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!   

Intracoastal HomeSpotter App Makes It Easier in Today’s Real Estate Market

Technology has been a game changer in basically every industry you can imagine, and real estate is certainly no exception. Buyers and sellers have more data at their fingertips than ever, thanks to those ubiquitous smart phones that we all rely upon on a daily basis. Many people look to apps for the information they need in the process of buying and seling a home. This helps educate real estate clients but does not replace the personal service that goes along with having an agent to help navigate the waters.

“While adapting to consumers’ technological needs is a primary goal of Intracoastal Realty, there will always be a need for a market-savvy real estate expert to guide you through the legal aspects of the transaction process,” said Lake Slacum, vice president of marketing for Intracoastal Realty.

Intracoastal Realty has been working to deliver digital solutions to its customers for many years. In the Wilmington NC real estate market, many look to the Intracoastal HomeSpotter App, the area’s most accurate and complete home search app, to help them stay informed about what’s happening locally in the industry. The app, which was launched in November 2014, was the result of careful planning.

“We had been looking at real estate app technology for years,” Slacum said. “We waited for the right solution to come along before investing in the technology. The solutions available years ago were not quite up to par with what we wanted to offer our clients and the home-buying consumer.

“Research led me to a company out of Minnesota that was producing a top-notch real estate app solution that was bug-free, effective, and fast,” he added. “Even though our website has been mobile-responsive, meaning it scales to any device, for years, we still wanted to provide a mobile-specific solution for those who prefer to use apps during their real estate search. With mobile usage increasing significantly year after year, it just made sense.”

The Intracoastal HomeSpotter App’s easy-to-use search functionality displays a map that the user can toggle back and forth between satellite view and map view. There is also a filter to further refine your search by price, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, square footage, and more, plus users can save their favorite properties into a folder for later viewing and reference. The most cutting-edge feature, however, is the HomeSpotter technology. Pressing the HomeSpotter button engages the user’s GPS location and produces nearby properties on the screen in a radar-like fashion.

“This is a great feature that can be used in communities that don’t allow for-sale signs or when cruising in a boat along the Intracoastal Waterway to see which homes are for sale,” Slacum said. “It is state-of-the-art, game-changing technology that no one else in the market currently has. The consumers who download the app are always amazed. It almost always evokes a ‘wow’ or ‘awesome’ when the consumer starts using it.”

Buyers and sellers can both benefit from the Intracoastal HomeSpotter App. Its ease of use and design to work on a mobile device while on the go make it a convenient tool for those searching for a home, it receives a few thousand user sessions each day to increase visibility for those selling, and the information is updated several times daily from the Multiple Listing Service. “This gives us an advantage over some of the national apps, which are notorious for frequently being inaccurate with listings that are not on the market,” Slacum said.

Even those not interested in buying or selling right away will find the Intracoastal HomeSpotter App helpful. It has the ability to display sold properties, so if you want to know what price the homes in your neighborhood are going for, all you have to do it select the “sold” option in the Filter section under Status. “There is no other app like it in the marketplace,” Slacum said. “Not even the big-named national real estate portals have the bells and whistles that the Intracoastal HomeSpotter App has.”

The Intracoastal HomeSpotter App is one component of the technology available to Intracoastal Realty clients. In addition to its websites, there is a paperless transaction program that allows completion and execution of all documents electronically.

“We have the perfect tools to help the consumer find areas and properties of interest and make the process of buying and selling them go more smoothly,” Slacum said. “We are constantly updating these platforms with new features and functionality.”

Check out all the available real estate technology, including the Intracoastal HomeSpotter App, and when you’re ready for some personalized service, Intracoastal Realty is here to meet your Wilmington NC real estate needs. We are a full-service real estate brokerage operating since 1976, and we currently have 13 offices with over 400 agents and staff to serve Southeastern North Carolina, including the areas of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Southport, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Leland, Hampstead, and Topsail Island.

Carolina Beach Bids Farewell To Summer With A Celebration

The Intracoastal Realty office in Carolina Beach celebrated the end of summer recently. To reconnect with agents and celebrate the end of summer, the agents from the Carolina Beach office visited The Lazy Pirate, a Carolina Beach favorite, and winner of Wilmington’s Best Wings from the 2014 Access Wilmington and 98.3 The Penguin’s Wilmington’s Best Wings Contest.

