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.


5 Home Improvement Projects for Summer

With temperatures rising and the kids out of school for the season, summer is a great time to reconnect with each other as well as the outdoors! Here in coastal North Carolina, there are tons of opportunities to enjoy the longer days and summer sunshine, all with a refreshing breeze to keep things cool and comfortable.

One way you can work on your tan is to make some home improvements that winter’s chill kept on the back burner! It may not be an afternoon spent reclined on the sand, but you’ll be glad you took the time to improve your home before the seasons change again.

Lawn Care

In winter, lower temperatures and sometimes even frost or snow can remove taking care of your yard from your to-do list entirely. But once the sun’s back out and rain encourages plants to grow, it’s time to break back out the lawnmower, the weed eater, and your work gloves! Take summertime as an excuse to get out and work up a sweat while you beautify your home.

Patio and Porch Maintenance

It’s the perfect time to bask in the lazy summer warmth, especially if you have a porch or patio to set up as your relaxation hub! But in order for you to get the most out of the experience, you’ll want to make sure it’s well-equipped and in prime condition. Take a moment to check on any stone or woodwork for chips or splits and make the necessary repairs as soon as possible. That way, when you’re ready to unwind, everything is just as it should be.

Clear Out Those Gutters  

Autumn, winter and spring weather can cause a lot of buildup in your house’s gutter system. Before the leaves start to fall again, hop on a ladder and clear out the debris from neighboring trees. Here on the coast, summer can also usher in some rainy periods, so it’s important to know that your house will be protected from any intensive downpours.

Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint  

Despite our region’s tendency for summer humidity, it’s still a great time to get outside and touch up any lackluster paint jobs on the exterior of your home or on outdoor furniture. Before you get started, just be sure to check on the upcoming weather forecast in order to choose the best possible day to devote to your efforts. In doing so, the results will be glossy coats of new paint, and you may be able to save yourself some time (and paint) in the future!

Refortify Your Fence

If you have a fenced-in yard, you know that the perimeter occasionally needs to get checked out for weak areas or broken posts. Before your next backyard pool party or barbecue, walk along the fence, both inside and out, to be sure it will hold up through the season. Winter weather can be rough on wooden posts and moisture wears down metal or chain-link fences, so it never hurts to take advantage of warmer weather and sunshine to get it all back up to par.

If you need some help in making these or any other summertime repairs, we’ve got a list of handy local service providers that can help you get started on your home improvement projects. For more local tips and news from the real estate market here in southeastern North Carolina, stay tuned to Intracoastal Realty’s blog!


What to Expect from Your First Home Inspection

You’re putting a house on the market for the first time, and your to-do list is probably about a mile long. One of the most important items – and a step that needs to happen sooner rather than later – is scheduling a professional inspection of your home.

Just like during the process of purchasing your next home, it’s important to know as much as possible regarding the condition of the house before you put it on the market. With a quality inspection, you can get all of the knowledge you need to work with potential buyers and settle on a fair deal for everyone.

Timing and involvement 

When you schedule a home inspection, you’ll want to go ahead and account for roughly 2-3 hours of walk-through time. It’s recommended that you stay nearby to answer any questions that might come up, and the best inspectors don’t mind if you follow along and ask some of your own as they arise. As the inspection progresses, he or she will be making enough notes to answer some preliminary questions about possible repairs and alterations, but remember that the more detailed report will be delivered soon – sometimes by the end of the business day depending on the time of your appointment. 

The report

The typical inspection report will give you a rundown of what about your house is up to current standards and what potential issues the inspector caught. The amount of detail really depends on the condition of the house; if, for example, it’s practically brand new, you probably won’t have as many damages and weakened areas to address. Older houses, those that have been through rougher weather, or the residences that were not cared for in years previous typically have more notes and ideas for improvement included in the report. The results tend to be broken down by sections of the house, such as the basement, attic, roof, crawlspace, the plumbing work, and the ventilation system. 

Next steps

As the seller, you don’t technically have to make any of the repairs suggested in the inspector’s report. However, the chances of your house selling for a desired price are higher if you do. Essentially, it all boils down to the severity of the renovations and what price range you’re hoping for with your buyer. Sometimes, your realtor can negotiate with the buyer not to include the repairs, but to drop down the asking price instead. If you’re unwilling to fix the problems before you vacate the house, this is an option to bring up with your agent from the beginning.

Putting your house on the market for the first time can be daunting, but when you have a trustworthy real estate agent on your side, the workload decreases exponentially! If you’re ready to sell your coastal home, contact us and get started today.


5 Ways to Fight the Winter Blues

Even at the beaches in North Carolina, the dead of winter can sometimes feel endless and just a little dry. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you could do to bring back some color in your home! When it’s too cold to enjoy the outdoors and a touch too dreary to properly dream of summer sunshine, we’ve got a few tricks you can use to rejuvenate your personal environment.

Bring the outside in

It may seem too simple, but try bringing a few houseplants in to make up for the lack of color outside. There are some varieties that are nice and easy to maintain on a daily basis, so you don’t even need to worry about letting them get out of hand or dying before spring makes a reappearance.

