New Construction or Existing Home? For Many Buyers, That Is the Question

By Judy Royal

So you’ve decided it’s time to buy a home in Southeastern North Carolina. There are so many decisions to make when it comes to the Wilmington NC real estate market. Chief among them is whether you want to start from scratch or find something already built. While there are a lot of really great reasons to opt for new construction, the process also has its share of drawbacks. Be sure to do plenty of research when deciding what is best for you and your family. The following are some things to consider:

Choose a builder

If you decide on new construction, your next decision will be whether you want to hire a custom builder or a higher-volume builder, also known as a production builder. A production builder constructs a community of homes based on a library of floor plans, each with limited personalization options. A custom builder can create a one-of-a-kind home that offers a greater range of design choices, albeit at a typically higher price and time commitment than a production home. While a production builder will likely offer you the opportunity to upgrade finishes and make other personal touches, the sky is the limit when it comes to a custom-built home. Want a feeding area for your dogs built into the lower kitchen cabinetry? How about a four-car garage? Anything you’ve ever wanted in a home is a possibility when you build a custom home. Obviously, all of these choices will not be possible if you buy an existing home.

Either way, be sure to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right builder for you. Check review websites, state licensing boards, and local court records for complaints, disciplinary actions, and lawsuits. Talk to previous customers to get a firsthand account of their experiences.

Know the community

Drive through neighborhoods to get a feel for an area. Find out crime rates. Research schools. Talk to other homeowners. Determine how long your work commute will be. Find out how many more homes will be built around you. If your entire community is new, you may be living amid ongoing construction for many months. When it comes to determining the community that you will call home for many years, you really can’t be too diligent. Be sure you will be comfortable making a life wherever you choose.

Time your move

Are you looking to pack your bags and put out your new welcome mat sooner rather than later? Then a newly constructed home may not be for you. Expect to wait several months or more for a home that is not yet under construction. Your move can happen much more quickly if you buy an existing home, so think about what your ideal time frame is. If you have one home on the market while you’re building another, you will have to make arrangements for a temporary place to live if the sale happens before you’re able to get into your new place.

Pick a landscape

Do you want mature trees that will shade your home in the summertime? New communities might not be able to offer this if existing foliage was not salvaged in the development process. It could take years for new landscaping to grow into itself, so decide how important this feature is to you.

Behold the Bells and Whistles

In a new home, you will likely have “smart” technology options that allow you to automate Internet, cable, speakers, an alarm system, etc. Also, new homes often use more eco-friendly paints and building materials, which can improve indoor air quality. An existing home, depending on its age, is much less likely to include all of these modern perks.

Estimate Your Bills

A newly constructed home will have new appliances, systems, insulation, and windows, which are more energy-efficient than what you’ll find in most older residences. This could mean a significant savings in your utility bills and more money in your pocket each month. If you are buying an existing home, it’s a good idea to ask the seller what you might expect to pay for your utility bills. An inefficient home, even with a much lower sales price, can cost you much more in the long run than one that is using modern processes to run optimally.

Think About Maintenance

Maintenance costs associated with an existing home can affect your budget significantly. A newly built home, with its untouched appliances, HVAC system, roof, etc. – requires much less upkeep than an aging residence and will allow you to better predict the monthly costs of home ownership. Thanks to warranties on your new items, you may not have to pay for any major repairs for several years.

Whether you’re seeking to buy a lot on which to build your dream home or something ready and waiting for you to move in, 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 12 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!

New Location: Leland Office Opening Soon!

We are excited to see the signs being hung for our newest office location in Leland, NC, which will open in a few weeks.

Intracoastal Realty Leland NC Office Opening

Our new signage is complete and we are putting the finishing touches on our new offices and anticipate opening soon. Take a look at our recent photos showing our progress:

Intracoastal Realty Prepares For New Office Opening In Leland NC
Intracoastal Realty Prepares For New Office Opening In Leland NC
Intracoastal Realty Prepares For New Office Opening In Leland NC


Due to an increase in real estate activity over the past years, Intracoastal Realty is opening a Leland, NC office to better serve our home buyers and sellers in the Leland and surrounding areas in Brunswick County and providing easy access for our agents to all of the resources provided.

Leland North Carolina and Brunswick County have continued to see an increase in real estate transactions with the addition of many new residential neighborhoods including Brunswick Forest, Magnolia Greens, Waterford, Highland Shores, Mallory Creek, and Compass Pointe.

Brunswick Forest is approximately 4,900 acres of stunning real estate situated along a landscape of pristine forest and currently holds the title as the fastest growing community on the Carolina coast. To find out more about Brunswick Forest, click here to view community information including economic data, household income, average household size, and information on schools for Brunswick Forest.

Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation is the realization of an American dream, both for developers and for its residents. In the late 90’s, Leland consisted of nothing more than a few industrial building and a smattering of single-family homes nestled amidst acres of woodlands and fields. There were no stores, gas stations, restaurants or commercial offices. Landmark Developers had the vision to take a beautiful piece of land (approximately 1,000 acres) in a great location and turn it into Magnolia Greens.

Waterford is situated along a bustling modern business corridor on US Highway 17 in Leland, NC, a serene waterfall feature announces the entrance to a secluded oasis: Waterford of the Carolinas. A thoughtfully planned residential community, Waterford, boasts waterfront views for nearly all of its 900+ home sites, proving that you don’t have to live on the ocean or the river to enjoy a water view. Homes in the Waterford community wind along a vast network of lakes, canals, and creeks that thread a naturally lush environment.

Mallory Creek Plantation is tucked away within the pristine low country, between the cities of Wilmington and Southport in southeast coastal North Carolina. The charming community is a spectacular retreat from the city life of Downtown Wilmington, just 10 minutes away. At the heart of Mallory Creek  Plantation is the amenity center with a competition size swimming pool and low country style clubhouse. Live oaks and magnolia trees surround acres of ponds and winding walking paths throughout the community. Within Mallory Creek Plantation are various distinctive neighborhoods offering brick, coastal craftsman or European home designs crafted to meet the needs of today’s active lifestyles. Your personal retreat awaits you at Mallory Creek Plantation!

Compass Pointe is a private, gated, new home community, just 10 minutes from Wilmington, NC, surrounded by miles of white, sandy beaches. You can enjoy perfect weather, and a relaxed lifestyle with a wide variety of amenities, dining, arts, and entertainment options at your fingertips. Compass Pointe is located at 8178 Compass Pointe East Wynd in Leland NC. View available homes in Compass Pointe.

To view more information and stats on the Leland market, visit our market updates section of our blog.

To search for homes in Leland or in Brunswick County, NC, use our property search features on our website.