding by CEO Jim Wallace in 2005, the Teacher’s Fund has granted more than $285,000 benefiting more than 175,000 students.

UNCW, Cape Fear Community College, and Brunswick Community College foundations received $18,500 in scholarships for students during the 2018/19 academic year. And this, too, is an annual gift; our company has provided scholarships to students of higher education for the past 25 years.

We are grateful for the opportunity to give back. But that opportunity is a reflection of our agents’ responsiveness and delight in serving others – and in the continued service our clients allow us to deliver every day.

Happy holidays to all.  And thank you for making 2018 a year well worthy of reflection.


Is a Career in Real Estate Right for You?

With the new year approaching, it’s the best time to be thinking of resolutions and goals you may have and how you can tackle them in the months to come. If one of those aspirations just so happens to be a jumpstart to your professional life, why not consider a career in real estate?

Since 1976, Intracoastal Realty has served southeastern North Carolina and helped its newest residents find their place in our coastal community. As such, our agents are some of the best in the region, and make it their mission to go above and beyond in every sale so that everyone – buyer or seller – walks away happy and ready for the next chapter. Are you ready for such an important job? Check out a few of the qualities we think every stellar real estate agent should have!

Independent and Motivated

To be a successful real estate agent, you’re going to need an independent mindset. Not only will you be setting your own schedule for the most part, but often it’ll be your job to track down the types of homes that your buyers want to view, catch up on the latest market trends, and even your salary. The more you sell, and the better you are at working with your clients, the more you’ll earn. Basically, you have a lot of the same benefits as being your own boss, but you get to work with an agency that can lend you some credibility and a ready network of colleagues to consult with when needed.

Flexible and Forward-thinking

When you’re working with individuals looking to buy or sell a home, you’ll find yourself rearranging schedules and finding innovative ways to make things come together on a timeline that fits everyone’s schedule. To pull all of this off, it’s going to take some quick thinking and flexibility on your part! But for some, these qualities come easily, so if this sounds like you then it might be time to consider your potential in real estate sales.

Sociable

One of the more obvious qualities of a real estate agent is that he or she is social by nature, so if striking up conversations with people you don’t know very well isn’t one of your strengths, it may be time to peruse your other options. But if you’re fearless in a crowd, eager to help someone out, and always prepared with a conversation starter, then you’re probably real estate agent material! Now’s the time to think about putting those skills to use to help others find their ideal new homes.

Love Where You Live

Finally, we feel it’s pretty important for every real estate agent to already love the location in which he or she will mainly work. After all, your job will be to sell not just the house, but the neighborhood, the local culture, and the eventual memories that your clients will have in their new homes. Even if a move to a new place is out of necessity, it’s important that new residents feel a connection and can ingratiate themselves in the area from the very beginning, and that’s where you come in! As a real estate agent and a friendly local, you can fill them in on everything they need to know to get started building a happy, thriving life in the house that you help them buy.

2019 is headed our way, and if you’re ready to dive into a new career then it may just be your biggest year yet! Stay tuned to our website for professional opportunities and trends in the real estate game here in southeastern North Carolina, and you’ll be ready to dive right into a fresh, rewarding opportunity.


Intracoastal Realty Expands Surf City Office

New Topsail Island Bridge
Image courtesy NCDOT

With the new Surf City bridge now open, additional traffic and, with it, growing buyer interest in the Topsail/Surf City region is sure to follow.

Anticipating that growth, Intracoastal Realty has doubled the size of its Surf City office and moved to Triton Lane, putting us directly on the path to the new bridge.

“You can’t miss us,” says Sandy Ledbetter, a resident and realtor on the island for 30 years, who will continue as Intracoastal Realty’s broker-in-charge.  The office has another five agents, all focused full-time on the region’s real estate market.

The Surf City/Topsail Island has long drawn families from other parts of the state who are seeking vacation or retirement property.  Folks from Wallace, Clinton, Warsaw and other Eastern North Carolina towns are eager to recreate childhood memories of vacationing on Topsail Beach. Buyer trends also show growing interest from the Triangle, particularly among those who moved from the mid-Atlantic region and find the prices at Topsail comparatively affordable to the cost of homes on Maryland, New York and New Jersey shores.

Buyers aren’t the only ones showing interest in the Island.  Developers have increased their activity exponentially.  According to the MLS, in 2017, there was $67M in new construction; in 2018 that figure jumped to $92M.  In April, the first phase of Waterside at Surf City, a development of 4 acres of commercial property and more than 3,200 residential units, including a neighborhood for active adults, was unanimously approved by the Surf City Town Council.  Infrastructure there is underway.

Local government, too, is improving infrastructure to accommodate what everyone sees as continued growth. Surf City Elementary and Middle Schools opened in time for the 2018/19 school year. And with forward-looking annexation completed a decade ago to better accommodate commercial development, the island has welcomed Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Publix, Lowes and CVS in recent years.

“Gone are the days that Topsail Beach posted a ‘Closed for the Winter’ sign,” recalls Sandy.  “Those were the days when you had to drive for a decent cell signal and the only grocery store was an IGA.”

Yes, those days are behind us.  But, today’s market value is hard to find elsewhere on the east coast.  Single family homes can be purchased in the $300K range, with one-bedroom condo’s available under $100 thousand.  “And, that still delivers waterfront,” says Sandy, adding, “When you’re on an island, every home, just about, has a good water view!”

If you’re interested in knowing more about Surf City, Topsail and North Topsail properties, call the Intracoastal office, 910-328-3000.  Chances are what you see there today will be the root of “I remember when….” memories decades from now.