The Lazy Pirate is a great place to have fun while living at Carolina Beach or even if you are just visiting. Whether you prefer to relax in a rocking chair on their front porch, enjoy an ocean breeze in their courtyard hammock, play checkers, throw darts, billiards, cornhole, or go out and enjoy their sand volleyball courts or they have 30+ big screen tvs if you are looking to catch your favorite team and snack on their delicious wings.

The Intracoastal Realty agents from Carolina Beach greatly enjoyed themselves with the evening festivities and the camaraderie of the Intracoastal Realty team. The many agents who attended played corn hole, spent some time relaxing, and enjoyed a fun game of volleyball.  At the end of the evening, our Carolina Beach agents felt relaxed and ready to kick off the fall season in the Carolina Beach market.

Mark Harrison, a new addition to the Carolina Beach office, said, “Thank you for a great time!!  We have a great office.” Those sentiments were echoed across many of the agents who attended the gathering, including Alicia Devereaux, who commented, “I second that! Such a great group. We are very lucky.”

Toni Mims-Bowman, a new agent at Intracoastal Realty, agreed with Mark’s I was telling Brigitte Simone just how lucky we are to work with such a wonderful, and fun group of people.  I had an absolute blast last night with all of you, especially sucking at corn hole with Original Toni, and enjoying the view with Mary 😉.  A huge thank you to Cynthia Remahl for putting it together! Can’t wait to do it again!

Cynthia Remahl, Sales Manager and Broker In Charge of the Carolina Beach office, was thankful for the evening and commented, “Thank you to our agents who were able to attend and make the End of Summer/Start of Fall social so much fun! A great time had by all with amazing people. I truly feel Blessed every day to work with such a great group of agents and staff.”

April McDavid, Broker/Realtor GRI, CRS, enjoyed the competitive nature of the cornhole game and had a good spirit about losing with teammate, Joyce Barnwell.

“A huge thank you to Cynthia Remahl and Intracoastal Realty for a great time yesterday at The Lazy Pirate!  What a great office to be a part of with so many amazing and fun loving friends and teammates!  It was a good time kicking off the Fall Season,”  remarked Mary Kruszon, Broker/Realtor.

Here are a few photos of the end of season festivities at The Lazy Pirate:

A huge thank you to The Lazy Pirate for a great event and thank you for all members of our Intracoastal Realty team who attended:

Cynthia Remahl
Toni Gilberstson
Shirley James
Joyce Barnwell
Alicia Devereaux
April McDavid
Todd McMunn
Karen Moran-Germ
Brigitte Simone
Courtney Gore
Brittni Harding
Mark Harrison
Mary Kruszon
Mary Kay Burke
Toni Mims Bowman
Lily Ziegler
Gay Jessup
Ron Jessup
Sandra Hammann
Mike Lazarz

Hello, September!

It’s the first day of September and schools around North Carolina are in full session, and many our looking forward to one last weekend to celebrate summer as Labor Day draws near.

We’ve had a pretty warm summer in North Carolina, and temperatures are started to cool off a little in the evenings which inspire days spent at the beach and evenings with hoodies and bonfires.

The beginning of fall depends on who you ask, but we definitely inch closer once we wrap up another Labor Day holiday. The first day of autumn is officially the autumnal equinox, which occurs this year on September 23. The autumnal equinox, according to astronomers, is when the sun will be directly overhead of the equator as the Earth’s tilt begins to point he Northern Hemisphere away from the sun.

If you are longing for crisp, cool fall weather, it will be a little ways off for Coastal North Carolina as temperatures are warmer than average for much of us and is accompanied by stifling humidity. We are dipping into the upper 60s in the evenings and it will continue as we near the official start of spring later in the month.

We can enjoy the warmer temperatures for a few more weeks and it gives you a chance to check off any of those items you’ve missed on your summer bucket list.

Intracoastal Realty NC Summer Bucket List

What’d we miss? Share your favorite summer activities in North Carolina in the comments below!

Kindred Spirit Mailbox – “A Message For You…”

Kindred Spirits are those who share beliefs, attitudes, feelings, similar experiences, or make a special connection.  This special connection is shared by people from all over the world. A bond Kindred-Spirit-Sunset-Beachformed as a result of the Kindred Spirit mailbox.  It is a story of mystery and spiritual awakening.  The Kindred Spirit mailbox has become a popular destination for many visitors to Sunset Beach, NC.  No one knows who first placed the mailbox there more than 30 years ago, although they left this note: “Twenty seven years ago I walked the tide line of Bird Island.  In the distance – right on the low tide line – I saw the silhouette of a rural mailbox.  However, I never could reach it – for it was a mirage.  The very next weekend, I “planted” the original Kindred Spirit mailbox”.

