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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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!


5 Myths About Owning a Home

The white picket fence, a spacious backyard, a place to call your own: for many, owning a home is the goal, one of the mile markers of success. But with it comes a significant amount of responsibility, which can also turn others off from the idea of committing to a place of residence for longer than the duration of a lease.

If you’re debating whether or not to begin the process of becoming a homeowner, and find yourself getting bogged down in all of the warnings against or urges to buy as soon as possible, check out a few myths our real estate team can debunk, and hopefully make deciding one way or another easier for you.

All improvement projects add value

One of the first things new homeowners do when they move in is start making the house their own. This is often accomplished not only through personalization and decoration, but also through a few improvement projects like adding new cabinets or shelves, installing new appliances, or even some more extensive endeavors. But not all of these things add the expected value to your home. Before making any design changes to your house, check in with an expert and get a feel for what you can do to not only add value to the home, but also make your time living in it more enjoyable.

Buying is always preferable to renting (or vice versa)

There is no hard and fast rule for which is better between buying or renting a home. The deciding factors come down to personal matters, including financial concerns, roommates, professional opportunities, and so on. When you’re trying to decide what to do about your next house, it’s better to speak first with a trusted professional who can help you assess your circumstances and choose the option that fits most with what suits you best in the long run.

New homes don’t need any work done to them 

While we’d all like to think that a brand new house is perfect just the way it is, this unfortunately is not always the case. Sometimes, the fact is that though you love the house as a whole, there are aesthetic aspects you want to rearrange or scrap altogether to make it feel more like home. In other cases, the alterations could be of a more functional nature, making your day-to-day easier. It all comes down to weighing the cost of the work alongside the purchasing price, and deciding if it’s worth the additional investment or if you’d be better off continuing your search.

You can make any changes once the house is yours

When the keys are in your hand and all of the paperwork has been signed, the house is yours with which you may do whatever you like, whenever you want: right? Actually, there are some projects that might need to be put on hold until you obtain the proper permits, even if you plan on doing the work by yourself. Consult with your local officials before you kick off any major renovations.

New is always better

While we all might fantasize about that shiny new dishwasher or a house that’s never been lived in by anyone else, the fact of the matter is that there’s nothing wrong with buying a house with some history. When you begin to shop for your home, try not to limit yourself to newly built residences; not only will you possibly save yourself money by looking to gently used homes and appliances, but you might find something you like much better because it has character.

It’s a big step, but taking ownership of a home can be one of the best investment opportunities when approached in the right way. If you think this is the next move for you, contact our offices and speak with our expert real estate team to find out more!


5 Ways to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Whether you’re a newcomer to coastal North Carolina or a long-time local, preparing for the region’s annual hurricane season is an imperative part of living here comfortably. As a general rule, the Atlantic hurricane season begins in early June and carries through November, but the majority of our state’s storms tend to hit shores in August and September.

Are you ready? If not, don’t worry! Intracoastal Realty is well-versed in battening down the hatches and making sure homes are fortified against the incoming storms.

Start with a little insurance  

When you’re busy gearing up for a summer storm, one of the last things you’ll want to have to keep on your mind will be what your insurance policy says about flood damage. But some homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damage or loss from flooding, which means you and your home are at risk of sustaining wreckage that will cost a small fortune and a lot of your time in order to fix it. Contact your agent ahead of time to review your policy and its limitations, and ensure you’re adequately covered.

Evaluate your home

You should always look out for the health of your home, regardless of the season. But when you know a storm is on the horizon, make sure you’ve had your place of residence recently inspected and evaluated for major structural weak spots or existing damage that could be exacerbated with the pressure of heavy winds and rain. The last thing you want to have to worry about in the wake of a hurricane is seeing to the repairs that might have been avoided.

Put in some elbow grease ahead of time

After you’ve had your home looked at to identify potential issues, go ahead and repair or fortify what you can so that the likelihood of having to manage large amounts of storm damage in the aftermath is minimal. Just make sure that you clean up all of your tools and materials afterward, so as not to add to the debris that hurricane winds can easily stir up and circulate.

Call for back-up

In the event that your home does sustain a significant amount of damage, you’ll want to be certain that you’re ready to work with insurance companies, contractors, and any other service specialist to put your house back to rights. To do this with as little fanfare as possible, back up all of the necessary documentation – deeds, records of previous repairs or home modifications, insurance – to a secure server. You could even invest in an account with something as easy to use as Google Docs.

Keep tools of the trade handy

Regardless of whether or not you’ll be at home or elsewhere during the worst of a hurricane, there are certain items that it never hurts to have on hand and at the ready in case of an emergency. Having them all together and easily accessible makes it that much easier for you to address concerns as they come. So, before any hurricane warnings even come through on your local weather channel, have a backpack or duffel bag full of essentials like flashlights, extra batteries, first aid supplies, and universal tools within reach.