Lighten the mood

Use natural lighting and sheer curtains to encourage a transition back into stronger sunlight. Not only does this move make use of the limits of winter days, but it’ll save you a few bucks on your energy bill in the long run.

Brighten things up… literally

Swap out bulbs for when the days do grow dark, and you might even trick yourself into thinking the elongated daylight hours are back! Your home will be well-lit, and you can begin to condition yourself and your housemates to be ready for those drawn-out summer days before daylight savings time.

Swap out darker decor

Use white or light-colored furniture and fabrics to chase away the winter shadows. The paler tones will complement the lighting in other parts of the room (like your new light bulbs and more accessible windows).

Channel your inner artist

Fresh paint can transform a room, and if winter has you down, then perhaps it’s time to reintroduce parts of your home to spring and summer! Take a day (the weather has you inside already, right?) and thoroughly clean everything, paint, then step back and admire. And, when you own your own home, you can always change your mind and remodel the place come summertime.

With these and more, you and your home will be on your way out of the winter blues in no time! Keep up-to-date with our blog for more homeowner tips and news, or contact us if you’re ready to make your move to one of North Carolina’s coastal communities.


Cookie Cutter vs Character: Pros and Cons of Moving into an Older House

Whether it’s your first time buying a home or the tenth, there’s a lot to consider in regards to what you’re looking for in a house and the surrounding area. That’s why having a realty agency you can depend on is so important – new areas can be difficult to navigate, and you want a local expert guiding you on location considerations and issues you might need to be aware of for the future.

What an agent can’t help decide is what you prefer as far as style is concerned. One big question our clients typically voice is whether they should peruse newer or older houses on their search. There are benefits and drawbacks to both, so it usually comes down to a matter of personal preference and the willingness to put in extra work should an aged home have some complications down the road, but we’ve compiled a few general things to think about before you purchase your next home.

Following a pattern

With many recently-built houses and those found in new subdivisions, we often find that they follow a pattern with their neighbors in terms of design and color. The downside to this is of course a lack of character and individuality – at least until you get to decorating! – but the positives include a modern look, innovative layouts, and often some eco-friendly features.

Temperamental

Older homes have a lot of character; sometimes this is great, but often this is realtor-speak for “temperamental.” And while a few home improvement projects might ward you off from buying a house with several years on it, for some people it might be perfect! If you’re good with your hands and love a challenge to fill up your Saturday mornings, you might consider braving the potential work ahead and signing that dotted line.

A long and happy life

Along with the wear and tear, a longer life adds personality and sentimental value to a home. It may be new to you, but many houses contain subtle reminders that they’ve seen some amount of time pass: a worn-in fireplace, retro-patterned kitchen tiles. And as long as the previous owner took good care of the house, then these details are more endearing than detrimental to the overall value.

A clean slate

If you’re more attuned to chic spaces and modern color schemes, then a newer house is just the thing! We often associate a brand new home with a clean slate of our own, so if you want to start from scratch and really make the property yours then we suggest browsing through listings of houses built in the last couple of years and going from there in making your decision.

We know it can be stressful to relocate you and your family to an unfamiliar place, so here at Intracoastal Realty we try to make the process as seamless as possible with our local expertise and friendly, efficient agents. Contact us for more tips or to get started on finding your new (or new to you) home today!


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!   


How to Make the Most of the Off-Season

For any local in a beach town, the slightest reprieve afforded by cooler weather can be refreshing, even if it does mark a lull in tourist season. And though North Carolina’s coast never truly suffers from persistent chills, January is a slower time of year for visitors.

So while traffic doesn’t lengthen your commute quite as much, and the breezes on the beach pick up, what is a local to do? The experts here at Intracoastal Realty have a few tips for how to spend the quieter months!

Home improvement

With the weather being less intense than it can get in the summer months, now is a great time to take advantage and tackle a few pet projects. The main thing you’ll have to keep in mind as you plan your next task for the house’s exterior is whether or not the necessary materials will stand up to the chance of rain. If not, make the necessary preparations for fixing something indoors or reorganizing your space to make being inside that much more enjoyable.

Take in the scenery

In the summer, many of our wonderful tourist attractions are crowded hotspots that any good local knows how to navigate around on his or her daily commute. While this might be a less popular time for vacations, you can always play tourist for a day and see the sights you might not get to enjoy at other times of year. There are plenty of places right in your backyard, and we have a few favorite suggestions that you might appreciate!

Play in the sand

Despite the realities of the typical winter season, our area can enjoy some fairly mild weather until spring returns. While the beaches are less populated and the temperatures aren’t keeping you away, take the opportunity to enjoy them! Be mindful of seasonal parking and other local limitations, and bring an extra jacket just in case of an unexpected chill. If nothing else, it’s a great way to cut the monotony of a routine and get your toes in the sand, even for just a little while.

Don’t let wintertime paces get you down – there’s so much to enjoy about North Carolina’s coast at all times of the year! For more information or suggestions for passing the time until the summer sun reappears, stay tuned to our blog and local happenings. And if you or a loved one is considering relocating to our coastal communities, contact us to get started and experience the exceptional!