5 Healthy Home Habits to Start in the New Year

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, you may be wondering how you can change up your life for the better in 2018. Here at Intracoastal Realty, we’ve been pondering similar things;some people make goals to exercise more or lose weight, while still others want a more balanced budget. We decided to share a few healthy home habits you can try breaking in, all of which are simple and not very time-consuming, so they’re easily added into your daily routine.

Clean handles

You wouldn’t believe how many germs live on your door handles, but think about it: when was the last time you cleaned them? And how often do people reach for the doorknob without a single thought as to where their hands have been? You don’t have to get obsessive about it, but giving them the occasional swipe of a disinfecting cloth can go a long way towards spreading fewer germs throughout the household. 

Clean the kitchen sink

When the dishes are done, the last thing you want is to stand around at the sink any longer. But a swift rinse-out can help keep your kitchen looking and feeling cleaner, not to mention prevent any stray bits of food from clinging to the sides or just inside the drain.

Put away clean clothes

It might seem trivial, but when you take the trouble to fold and put away your laundry once it’s clean and dry, you’re taking a step towards optimal organization. Clean clothes that are left out can be considered clutter, just as much as piles of dirty laundry you’ve yet to throw in the washer, so by putting them away you’re making your space a bit tidier (and easier to navigate!).

Tackle that catch-all closet

Everybody has one: the closet or drawer that gets chosen to house all of the random objects that otherwise wouldn’t have a home, but can’t be thrown away, either. And if you absolutely cannot get rid of anything contained in that space, get to organizing it! Even if it is still packed to the gills, at least you’ll be able to locate that stack of printer paper or your hiking backpack whenever the need arises.

Clean… your phone screen?

That’s right, we said it. Phone screens end up with tons of germs at the end of the day, just like those doorknobs we mentioned earlier. Make sure to regularly wipe yours off to help slow down the spread of any transferable particles, especially before making a phone call!

With these and other simple tricks, you’ll be well on your way to making 2018 a better year for yourself and those in your home. For more tips throughout the year on decorating and maintenance for your house or community events, keep in tune with our blog. And if you want to make the North Carolina coast your new home, contact us to get started!   

Holiday Hospitality

Whether this is your twentieth year in a row hosting the holidays at your home or the first, the preparations for both the meal and potential guests can become overwhelming. The shopping lists are endless, and everyone has a preference that butts heads with someone else’s. But, it doesn’t have to be a hassle just to enjoy the holiday with your family and friends. Here at Intracoastal Realty, we’ve learned a few tips over the seasons that will help get you on the right track to achieving host-of-the-year status.


Roll out the welcome mat.

We actually don’t mean that literally – in this instance, what we do want to stress is how important it is for you to welcome changes in plans, unforeseen hiccups, and innocent accidents that throw your best intentions off the rails from time to time. If you walk into the holiday festivities and accept that sometimes you’ll have to roll with the punches, everyone else in your home is bound to be more at ease throughout their stay.

Be prepared. 

A great way to avoid holiday stress is to do as many things ahead of time as you can. Not only will the nitty-gritty tasks like cleaning and food prep be out of the way, but you’ll be able to enjoy more time with your guests when they do arrive. They’re here to celebrate the holidays with you, after all, not stand by while you rush around to get everything done! Items on your to-do list that can easily be checked off in advance include: laundry, general tidying around your home, chopping vegetables, and even starting sauces and seasonings for your table spread.

Make a list.

It’s a question we hear for every dinner party or holiday get-together: what can I bring? If you have multiple guests coming to visit, it’s easy to lose track of who signed up for what, or if anyone volunteered to bring a particular item. As the weeks lead up to the big meal, make yourself a basic checklist that you can find quickly if needed and jot down the guest and whatever they’ve offered to contribute. This way, when someone else asks, you know just what you already have plenty of, and what dishes or accents would perfectly top off the feast.

Hopefully these suggestions help ease you into the holiday weekend of hosting! No matter the size of your dinner table or the number of people you’ll have in your home, the team here at Intracoastal Realty wishes you a happy holiday season.

Spreading the Feeling of Thanksgiving Along the Coast

Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday introduces a time of reflection and gratitude, as well as charitable goodwill. Here on the North Carolina coast, there are tons of ways for community members to express their thanks and to spread holiday cheer. If you’re already a resident, or think you might want to be, here are some fun ways you can get out with family and friends while contributing to the seasonal spirit.

