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.


5 Common Reasons Not to Buy a House (And How You Can Avoid Having Them!)

Today, owning a home isn’t the only mark of a successful adult. Ideals have changed and diversified so that everyone can have his or her own definition of doing well and accomplishing set goals.

But then there are those that actually want to invest in homeownership opportunities, yet find themselves shying away when the topic arises. Why is that?

Realistically, there are many reasons to hold off on buying a house, but if you know you want to own property at some point, there are ways to blow some of those excuses right out of the water before they ever even become an issue.

You’re worried about existing debt.

From student loans, car purchases, credit cards, and more, almost everyone has some kind of debt to his or her name before buying a house even crosses the mind. But that’s ok! Making payments may not be high on your list of fun tasks each month, but doing so will show lenders that you’re responsible enough for a home loan whenever you’re ready to seriously consider buying a house. We would never encourage you to go and max out your credit cards, but you should also know that a manageable amount of debt won’t keep you from moving into your first purchased home.

You have no prior experience in home maintenance.

There’s no time like the present! One of the major differences between owning and renting a home is in the upkeep and repairs. Once you own your house, it’s up to you to keep it in good condition. Not only does it make living in it much more enjoyable, but it can work wonders for you if and when you’re ready to sell your house and find a new one. If you currently rent, try your hand at very small tasks that come up, or challenge yourself to read one home maintenance article (or watch a helpful YouTube video) every week to familiarize yourself with simple DIY repairs.

You’re concerned about the housing market’s fluctuations.

Buying a house isn’t just a major investment; it can be quite a risk, too. There’s no better way to time your readiness to purchase a home with the ups and downs of the housing market besides educating yourself and getting in touch with a seasoned real estate agency early on. Realtors watch the trends as part of their everyday job experience, so familiarizing yourself with common terms and causes for those fluctuations while you work with a professional can prepare you for the process when the time comes.

You have no starting capital.

If owning a home is something you know you’ll want at some point in the future, it’s never too early to start saving! It can be difficult, but even just putting away small amounts each month can really help you reach a comfortable starting point when you’re ready to buy a house. If you haven’t been able to put much away, but still want your chance to enter the real estate game, sit down with a loan officer at your preferred bank and find out what the branch can do for you, and where you might want to start in terms of a down payment.

You’re not sure where your job will take you.

Alright, so there is no catch-all solution to this one! But, we do have some advice that you might find useful. If you’ve chosen a career path that has you constantly on the move or traveling in and out of town, it certainly makes sense not to put down any roots just yet. But if it’s just a matter of being unsure of your career’s trajectory, then owning a house can sometimes be a good way to build your credit for if you do need to move in the future. It also shows commitment to a project, which is never a bad thing to bring up in your job interviews!

Homeownership may not be for everyone, but if it’s something you want to look into, there are fewer roadblocks than you may think! If you’d like to discuss your options, contact Intracoastal Realty today and learn more about our process.


Intracoastal Realty: Leading in Luxury

Intracoastal Realty has long led Southeastern North Carolina in luxury sales.  With more local agents consistently listing and selling properties valued at $1 million or more, and a network that reaches the affluent around the globe, Intracoastal Realty has the reputation and the reach to lead the luxury market.

Our agents have momentum. Their long-term client relationships reflect years of professionalism, judgement, integrity and often friendship. It’s what brings clients back again and again for listing one property, buying another, or helping friends and family do the same. They know our agents’ connections are an immeasurable component of the Intracoastal advantage.

That personal network is magnified by our international network, Luxury Portfolio International. It is here, to luxuryportfolio.com, that affluent buyers from around the world come to see the world’s finest available properties, Intracoastal Realty’s luxury listings among them.  This website alone averages a staggering 3 million high-net-worth visitors annually.

But Luxury Portfolio’s international reach goes well beyond the website, with full page color advertising in the Wall Street Journal, ads on WSJ.com and can’t-miss presence on the top international property search sites in China (juwai.com) and the UK (countrylife.co.uk).

There’s no doubt that Wilmington, its beaches and the greater southeastern North Carolina region are on the map as a desirable destination.  Our network – near and far – assures that those more distant who are considering the region’s waterfront homes, fine estates, historic mansions, or sought-after acreage will find them at Intracoastal Realty.

 


Benefits to Employing a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

Unless you’re an expert in the field, you would normally call a professional to fix any malfunctioning systems in your home, like plumbing or electrical work. Wouldn’t you want the same level of care and expertise when it came time to sell?

Whatever your reasons for wanting to sell your house, it never hurts to seek a professional opinion. After all, this is one of your greatest investments! When you move on to a new adventure, you’ll want an experienced real estate agent to help you close one chapter of your homeownership history and begin the next.

Getting a second opinion

Just like with any other aspect of homeownership and maintaining your property, you want to make sure you always have the most informed person on the case when you’re selling your home. Most often, that means hiring a seasoned real estate agent to give you feedback and to add a professional point-of-view during every major decision you’ll have to make. At the end of the day, you’ll be looking at the sale in terms of what works for you in the moment, but an agent will be able to see the bigger picture because he or she has seen similar situations time and again. With an informed second opinion to supplement your own, the sale of your house should go over as smoothly as possible, with everyone’s best interests at heart.

