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.


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 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.


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!


New Year, New Home?

By this time in January, most people have gotten a decent start on all of the resolutions they vowed to keep in the year to come. Among all of your aspirations and plans, did you think to consider a long-term goal of moving into your dream house? If you begin the process soon, and team up with a capable realty agency like Intracoastal Realty for some professional assistance, you shouldn’t be too far away from getting settled.

Expectations

As with any achievable goal, setting your sights on a new house should begin with establishing reasonable expectations. Maybe instead of aiming for a 2018 move, you decide to take it easy on your budget and your schedule and make this the year you prepare yourself and your current home for a change of pace in 2019. If you know you’ll need to relocate for a job or a new education program, you might resolve to look for a new home only within certain areas so as to ease your daily commute.

Step-by-step

The key to executing any long-term change is to set milestones for yourself. They keep you on track and focused, while also giving you little accomplishments to celebrate. When it comes to buying a home, you’ll want to have a checklist of sorts for budgeting, paperwork, and everything in between. Luckily, we can help you with all of that!

Stay positive

Depending on the circumstances, your timeline, and what you require in a house, the process to find and purchase a new residence that fits you and your family can be a long one. The very best advice we can give for jumping into the next few steps is to remember to stay positive, even when there are setbacks or difficulties. Here at Intracoastal Realty, we work with you to try and minimalize complications, and to sort through them as they come.

If 2018 is your year to land a new home, let us guide you through the ins and outs of the housing market here on North Carolina’s coast! Contact Intracoastal Realty to get started on your resolution today.


Buying Your First Home? Here’s What You Need to Know

By Judy Royal

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, chances are you are about to start the process of making one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime: a new home. The Wilmington NC real estate market has plenty of first-time buyers eager to take advantage of the sea, sand, and sunshine Southeastern North Carolina has to offer. But before you hit the ground running to look at properties, it’s best to get your ducks in a row for what will be a hectic but exciting time in your life.

Who?

Navigating the often-confusing world of buying a home for the first time can be a daunting and downright terrifying experience. You’ll want someone you can trust to answer all your questions and concerns, not to mention look out for your best interests. Choose your real estate agent wisely. Ask friends and family for referrals. Talk to a prospective agent’s recent clients. Find out how long he or she has been in business. Familiarize yourself with what credentials (otherwise known as all those letters at the end of a name) mean. For instance, ABR stands for Accredited Buyer’s Representative, which means the agent has completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.

What?

Before you start touring properties, think about what you really want out of your primary residence. Are you looking for privacy and a big yard? Or are you willing to share a wall and common spaces with neighbors in exchange for not having to worry about mowing grass and other exterior maintenance issues? This will help you narrow down your options to either single-family homes or condominiums/townhouses. Just bear in mind that the latter are more likely to have higher homeowners association dues as a tradeoff for the things you won’t have to deal with, so be sure to factor those into your budget.

When?

Speaking of budgets, you need to start saving well before you are ready to make an offer. Talk to a mortgage professional early in the process to ensure you are fiscally ready for this major step. Be honest with yourself about exactly what you can afford and stick to that range. If you don’t save at least 20 percent for a down payment, you’ll probably have to make mortgage insurance payments, adding to your monthly costs. Aside from the price of the home itself, other things to save for include the cost of property taxes, insurance, homeowners association dues, and regular maintenance. Many experts recommend budgeting at least 1 percent of the value of your home each year to cover routine maintenance. There are also potential emergency expenses, such as replacing a heating system or roof.

Where?

Be as specific as possible about the locations where you’ll consider living. Drive through neighborhoods to get a feel for an area. Find out crime rates. Research schools. Talk to other homeowners. When it comes to determining the community that you will call home for perhaps many years, you really can’t be too diligent. Be sure your search for properties includes only the locales where you will be comfortable making a life. After a tough day at work, you’ll want to retreat to a place that will make you feel safe, happy, and content.

Why?

If you’ve been renting for a while in an area you plan to call home for the foreseeable future, you might be a prime candidate for buying your first home. A smart real estate purchase can be a valuable investment asset for your long-term financial health by helping to increase your future net worth. Just be sure you are ready for the responsibility and commitment that comes with owning property. If you’re the type of person who wants the freedom to pack your bags and move to Key West after one really great vacation, then you might not be quite ready for home ownership.

How?

Most of us are not lucky enough to pay cash for our first home, so financing will likely be a reality. Think about the type of mortgage you want. Explore the pros and cons of a fixed rate vs. adjustable rate. Shop lenders to find the best deal on home loans. Your interest rate will play a huge role in the total price you pay for your home, so spending some time making comparisons now can pay off majorly in the long run.

Whether you’re in the market four your first or fifth home, or anything in between or above, 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.