Living Shoreline Monitoring at Carolina Beach
Nov. 17
Carolina Beach

Thanks to the milder fall weather here, environmental events and volunteering can continue well into November. This means that the locals can extend a feeling of gratitude to the beautiful beaches and natural areas, including Carolina Beach State Park. Volunteers and federation staff will be doing just that as they take on salt marsh and reef restoration projects to better improve water quality, decrease erosion, and fortify natural habitats. But don’t let that deter you – no special skills are required. Just bring clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, closed-toe shoes, and a willing attitude. Lunch and refreshments will be provided, and anyone 12 and older is welcome to participate. The one hard and fast rule? No single-use plastic bottles.

Stay Forever Young – Dancing Through the Decades Gala
Nov. 18

Family Promise of the Lower Cape Fear presents an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing at Cape Fear Community College Union Station. All proceeds from the event and hosted auctions will go toward the families in Family Promise’s housing and shelter programs. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. and last until approximately 11:30 p.m. Ticket prices start at $125 and increase with levels of pop culture-inspired sponsorship, or you can submit a donation by visiting this site.

These aren’t the only ways to pitch in for your community and local charitable foundations, of course. But no matter what you choose to do this holiday season or even after, Intracoastal Realty is a regional resource you can trust. If you have questions about a certain area or neighborhood, contact us and see if we can help you find a home and community for which you can be thankful!

5 Things That Pull Down the Value of Your Home (That You Can Fix!)

If you’re trying to prepare your home to sell, then you probably already know that maximizing your home’s value is really the best way for you to get the most out of your home, monetarily speaking. While there’s not always a whole lot you can do about the the highway they laid down behind your neighborhood a few years ago or the power lines that seem to have accumulated since you first moved in, there are still things that you can do to preserve your home’s value, if not increase it.

1. Swimming Pools & Elaborate Landscaping

There are several factors that determine whether or not having a swimming pool will actually be a good or bad investment in terms of the value of your home. If you’re in a locale that supports having a swimming pool with sweltering, long summers — like we are! — then a pool in and of itself isn’t a bad idea. However, if your pool isn’t well maintained or if it bogarts all the space in your backyard, it might end up hurting more than helping. Keep in mind too that, for any potential buyers will small children or dogs, a pool might be a big negative for safety reasons. Does your pool have a safety fence or cover? If you’re going to have a pool, it’s important that it’s safe and clean. Buyers might also be turned off by the idea of having to care for a pool, as the maintenance is normally quite costly and labor intensive.

There’s a similar mentality for landscaping when it comes to maintenance. A highly customized and unique yard, laden with hard-to-care-for plants or requiring constant trimming to manage its aesthetics might actually act a deterrent for buyers, as opposed to an attraction. When tending to your yard, keep in mind that most buyers will probably care more about whether or not your yard has a healthy lawn (which is a prized asset here on the coast) than anything else, as well as the health of trees close to the house that could cause damage if they drop a heavy branch.

2. Poor Maintenance

Think of regular maintenance on your home as a requirement, because it essentially is if you want to protect the value of your home over time. When it comes time for your potential buyer to have their home inspection done on your home, all the little things that you’ve put off will add up, if they didn’t snowball into a couple of big problems, which will wind up costing you a lot more when you’re scrambling to close the sale on your house than they would have if you had just taken care of them when you actually had the time to research contractors and find the best rates. Poor maintenance can be a major contributor to decreased value of your home. Keep up with your home’s maintenance from the get-go with these helpful tips!

3. Overly Customized Kitchen/Bathroom Remodels

Upgraded kitchens and bathrooms can be a healthy boost to your home’s value, but not if they’re over the top or extremely personalized to your very specific taste. As we covered before with the swimming pools and landscaping, not all upgrades are instantly beneficial to your home’s value. You want to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible, and ornate faucets, “statement” sinks and professional-grade kitchen appliances might prove an obstacle to that. On the other hand, new appliances in the kitchen won’t improve your home’s value as much if the kitchen still has original linoleum floors, for instance, and your home doesn’t have a consistent feel to it.