Using a middle-man 

Let’s face it – not all of us are meant to go head-to-head in a bidding war, or to negotiate with the best. Selling your house doesn’t always look like this, but it can come close! Having a trained real estate agent in your corner can only benefit you in this arena. When you hire the best, you don’t have to shoulder the responsibility of the back-and-forth that sometimes ensues; instead you get to share that task with someone who’s been educated in the best methods of resolving potential conflict.

Accessing insider information

If real estate isn’t your area of expertise, selling your home by yourself can seem daunting. There’s a learning curve involved, and while you’re fielding property questions, buyers’ requests, and legal documents, you can’t always accommodate without missing out on the best deal for you and your house. Luckily, your real estate agent is a wealth of information, and just waiting to answer your questions and lend you a hand! When you have all the insider information at your disposal, it just makes sense to let the real estate agent do what he or she does best, so you can focus on your own to-do list along the way.

Whether you’re ready to begin the selling process, or need a bit longer to consider, the highly qualified Intracoastal Realty team is here to help! Contact us to find out what our real estate agents can do for you.


Intracoastal’s Relocation Expert for Those Who Go The Distance

While any move is technically a “relocation,” Intracoastal’s Relocation Specialist Lisa Bisanar takes special care of those who are moving into the area from other, more distant, markets, or those who are moving away from the Cape Fear region and putting down roots elsewhere.

Together with the relocation team, Lisa manages a client list of some 500 people who are in various stages of relocating.

Job relocations, first time home buyers, vacation homes, retirees and families investing in real estate rather than student housing for UNCW-bound children comprise much of Lisa’s client list. But though there are trends, every client is different.

“Buyers coming to the area with children need help navigating our school districts, recreational opportunities and youth sports leagues,” Lisa explains, adding “Once we were moving a family here with an urgent health diagnosis requiring that we offer insights and recommendations for health care providers.”

Helping locals leave town is also a service of Intracoastal’s relocation team. That’s made easier with Intracoastal’s membership in Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a network that assures connections with top agents anywhere in the United States and abroad. “Our network serves to reassure clients that the service they receive from Intracoastal will be matched in a new and unknown market. It’s a tremendous advantage for the hand-holding that comes with any relocation transaction,” Lisa says. “We can offer an overview of the lifestyle and schools a family enjoys here to help our network agents in another city match our client’s day-to-day in a way that smooths their transition as much as possible.” For global sales, our team coordinates directly with our network of overseas affiliates, accommodating the time difference and currency exchange and anticipating any cultural hiccups.

Among Lisa’s favorite “re-lo” stories? “Years ago, we moved a family here from out west along with their two beloved donkeys, Thelma and Louise. Intracoastal found them a farm with pastures and a barn that happily welcomed them both!”

If you or someone you know is considering a move to or from our region, put them in touch with Lisa. Her insights, her team and Intracoastal’s network of affiliates around the globe will assure an easier transition, regardless of the distance.


Absorption Reports: 3rd Quarter 2018

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 2.5 months of inventory for existing home sales (for comparative purposes, it peaked at 22.6 months in 2009); Brunswick County is at 3.9 months (peaked at 20.0 months in 2009); and Pender County is at 3.7 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


Intracoastal’s Teacher’s Fund: $285,000 in grants…and counting!

Diane Fowler, a well-loved teacher at Codington Elementary, could see that her school’s 100 second graders greeted each day with a wide disparity in their readiness to learn. Some were only at a Kindergarten level, while others performed at grade levels much higher. Getting all students ready to learn together required activities that would stimulate their young brains to explore, create, collaborate and think – regardless of their performance level. So Diane, knowing that directed play would ready her students in a manner that standard morning classwork could not, set out to create Morning Tubs, each filled with items such as LEGOs, letter cubes, dominos and word-cards.

These Morning Tubs, however, came with a price tag and the estimated $200-plus dollars needed to purchase the items left Diane with a good, but unfunded, idea. So, she, like hundreds of teachers throughout the Cape Fear region turned to Intracoastal Realty’s Teacher’s Fund for a grant.

Established in 2005, Intracoastal Realty’s Teacher’s Fund has awarded more than 1400 grants to local public and private kindergarten-through fifth grade teachers, helping them purchase the supplies, teaching aides and books they need. Established as a 501-c-3 non-profit, the Teacher’s Fund fills a critical need in today’s budget-conscious education system and keeps teachers from going out-of-pocket to provide for their classrooms and students.

The fund is generated primarily by donations from Intracoastal agents, along with contributions from community partners.  Since its founding, the Teacher’s Fund has granted more than $285,000 benefiting more than 175,000 students.

Grant distributions are determined by a dedicated group of volunteers comprised of an elementary principal, an elementary teacher, Intracoastal executives and Intracoastal agents who have children in the elementary grades. The group meets monthly to review grant requests submitted by teachers throughout the Cape Fear Region.