On the uninhabited state preserve of Bird Island now one with Sunset Beach, the mailbox resides among the dunes more than a mile past the last public beach access on Sunset Beach. Visitors can sit on a nearby bench and write their own personal message inside the mailbox’s journal.  People pen thoughts, dreams, hopes, bits of wisdom, deepest secrets, and words of grief.  It has become a place of solace and introspect with entries from new and returning visitors.

Messages can also be mailed to an associated P O Box where they are held with “love, honor, and respect by Kindred Spirit”.  Full journals and worldwide messages are archived in the Randall Library at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for anyone to view.  The Kindred Spirit also has its own website http://kindredspiritbox.com and many of the personal thoughts and hopes left in the mailbox are now published on the site.

Plan a visit. Feel the sand under your feet, listen to the waves, browse through the journals and letters, and take time to pen your own note.  The mail box is waiting for you to become a Kindred Spirit.

Submitted by: Karen Gaspar
Ocean Isle Beach
119 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

Karen Gaspar - Sunset Beach

How to Price Real Estate

Spring is near, so here are some great tips for pricing real estate! As of the writing of this article we have two full months of 2014 under our belt and the numbers say that the real estate market is continuing to perform well on a steady rebound from the “bursting of the bubble”.  As is the case with any subject that is heavily measured by performance numbers there are so many ways to report and interpret the data.  In this short article I will give you the local facts and then my opinion regarding those facts.  Notice I said I will give you the “local” facts, this is important.  Real estate is very local, in some cases local means the county or the city and other cases it means specific streets.  Keep that in mind as you will naturally want to read this data then apply the facts to your own personal home or property.  If you want a true value of your specific property you will need to drill down even further than the level of statistics I am quoting here.  You will attain this level of detail by utilizing the services of a professional real estate broker/REALTOR and/or a real estate appraiser, who will prepare for you a customized Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).  Now for the facts.  Note these numbers represent all single family homes/condos/town houses in New Hanover County, North Carolina.

Units Sold

The number of properties sold (units) in February 2014 was 419 which is UP 25% over January 2014 and equal to the number sold in February 2013 (same month last year).  This is good news because it shows a normal healthy trend of increasing sales as the winter season heads towards spring and summer – we would expect to see this.  It also means that the market is performing at the same level as last year, which was a good year!

Average Sold Price

$222,579.00 is the average sold price for February 2014.  This is UP 2.0% from January 2014 and UP 2.3% from February 2013.  This is also good news.  Please understand, however, that this is an AVERAGE and averages can be affected by selling more homes priced higher than the average versus homes lower than the average.  So don’t automatically think that this means the value of your particular home is up by 2.0%…maybe it is or maybe it is up more than that or possibly not up that much.  This is where it is very important to consult a professional to do an analysis of your home’s specific location and condition to determine actual market value.

Listing Inventory

The number of single family properties actively for sale on the market as of March 1, 2014 was 3778 which is up 18 UNITS from January 2014 and up 8.1% from the same time last year.  We would expect to see an increase in properties for sale as we enter the spring market.  The increase from last year seems to indicate that more owners are encouraged by the health of the market and are ready to sell their home and in some cases by another one.  The other thing to note is that these increases are slight – which is good; we do not want a flood of inventory because that would negatively affect the supply and demand relationship thus causing downward pressure on values.

Average List Price

$353,640.00 is the average list price – in other words the “asking price”.  This is up by $10,507.00 over January 2014.  This, too, is to be expected this time of year.  I always think it is interesting to notice the difference between the average sales price ($222,579.00) and the average sold price ($353,640.00).  This obviously means that many of the higher priced homes don’t sell as frequently as the lower priced homes.  It also could, and probably does, indicate that many of the homes for sale on the market are overpriced.  A note to sellers…its either time or money, like everything else in life…if you want a faster sale then usually it means lowering your asking price accordingly.

Days on Market

The average time it takes a home to sell is 135 days.  This is up by 11 days from January 2014.  We would rather see this one go down instead of up but I am not concerned that this is a trend.  As long as the market does not get flooded with inventory we should see this number go down as we move into spring.

In summary, we have sales UP and average sold price UP.  These two are the main bright spots.  The seasonal trend of increased number of homes for sale and asking price for those houses is to be expected and is normal.

AshleyGarnerArticle by:
Ashley Garner
Broker/REALTOR at Intracoastal Realty
Direct: 910-409-0861