4. Lackluster Curb Appeal

Just like having overly elaborate landscaping might act as a hindrance to buyers, so will a yard that looks barren and neglected. Admittedly, it can be fairly difficult to cultivate a lush, green lawn with the sandy soil and immense pine needles that we have to contend with, however, it’s not entirely impossible, and there are other ways to compensate for it. If you’re trying to raise your own luscious lawn, you’ll have to do a little research based on your soil type and the amount of sun/shade your lawn receives. Typically, in these parts, residents rely on several different strains of grass, typically bermuda, fescue or even ryegrass, among others.

If your yard is past the point of being salvageable, or, if you’re looking for a quick fix, potted plants are the way to go. You can also do your best to make sure that the actual exterior of your home is looking spiffy by renting or hiring pressure washing services to make sure that siding/shingles, fences, driveways and decks are clean and looking like new!

5. Bright Paint

Whether it’s on the interior or the exterior of your home, very bright and bold paint can be a turnoff for potential buyers. No matter how much you love your adventurous color palette, it can distract buyers from being able to actually picture themselves in your home, or the idea of having to repaint an entire house inside and out can deter buyers who are looking for a move-in ready home. Not sure where to start? Check out this neutral paints guide for ideas!

You can’t control everything when it comes to preserving or improving the value of your home, but there is still plenty that you can do! Need some help preparing your home to sell or looking for an agent? Give us a call at 1-800-533-1840 or email us at info@intracoastalrealty.com.

Why You Should Always Hire a Buyer’s Agent

Buying a house can be a lengthy and somewhat arduous process no matter how many times you’ve done it. There’s always going to be a decent amount of time spent researching, filling out paperwork, scheduling viewings, etc. However, having a buyer’s agent by your side can greatly ease the process! Before you hire one though, here are some things to consider beforehand.

Research your agent first

Buyer’s agents are there to represent your interests and should act as your ally throughout the entire buying process, however, just like with any other professional service, you should do your research first. Some agents will always be better than others based on their experience, communication skills, market knowledge and overall professionalism.

When looking for an agent, focus your search on realty companies, as opposed to just searching for individual agents. There’s not a very consistent way to actually “rate” agents online, so you’re not always likely to get a very accurate picture of an agent’s aptitude. However, if a realty agency or corporation has good reviews, that bodes well for their agents. Look on Google, Yelp, Zillow, Realtor.com, etc. for reviews, or, even better, ask around to see if any friends or family had positive experiences with certain agents or companies.

When you meet with your agent, make sure to ask them a couple of questions first to ensure that they’re knowledgeable and are going to be available when you need them. Have they lived in the area for long? How long have they been an agent? How many homes have they helped clients purchase in the past year? Do they have recommendations for mortgage brokers? Are they available via text, email and phone? Are they an exclusive buyer’s agent, or are they a dual agent?

This last question is particularly important because, if they’re a dual agent, then they also act as a seller’s agent in some cases, which can present a conflict of interest if you should ever view one of the homes that they actually have listed. A buyer’s agent should disclose this information to you upfront and should be able to recommend another agent should you want to pursue a home that they are acting as the listing/seller’s agent for.

Agent benefits include:

1. Helping you find homes according to your specifications

When you meet with your agent, you should discuss what you’re looking for in a home. If you’re serious about buying a home, you should get pre-approved for a loan beforehand to determine how much house you can actually afford. Some agents actually require this before getting started. Afterwards though, they should help narrow down your potential homes—do you have a specific area you want to stay within? Do you want good schools nearby? Do you want a home that’s move-in ready or are you willing to do some work on a home? They should provide you with listings of potential homes that match your requirements regularly and help you schedule viewings.

2. Providing advice and insight when viewing homes

When viewing a home, they should be there to help point out qualities in the home that are both good or bad, helping you to notice any potential areas of the home that might need work or any perks, as well as filling you in on the surrounding area and neighborhood. You should never feel like your agent is trying to “sell” you on a home—that’s not their job. Their job should be to help you analyze a home based on its qualities, location and price from a perspective that benefits you the most.

