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.


Moving with Pets

Moving day has arrived! If you’ve played your cards right, you’re all set. The truck is here, all of your boxes are packed and ready to go, and you’ve done a once-over to make sure you didn’t forget to do anything else on your to-do list before you leave.

While we know this day can be full of stress as well as excitement for you and the human members of your family, your furry friend is probably feeling just as amped up by all of the activity disrupting his or her home. To make sure that everyone in the household is able to relocate from one house to the next with ease, we’ve put together a few of our best tips for moving with pets. With any luck, they’ll help you all make it to your new adventure without incident!

Consult the experts

Have a chat with your current vet prior to moving day for a few pointers from an expert. Most vets will be able to tell you all about possible complications pets can experience with the stress of moving, relaxation methods you can employ to keep your four-legged friend calm throughout the process, and even acclimation techniques for after you’ve arrived. When you have all the information, you can better prepare for a smoother transition for every member of your family.

Put together an overnight kit

As you pack up the house, single out the items you’re more likely to need for your pet and put them all together in an easily accessed kit. Ensure that everyone in the house knows about this care package of sorts, and store it somewhere you won’t forget or that would be hard to reach in case of an emergency. This pack might include any medications your pet is on, treats, favorite toys, a blanket, and anything else that you could need to be able to retrieve at a moment’s notice.

Prepare a safe zone

During the process of packing the car or truck, and then again when it’s time to unpack, keep your pet in a quiet, safe location out of the fray. Not only will this make it easier on you to get things done, knowing where your pet is and that he or she won’t be roaming about, but doing so means that your favorite companion is out of harm’s way. In the chaos of rearranging furniture and carrying heavy boxes into your new home, pets who are underfoot can get stepped on or otherwise injured accidentally. And if you have a pet that is strictly indoors, you can eliminate the risk of letting him or her outside during all of the trips in and out.

Moving day doesn’t have to be quite as stressful where your pets are concerned! And with a reliable real estate agency on your side, you have representatives who are willing to streamline the paperwork and other processes so you can focus on the finer details – like remembering where you packed your playful puppy’s second favorite ball.


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.


Pumpkin-inspired Recipes to Share this Fall

Every year, when the seasons transition from summer to fall, pumpkin flavors infiltrate all of our favorite foods and drinks: seemingly overnight!

Rather than grab a pumpkin spice latte and call it a day, we decided to try and find some of the best pumpkin-inspired recipes that actually use the fruit we normally keep around as seasonal décor. Below we’ve listed out a few of our new favorites for really sinking into autumn, and we think that you and your household’s holiday guests will appreciate them, too!

Pumpkin Bread

It’s an old stand-by, but pumpkin bread is one of those items that helps kick off fall with the right combination of comfort and taste. Whether you like to spice things up and include nuts and raisins, or leave it plain so as to really savor the pumpkin and cinnamon notes, there’s no denying that this is one treat everyone should get a sample of this fall.

Pumpkin Polenta

Traditionally an Italian form of porridge, polenta is a grain dish that’s perfect as a side or a breakfast option. With a touch of pumpkin puree thrown into the mix, your guests can have a fresh take on this classic culinary delight, and a taste of the season to top it all off! There are plenty of delicious polenta recipes out there to use as baselines, but this pumpkin sage polenta combination is one of the best we’ve found for beginners and experienced cooks alike.

Pumpkin Pasta

We know what you’re thinking; what could pumpkins possibly have to do with pasta? But the answer is simple! Pumpkin’s versatility and richness can add a whole new layer to your favorite pasta dishes. You can incorporate this element in a number of ways; slices of pumpkin cooked with other vegetables, or a pumpkin puree simmered into the sauce are our favorites.

Pumpkin Soup

Here in southeastern North Carolina, it can take a little longer for a really distinct fall chill to settle into the atmosphere. So in the meantime, you might want to try a soup that gives you that cozy, warm feeling in your bones without being too rich and heavy for days when the sunshine keeps our climate mild. Most recipes call for chicken broth and olive oil, which helps achieve this balance between savory and light, but the amount of pumpkin versus heavy cream (or coconut milk if you’re trying to watch your dairy) can really make the difference in density.

Pumpkin Biscuits

Any local will tell you that a southern meal just isn’t complete without a serving of biscuits to compliment the other dishes. This fall, bring some healthier and seasonally appropriate offerings to the table! Pumpkin puree, along with some Greek yogurt, means that the amount of butter that would typically go into the mixture before baking is significantly reduced. And while that might immediately turn off some die-hard lovers of rich, hearty biscuits, this recipe we found promises the same flaky texture and buttery taste, with the added benefit of that distinct hint of autumn flavor from the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pie

It’s a time-honored tradition, and everyone has a favorite recipe that’s practically become a necessary fixture of every holiday gathering. Whether you make your own pumpkin pie or have a bakery you trust above anyone else to create the best one when you need it, very few would deny that it’s one of the best ways to indulge in a sweet treat and enjoy the pumpkin flavor while it’s in vogue.

While you heat up your oven, or prep your shopping list so that you know precisely what you need to give one of these scrumptious recipes a try, stay tuned to our blog for more tips to make the most of the season!


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!


House Flipping Tips and Tricks

You’ve heard the success story: a worn-down eyesore, an optimistic buyer, and a quick transformation followed by an even faster sale. Flipping houses can be a lucrative occupation, but it certainly isn’t an easy feat. If you’re interested in trying your hand in the market, you’ll want to keep a few insider tips in mind.

Don’t go it alone

From buying, to the renovations, and then to the actual sale of your project, it helps to have some experienced professionals on your side to help streamline the process. And if you’ve never tried to flip a house before, it’s even more important to have a helping hand or two at your disposal. Build your team by talking to real estate agents, contractors, and other seasoned homeowners you can trust to point you in the right direction.

Shop wisely

While it’s always incredible to watch a run-down property be remodeled into a functioning home again, be sure that you can put your money where your mouth is and that you don’t purchase too ambitiously. Before buying a house to flip, make a sound budget that you can easily stick to throughout the renovations. That way, you’ll know from the beginning how much you have to allot to the purchase itself and any costs incurred afterward.

Check your expectations

When the remodeling is done and you put the newly-decorated home back on the market, remember that the idea is to engage in a quick sale, not haggle over every nickel and dime. The success of house flipping lies in the ability to close each deal efficiently. As such, you probably won’t make very much off the first few sales. Don’t get discouraged! If you find that flipping houses is something you enjoy, keep a record of your successes and setbacks so that each time there are fewer surprises and more to gain!

Timing is everything

The housing market is in constant flux, so above all else, remember to be patient and time your purchases and sales accordingly! At this stage, an experienced real estate agent is your best bet in learning the ropes and optimal times for buying and selling property in your area. Flipping a house is only possible when the conditions are right for buyers, so you’ll need to catch those waves as they come.

If you’re ready to buy or sell a home, contact Intracoastal Realty and get connected with some of the most knowledgeable agents in the coastal North Carolina area!