When you and the rest of your household are prepared for inclement weather, it’s easier than ever to enjoy the rest of late summer in coastal North Carolina. Hurricane season can vary in terms of severity, but being prepared means that you don’t have to scramble if a storm does roll in off the water. Stay tuned to our blog for more helpful tips on acclimating yourself to our region!


How to Prep for Moving Day

The boxes are packed (mostly), closets and drawers have been swept for anything that can be thrown away or donated, and everything else is waiting for you in your new home elsewhere; it must be moving day!

But as exciting as it is to leave one home and embrace a whole new experience, there is at least one aspect of the process that tends to fill every homeowner with some measure of dread: moving day. Before the stress of a lost family heirloom or box full of broken glasses comes crashing in on your exciting new start, take a breather and check out a few hints the staff at Intracoastal Realty have put together to help you prep for moving day.

Keep everyone in the loop

The best step you can take to prevent a chaotic moving day is to make sure everyone is in on the plan. Whether it entails confirming the route to get to the new house, figuring out who is riding with whom, or simply teaming up to do one last sweep of the old house before you all leave, it’s important that everyone is on the same page before the big day.

Do as much as you can in advance

The early bird gets the worm; or, in the case of moving, the early bird stands less of a chance of having to do damage control. The more you can do in advance – start packing the items you know won’t be needed between now and the day you move into your new home, set up forwarding addresses, find the right school for the kids – the more you can focus on the tasks at hand when you’re loading up the moving van.

Establish a schedule

Even something like packing up your belongings can be structured into a schedule of sorts to help make things easier on you. If you’re using a moving company, be sure to have a clear idea of when the movers will arrive, how long they expect to take, and by when you have to be on the road in order to make good time on your drive. With a clear outline and deadlines for every step of the way, you can make moving day a simple matter of putting boxes on a truck.

Level the playing field

On the day of, accidents could still happen, and through no one’s fault, something could come up and deter your moving day progress. That’s why it helps to have a plan in place for some of the instances that make you the most nervous. It may not stop you from accidentally leaving something sentimental behind, or prevent damage befalling your favorite end table, but solid contingency plans can go a long way in bringing you peace of mind.

While we can’t guarantee your moving day will go off without a hitch, we do think you’ll find these tips to be helpful stepping stones as you get closer and closer to settling into your new home. If you’re ready to relocate, contact Intracoastal Realty to find out more about getting started with us!


Summer Home Care Tips

With warmer temperatures, longer days, and some extra helping hands available once school lets out, summer puts itself forward as the prime season for home improvement projects!

But where to begin? After you take stock of all that you want to accomplish before fall rolls into southeastern North Carolina, it’s important to prioritize and be sure your summer to-dos don’t clash with any other seasonal concerns, like weather conditions. We’ve come up with a few tasks that are generally summer-friendly that you can check off your list with relative ease!

Reclaim your porches

While you have some solid sunny days, it’s a great time to spruce up your porches and make them more welcoming! Winter can give any exterior woodwork a bit of a beating with dry cold and wintry precipitation; summer doesn’t come without its own challenges, but it does give you the opportunity to do some sanding, painting, and general repair on minor damage sustained on your home’s entry points.

Create the perfect patio  

The outdoors are meant to be enjoyed in the height of summer, and if you’re the proud owner of a generous lawn then it’s easier than ever to create a gathering place of your own! Take summertime climates as your motivation to look into finding the perfect patio furniture or lounging options. Or, if you already have a space set up but know that it needs some attention to make it comfortable again, set aside a day to make any necessary repairs and get back to enjoying your backyard oasis.

Get a fresh coat of paint

Outside painting projects take the backseat in chillier winter months, and can often get put off when spring showers pass through on a regular basis. But during the summer, you have an excellent opportunity to break out the brushes and touch up any faded or chipped spots on your house’s façade, the fence, and any other problematic areas. Just check your weather forecast ahead of time for rain or hefty humidity levels before you begin!

Plan ahead

Though the time to plant something new has passed, you can begin getting your yard ready for any future ideas you get while enjoying the summer sunshine. Take a walk around your property, and make notes of the kinds of improvements you think you’ll want to make and that will be feasible, easy to maintain. Fall is a great time to break ground and prep any major gardening projects for spring, so by the time the leaves start changing you should have the details worked out thanks to your summertime daydreaming!

For more helpful hints and local information, stay tuned to our blog! And if you’re ready to make coastal North Carolina your home, contact Intracoastal Realty and start looking for your dream home.