3. Helping you negotiate offers and stay within your price range

A good agent will make sure that you’re looking at homes that are realistically within your price range. They should be able to tell you about factors that might affect the cost of a home, like HOA fees, taxes and whether or not the surrounding market supports the listed price of the home. When it comes time to place an offer, they should guide you in making a reasonable offer that won’t deter the seller, while making sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

4. Taking care of all of the paperwork, legal matters, etc.

Perhaps one of the best reasons to have a buyer’s agent is simply to ensure that all required paperwork is taken care of in a timely manner because there is a ton of paperwork. They should take care of scheduling inspections, drafting offers and due diligence documents, scheduling professionals to take care of any necessary repairs on the home (should any be required or agreed upon by the seller), filing all paperwork with a lawyer and coordinating with the seller’s agent, lawyer and mortgage broker. All you should have to do is double-check documents that they send to you for review, let them know of any necessary changes, and sign.

If you’re getting ready to buy a home, make sure you weigh the options of hiring a buyer’s agent beforehand! All fees for a buyer’s agent should get wrapped up into the actual sale of the house, so there shouldn’t be any upfront cost, meaning there’s really no reason not to hire one.

If you’re in the market for an agent, make sure to check out our listing of agents here or contact us at 1-800-533-1840 or at info@intracoastalrealty.com. Happy hunting!

Tips for Buying a New Construction Home

The prospect of buying a new home that’s “shiny” and brand new is certainly an exciting one, unless you’ve got a soft spot for old, historic homes. However, buying a new construction home takes a little know-how that probably doesn’t come to mind right at first. If you’ve got your eye on a new construction home or community, you’ll want to check out these tips before you get too swept up in all that “new home” glory!

Have a buyer’s agent by your side

When buying a new construction home, you don’t have to worry about dealing with negotiating with a previous owner who might have emotional attachment swaying their decision making—which is perfectly natural. However, what you will have to deal with is the listing or selling agent for this new home, and they can be very good at creating a lot of excitement while glossing over the finer details. No matter how sweet their deal sounds, never forget that they are there solely to get the best deal for the builder, not you. That’s why it is so important to enlist the help of your own buyer’s agent, who can provide a neutral perspective for you and really wants to see you get the best deal possible.

Important: Always have your buyer’s agent with you every time you visit a new construction home for the first time. Always! Oftentimes, if your agent doesn’t accompany you, then the listing agent will get the full commission on the sale of the home should you choose to buy it.

Research the builder

It doesn’t matter how spic and span a new home might look when you look at first glance. You want to make sure that the builder for your new home is reputable and has a good standing based on prior construction projects. Make sure there are no Better Business Bureau complaints that have been filed or are still outstanding with the builder. Talk to your agent and other local agents to see if the builder does, in fact, have a good reputation. See if you can’t find out if homeowners in the builder’s previously constructed homes are happy with their purchase. Has the home aged well? Were there construction flaws? Have they had to do a lot of repairs and maintenance? Look for online reviews, testimonials or news about the builder’s previous construction projects.

Make sure you know what you’re getting

While the model home you’re shown might be brimming with fine finishes and features, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your home will have the same hardwood floors or granite countertops. Make sure you know what’s standard and included in the base home price, and what the extra amenities and upgrades consist of. You should request a feature sheet so that you can begin deciding what upgrades you might want versus what standard features you’d prefer to keep. Try to do this early on the process because those upgrades add up. It’s very important that you know how much house you can really afford and that your upgrades don’t push you past that. It’s also not a bad idea to do a little research on what it would cost you to have the upgrades made to your home after purchase. You might be able to get a better deal, and you’ll also be able to focus on things like the actual square footage of the house or the location of it within the neighborhood — two aspects that are far more important than cosmetic upgrades that you can do later.

Keep up with the Joneses

Since we’re on the topic of upgrades, whether you decide to keep your upgrade list lean or go all out, it’s important that you fall in sync with what the rest of the neighborhood has done, simply to ensure that your house is supported by the immediate market. So, if the neighborhood has been pretty well established to this point, find out what the most common upgrades were. Did most homeowners spring for hardwood floors? Then you’ll probably want to as well. You’ll probably want to steer clear of implementing every upgrade possible, since you’ll also run the risk of pricing yourself out of the neighborhood. On the other hand, if you’re one of the first ones on the scene in an entirely new development, you’ll largely get to make those decisions without having to worry about what others before you have done.