In early September, 18 applications were considered with a total of $2570 funded. Some grants, like Diane’s, sought classroom materials, while others requested funding for technology, student supplies, age-appropriate reading materials or science equipment.

Teachers who are interested in applying are invited to fill out and submit this form telling us what supplies are needed and why. No amount is too small. Applications may be submitted from September through May each school year. Requests may also be sent via regular mail to: Intracoastal Realty, c/o Georgette Gaddy, 1902 Eastwood Road, Wilmington, NC 28403. Teachers are welcome to contact Georgette at 910-509-1952 with any questions.

Intracoastal’s Teacher’s Fund is another example of how we invest in our community. As an independent firm, free of franchise fees that leave our local market, Intracoastal Realty invests its revenues in technology, marketing, agent training and community organizations throughout southeastern North Carolina. It’s how we lead and how we assure the Cape Fear Region continues to thrive.


Buying a Home in the Off-season

Summer has long held the reputation for being more popular in terms of buying and selling a home, most often because it’s a more convenient time of year for families to take the time to pack up and move someplace new.

But if you have the means to control when you set out on your next adventure, have you considered buying a home during the off-season? Sure, it means having to settle in at the start of holiday events and in chillier weather, but purchasing a home in the off-season also has quite a few upsides that some home buyers overlook.

Less competition, more opportunities

Along with those purchasing a home, home sellers are often rare on the ground during the off-season. And while that may sound like a reason not to buy a house at this time, think of it this way; you have a shorter list of homes to view, and the sellers know it. So as you peruse the houses on your radar, with more time to really get a feel for the place before you sign on the dotted line, sellers are anxious to make the sale and get to where they need to be. This gives you the chance to initiate beneficial negotiations, with greater chances of being accommodated by the seller and his or her agent.

Market values and bidding

There’s something else to be said for fewer items on the market; when the seller is as limited as you are, he or she is more likely to bend on the resolve to get the same original asking price in your offer. So when it comes to negotiation and knowing the current market values – something your agent will certainly be able to help you with – you’ll be at an advantage to make a sale that’s fair to both you and the seller of the house you want to buy. Before you start looking at homes, sit down with your agent to get a decent idea of what you can expect in your new town, and then come up with a plan to use the season and the market to everyone’s benefit.

Getting to know the neighbors

When you move somewhere new over the summer, it’s not just the season for real estate; it’s also the prime time for taking a vacation! This means that while you settle into your home, it can be difficult to get your bearings in the neighborhood, as there is a constant fluctuation in who is home and who is abroad. But when you move in during the holiday season, you’re able to quickly learn who decorates as soon as possible, who likes to host the annual party, and so on. You and your neighbors will be thick as thieves in no time!

Purchasing a new house and picking up to move can be a stressful process, but sometimes it pays to wait for the right moment! With the help of experienced agencies like Intracoastal Realty, you can ease the way for you and your family to make yourselves right at home that much sooner. Contact us to get started!


Intracoastal Realty Addressing Need for Affordable Housing

As the losses from Hurricane Florence continue to grow, the need for affordable housing grows even more.

Prior to the storm, local government, non-profit and economic development interests all agreed the need for affordable and workforce housing far exceeded supply.  But now, post Hurricane Florence, what was once urgent is nearing a crisis.

Intracoastal agent Jeff Hovis has proven to be something of a problem solver on the affordable housing front.  For nine years, Jeff served as a commissioner for the Wilmington Housing Authority; before that, he was in DC working for the National Corporation for Housing Partnerships, a company that owned about 100,000 affordable housing units across the country. This history endows Jeff with a detailed understanding of HUD and other housing subsidy programs.

Jeff has found a number of buyers who are looking for reliable income streams and finding it in the affordable markets.  As he says, “There is steady income in affordable housing, because there is steady need.”

Jeff recently closed one of the largest real estate transactions in a decade, with a single contract of $6.3 million for 83 homes. It was no easy task:  negotiating the existing leases, navigating the appraisals and inspections for each property, and keeping the buyer, renters, and financial partners moving in synch.  But Jeff’s keen understanding brought HUD and the Wilmington Housing Authority to the table adding value to buyer, renter and banker alike.

In talking to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, buyer Tom Cruz of TJ Real Estate Holdings LLC, said, “I think affordable housing will be best solved with private investment into the area combined with public partnerships.”  And, he reassures buyers considering this approach, “The Wilmington Housing Authority does an amazing job of providing landlords with guaranteed direct deposit payments, a list of pre-screened (criminal checks) tenants that are ready to move in, and resources if (owners) have any issues.”

Jeff sees a larger benefit to the community. “While providing affordable and workforce housing, these deals also help stabilize a neighborhood. This isn’t about buyers knocking down existing homes to build a higher-priced property,” Hovis said.

If you’re interested in learning more about investing in affordable and workforce housing, contact Jeff directly at 910-512-2205 or jhovis@intracoastalrealty.com.