Don’t waive your home inspection

You might be thinking that, since the home is a new construction, a home inspection isn’t important. That’s wrong. It’s very wrong. Every home, whether brand new or 100 years old, is prone to problems. Regardless of its new construction status, it’s important that you make sure your new home is safe and up to code. Your agent should handle all of this for you, which is just another very important reason for you to have one. Never forget that they are on your side. They’ll be able to handle tasks like scheduling a home inspection, having contracts reviewed by a lawyer, or making sure that you have a guaranteed timeline for the completion of the house in writing if it’s still under construction.

Don’t think you can’t negotiate

Granted, with a new construction home, you’re going to have a hard time driving the price down. Builders don’t generally like to go down on price. However, you might be able to negotiate in other ways. For instance, you could ask for the builder to pay for closing costs or throw in upgrades at a reduced cost or for free. This way, the builder isn’t setting a precedent of lower prices for newcomers to the neighborhood, but you have the opportunity to save money. It might be a good idea to reach out to your agent on this, once again, to see if they can’t dig up any info on the builder’s negotiating style and find out where they’ll be most willing to budge. You should also ask about a home warranty, and what that includes. This is important, as it could influence any offers you make on the house.

Is buying a new home exciting? Yes! It’s also very easy to get carried away or swayed by sweet-talking listing agents. So, before you even take one step into your potential new home, make sure you take a look at this list and start your new home journey prepared. Looking for an agent to help you navigate the waters? We’d be happy to assist. Give us a call at 1-800-533-1840 or drop us a line at info@intracoastalrealty.com.

Fresh Holiday Decorating Tips

‘Tis the season, everybody! We know this may be a little premature, but we also know that there’s no way you don’t already have the holidays in the back your mind. Admit it! So, among the many to-do lists you’re probably juggling — gift shopping, preparing for guests, dinner menus — we wanted to add a little relief with some fresh, decorating tips. We know how it is. Year after year, our merry and bright decorative garb starts to look a little less so. If you know the feeling, then hopefully these tips can help to add some fresh cheer as you deck the halls this season.

Freshen Up Your Door

Let’s start with the place that will first greet you and any guests into your home this holiday season: your door. If you’ve grown tired of your poor, old wreath that has had to brave the cold weather all these years, it might be time to swap it out. Try a wreath made from ornaments, or use some white spray paint (with maybe a touch of silver) to dress up your old wreath in a frosty new look. Craving a little sparkle? Whip up this simple and sparkly wreath made from gold ribbon for a look that’s eye catching and festive! Or, if you’re in the mood for something that’s classic and elegant, you could try your hand at this blue spruce wreath trio.

Freshen Up Your Mantel

To add some renewed cheer to your mantel, try adding pops of color by dangling classic candy canes from festive green and red ribbon. Looking for a way to add some country charm to those stockings hung by the chimney with care? Try hanging them on a clothesline made from hearty twine and jumbo clothes pins (depending on the size of your stockings). This can be a particularly charming idea, especially if you don’t have a fireplace or mantel! Swap out your old stockings for those with cozy patterns like plaid, stripes or fair isle to add even more charm. You can also add some extra coziness by hanging mittens instead of or intermingled with stockings.

Freshen Up Your Tree

For a lot of us, our trees are a mish-mash of ornaments that we have accrued throughout the years. If you’re looking for a way to really switch up your tree game this year, opt for … a theme. A couple of our favorite themes we’ve seen include include stunning floral-themed trees, which are the epitome of “merry and bright.” Or, another super snug idea is a cookie cutter or gingerbread man themed tree. Or a combination of both! There are literally scads of ways to dress up cookie cutters with patterned paper, ribbons or paint, so this could be a really good option if you want to set up a craft day with the kids. If you’re a fan of vintage trinkets, you could also create a small tree adorned with pretty teacups, vintage spoons and china. Another great way to add a vintage vibe to your tree is by decorating it with family photos. Choose small silver or gold frame ornaments (or a mixture of both) and add some black and white photos of family, friends, homes, pets and more for a tree that’s brimming with sweet memories and nostalgia.

Hint: If you’ve got little ones in the house, there’s a good chance they’ll still want their nostalgic ornaments on the tree, so try getting a little tree just for them that they can decorate in all their old favorites!

Freshen Up Your Tree Topper

You’re probably pretty well aware of the classic tree toppers of angels or stars, but what about Santa hats? Not only is this an absolutely adorable new option, but, chances are, you probably already have a Santa hat somewhere! You also don’t have to fiddle with it until it sits juuust right. Just plop the hat on top, and you’re good to go. Other tree toppers we’ve had our eyes on are big, festive bows, birdhouses (which are perfect for a more rustic, natural themed tree), monogrammed tree toppers and treehoppers that the kids can make, like this cute snowflake.

Freshen Up Your Gift Wrapping

Now that you’ve got some new ideas for your tree, you can turn your attention to what’s underneath it. Make your tree look even more gorgeous with some new gift wrapping techniques to make those presents pop. Try out a classic candy cane/peppermint theme with an assortment of red and white striped and solid papers and ribbons for a look that’s bright and cheerful, while being super easy to achieve. You could also try choosing a color theme, like gold, and have an assortment of various gold patterned, solid, metallic, and matte papers, ribbons and bows for another simple statement. Looking for more of a “handmade” feel? Purchase a roll of solid paper from a craft store, grab some holiday-themed stamps and voíla! You have your own handmade holiday wrapping.

There are lots and lots of ways to freshen up your holiday decorations, so we hope this was a good start to get those holiday juices a-flowing. Happy holidays!

5 Things to Know About Selling Your House in Fall and Winter

Typically, it is the warmer months of spring and summer that are considered the “prime” season for selling a home. With the longer days, warmer weather and the impending school calendar, buyers can be more motivated to get into a new home. However, putting a house (or keeping a house) on the market during the fall and winter months isn’t without its own perks. Trying to decide if you should list or keep your home on the market? Read on to learn what to expect.

1. There will be less competition.

If you’re listing your home in either the fall or the winter months, then you’re generally going to see a smaller inventory of available homes on the market, which means less competition for those who do decide to list or sell their home during this time. The reason for this? People either don’t feel like dealing with having their house on the market in the months leading up to the holidays, or they’re worried they’re not going to get as much for their house as they would have during spring or summer.

2. You might encounter some “bargain shoppers.”

While the trend does seem to be that houses sell for more during spring and summer, just keep in mind that, unless you’re absolutely desperate to sell your house by winter’s end, you don’t have to accept a price that you think is too low. Remember to consult with your real estate agent on what your ideal listing price is and what it should be, and stick to your guns. You should have a very clear idea of what your listing price should be in order for you to get what you need, while being reasonable about what your house is worth and how the market supports your price. You could even talk to your agent about raising your listing price, to anticipate the lower offers that you might receive. There will be “bargain shoppers” out there, yes, but if they’re motivated, they’ll be willing to make an acceptable offer regardless. Don’t waste time with low-ballers.

3. Buyers might be more motivated.

If you’ve got a potential buyer asking to schedule a showing of your house two days before Thanksgiving, they’re probably pretty motivated, so while you may not see as many requests to schedule showings, the requests you do receive will likely be for serious buyers. This is the holiday season after all, and most people will want to be closing on or in their new home by Thanksgiving or Christmas if they can swing it. You should also see some more buyers pop up after the holidays have passed, kids are back in school and life has begun to resume normally.

Also, keep in mind that, while you’ve got your house on the market during the “off-season,” buyers looking at your house are also doing so in the “off-season,” so there may very well be another motivating factor, like a new job or change in the family, that is fueling their need to get into a new home quickly.

4. Curb appeal still counts.

With barren trees and brown grass, it can be hard to make your home look as inviting as it might in the spring when your azaleas are in full bloom. However, there are definitely tactics that you can employ. Do your best to stay on top of pine needles, leaves and debris. Yes, we know how daunting of a task this can be, especially being that we’re in the southeastern part of the state, which we’re pretty sure is partially comprised of pine needles. If you can’t possibly fathom raking all of the pine needles in your yard, at least make sure your keep pathways, steps and driveways swept and tidy. Definitely take this time to put out some bright potted plants, like hardy, cheerful mums or poinsettias, and add some tasteful holiday touches, like wreaths, pumpkins, garland, etc — whatever best corresponds to the appropriate holiday.

5. Cultivate some coziness indoors.

It’s cold and dreary out, so make sure the inside of your home exudes warmth and comfort. Definitely make sure to keep the house as lighted as possible, since you’ll be dealing with darker days earlier. If you don’t have window treatments to cover dark windows at night, get some. Bleak, black windows are not only off-putting for those are trying to picture themselves living in your home, but they are more likely to be radiating some of the cold from outside. If you want to play into the holidays, get some hot apple cider simmering on the stove, light your fireplace (if you have one), and add some holiday decorative touches like garland or festive pillows.

Whether you decide to list or keep your home on the market during fall and winter or not, just keep in mind, it only takes one buyer to get your house sold, so don’t be scared away by the idea that you aren’t going to get as many showings. In fact, it’s not uncommon for fall and winter to see faster closings than in the spring and summer. As always, if you have questions or need help, feel free to contact us at info@intracoastalrealty.com or by calling 800-533-1840!

5 Reasons to Buy a Home in Carolina Beach

Thinking of making a coastal town your new home? Or maybe you’re just thinking of trying a new one on for size. If you are, then make sure to take Carolina Beach NC into consideration! This sweet coastal town has all the good vibes, good eats and good times you could ask for on a beach vacation or as the setting for your next permanent home.

1. Good Beaches

You read that right: beaches. One of the best things about buying a home in Carolina Beach NC is its easy access to a variety of beach scenes. Whether you’re considering purchasing a vacation home or permanent home in Carolina Beach, rest assured, you’ll have your pick of some mighty fine beaches — all within a 20-minute drive or less.

There is, of course, Carolina Beach, which is a beauty in and of itself for a day in the sun and, if you have a vehicle with four wheel drive, even allows you to set up a tent and camp right on the beach for $10 a night in designated areas. Directly adjacent and connected to Carolina Beach is Kure Beach, while a quick 20-minute drive over Snow’s Cut Bridge and into Wilmington and Wrightsville lands you at Wrightsville Beach. We’ll touch base on even more surrounding beaches down below.

Also, being that Carolina Beach is an island, residents have the distinct advantage of having access to the beach on one side and the shores of the Cape Fear River on the other, a nice perk for all those interested in water activities like kayaking, paddle-boarding, boating, etc. that are sometimes better enjoyed on the riverside.

2. Good Eats

Carolina Beach has a very laid back, down-to-earth vibe to it, and the food industry here reflects that. The food scene in CB, as the locals refer to it, is comforting and unpretentious. Local favorites include restaurants and watering holes such as Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn, The Fat Pelican, The Lazy Pirate, Britt’s Donuts, Fish Bites and The Shuckin’ Shack, just to name a few. If you’re looking for a cozy spot to get food around these parts, you’ll have no trouble finding one, but good luck settling on just one!

3. Good Times & Vibes

While spending your day with toes in the sand and a long list of nothing to do is often the best way to enjoy the day in Carolina Beach, there are plenty of activities to add to your docket if you’re in the mood to explore. Aside from digging in at any one of the fine eateries on this island, residents and visitors can partake in a number of outdoor activities. Those of the water-based variety include kayaking, paddle-boarding, fishing, boating, river tubing, surfing and more.

If you’re looking for an outing of more “substance,” you can check out Zeke’s Island Reserve, the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher or the NC Historic Site at Fort Fisher. You can also check out the Carolina Beach State Park for hiking, camping, boating and fishing outings in an ecological setting that’s truly unique and is the natural home to various animal and plant life, such as the Venus Flytrap.

4. Good Schools

For those considering making the move to Carolina Beach permanently with kids (or plans for kids) in tow, they can rest easy knowing that Carolina Beach provides access to some of the area’s best K-12 schools, as well as options for higher education at nearby University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College. Even if you don’t have children, good schools bode well for the entire community as they typically accompany lower crime rates and better property value in homes.

Children still in primary school will most likely attend Cape Fear Elementary School, Charles P. Murray Middle School and Eugene Ashley High School, or other New Hanover County Schools depending on their exact location.

5. Good Spot

As you may have gathered by now, Carolina Beach has lots of enticing perks in and of itself, but it also helps that this island is surrounded by some other great communities with their own laundry lists of benefits, sites to see and nightlife. Pleasure Island, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher are the closest locales. Masonboro Island is a mere 15 minutes from CB; add another 5 minutes to your commute, and you’ll find yourself in the Wilmington and Wrightsville areas. Figure Eight Island and Topsail Beach are about an hour’s drive, heading north, while Bald Head Island, Caswell Beach, Oak Island and Holden Beach are an hour away, heading south.

Carolina Beach real estate includes a wide variety of vacation and residential home types, and run the gamut from cozy, single-family bungalows to gorgeous, multi-level beachfront properties, so no matter what kind of home you’re looking for, we can help you find it. Just give us a call at 1-800-533-1840 or email us at info@intracoastalrealty.com today!

Sellers: How to Prepare Your Home for Inspection

There’s a lot of preparation that goes into getting your house ready to sell, but there’s one step in particular that you don’t want to neglect: the home inspection. You can save yourself a lot of time, hassle, money and the risk of losing a potential sale by prepping for your home inspection now.

Get Started Early

One thing that you can do to make sure that your house is ready for inspection before the actual pre-sale inspection, is to have your own done. If you’re seriously considering selling your house, then you need to have someone come in and seriously analyze it. You want to be aware of any and all problems before the inspection that breaks the news to the buyer. Even if you have no problem making repairs after the pre-sale inspection, a laundry list of issues — even little ones — can make buyers uneasy and might leave them feeling hesitant about moving forward.

The idea is that if you go ahead and get an inspection done now, you can start preparing even before your house goes on the market by making your own repairs. You can also save yourself money by allowing yourself the time to thoughtfully pick out your contractors or do a little patching up yourself, as opposed to waiting for the due diligence period where the seller and your agent will want all repairs to be done as quickly as possible, leaving little room for shopping around for contractors.

Fix What You Can

A home inspector will, without a doubt, find something that needs to be fixed on your house, even if it’s something small, like crumbly caulking or peeling paint. There’s no question as to whether you’ll have fixing up to do; it’s more of deciding what it is you can afford to tackle and what you can’t. Small fixes, like those that typically fall into the category of “deferred maintenance” are relatively simple and affordable to fix. Painting, replacing a broken electrical receptacle, repairing small leaks or small damages are all examples of this. However, while each instance may be small on its own, every little thing adds up, and it’s better to nip this sort of thing in the bud before it becomes too unwieldy.

If you happen to have a list of larger fixes and you can’t afford to take care of them all, it’s best to consult with a professional about which ones offer the best return on your investment. Asking your inspector, agent or a home appraiser whether a new roof or a new water heater has better market value will help to ensure that the investment you choose to make is the most beneficial one to the successful sale of your house.

Plan for What You Can’t

If you can’t afford to fix every little thing on your house, or you have to forego installing a new water heater because you just replaced the roof and couldn’t afford both, you’ll need to have a plan ready for when the buyer is inevitably notified of any shortcomings that the house may have. Areas that will require a large investment from the seller within a short amount of time of their purchasing the property from you will probably need to be compensated for in some way. Are you willing to lower the selling price? Can you give the seller a significant sum of money to put towards the repairs? Can you bite the bullet and get it fixed? If you choose not to negotiate in any way, you run a higher risk of losing the sale, so go ahead and start deciding which choice best resolves the issue while making the most financial sense for you, so you’re ready for the scenario if, or when, it presents itself.

Be Ready the Day Of

Most likely, it’ll take you months to prepare your house for the pre-sale inspection, if you start planning ahead as we suggest. Don’t make the inspection any more stressful for yourself by dropping the ball the day-of. Make sure your house is clean. Make sure inspectors can easily get to attic, basement or crawlspace entrances. If you’ve got a well or septic tank buried in the background, leave some direction (either written or visual) that lets the inspectors know where it is. Make sure your dishwasher, washer, dryer, stove and sinks are empty or easy to access. If these appliances are going to be left in the house when the seller assumes ownership, the inspector will have to run tests, and they shouldn’t have to move your dirty laundry or dishes out of the way. Go through the night before and ensure that you don’t have any burnt-out lightbulbs anywhere so inspectors aren’t left wondering if the light doesn’t work or if it just doesn’t have a working lightbulb.

Your agent will most likely give you a list of things that you should do prior to the inspection as well and, if they don’t, then ask. They can probably provide you with a checklist of items to go through before the inspection, such as making sure pets are out of the house or crated, or making sure that you’re out of the house long before the inspectors arrive. This helps to guarantee that the inspection process will be a smooth one.

Don’t overlook the importance of the inspection and what it means for the value of your home and the finalization of your home’s sale. As always, if you need a helping hand to guide you through the process, we have a strong team of realtors at your disposal! Just give us a call at 1-800-533-1840 or drop us a line at info@intracoastalrealty.com.