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!

 

 

 


Setting the Stage

When trying to sell your home, you want to make sure its best features are on display without going over-the-top or downplaying anything that could sway a potential buyer. Obviously, the exterior of a house is easier to show off in spring or summer, when the sun is out and your grass is a pleasant shade of green. But even when winter is still keeping the plant life to a minimum, the experts here at Intracoastal Realty have a few ideas to combat any lingering winter chill.

Keep everything accessible

There’s a reason the term is “spring cleaning.” But, in order to put your house’s best foot forward and get it sold, you might have to bust out the gardening gloves a little earlier than planned. The very first impression you can give is of your home’s exterior, so make it a memorable one – and in a good way, too. Clear the walkways, establish comfortable paths between shrubs and other plant life that will be returning in the spring, and in the case of snow or ice, be sure to shovel the sidewalk and steps when a potential buyer is coming over.

Timing is everything

Some homeowners like to spruce up the outdoors with some decorative lighting, even before and after the major holiday season. You can use this to your advantage if you’re trying to sell your house when the branches are more than likely bare. Strands of twinkling lights and strategically placed adornments can fill up the empty space left once the leaves fall, and go a long way in making your home look and feel warm and comforting, even when the temperatures outside say otherwise.   

Play to your strengths

Let’s face it: every house has its flaws. The advantage to selling yours in wintertime, though, is that if it’s a matter of a small yard or otherwise awkward terrain, you can go ahead and address these drawbacks openly with potential buyers while still having plenty of room without encroaching foliage to point out the positives. Take a walk around the property with your real estate agent and take stock of the pros and cons, then discuss the best ways to present them to those that come for a viewing of the house. With the right agent, any interested parties will promptly get both sides of the story, without you truly risking the sale in favor of disclosure.

No matter the time of year, putting a house on the market is always going to be a challenge. With experienced agents like those at Intracoastal Realty, you can be sure that you have someone to walk you through every step of the process. Contact us today to get started!


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.


Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Your Property Value

Home Improvement House Meaning Renovate Or RestoreThe real estate market is on fire! When we have a market like this, it may be the right time to prepare your property for sale. If you’re considering substantial changes, they could affect the property’s overall market value. Here are four remodels to avoid and four to consider before listing your home.

Posted on Feb 23 2017 – 10:57am by Housecall / Brooke Nally

Remodels to Avoid:

Luxury Rooms

An indoor basketball court, wine cellar, sauna, or even a movie theater won’t often recoup the high building costs. Luxury add-on rooms are hard to pitch to buyers unless you’re living in an upscale housing market—the average homebuyer won’t be willing to pay for them. Further, rooms that depend heavily on wired electronics, like home theaters, are hard to keep current because TVs and speakers are constantly advancing.

Swimming Pool

The average cost to build a pool is $39,084, a hefty price tag that is seldom recovered once the home is sold. It’s widely accepted throughout the industry that a homeowner will lose money by adding a swimming pool. Homebuyers don’t want to deal with the maintenance cost of a pool (which can cost as much as $2,000 a year), the added insurance premiums, and—if they have young kids—the safety issues.

Gaudy Accents

Though gold-plated crown molding or mosaic-tile backsplashes may feature prominently in your ideal vision for your home, they often turn out to be the average homebuyer’s worst nightmare. Passing fads or niche trends rarely stick around long, so if you miss the brief window when your remodeling choices are in, you’ll end up paying for it later.

Changes Contrary to Area Standards

If you aren’t watching the trends common to your area, you could end up losing a lot of money. A home that totals $600,000 after all the renovations won’t sell in a neighborhood where homes are netting half that price. Likewise, knocking down the walls of extra bedrooms for an open layout won’t be appealing in a family-oriented neighborhood.

Remodels that Pay:

Steel Doors

You don’t want to go cheap on a standard front door. At roughly $1,000, steel doors are comparatively affordable, durable, low maintenance and burglar resistant. As an added bonus, the National Association of Realtors® reports that steel door upgrades show the highest return on investment of any home remodel, at over 100 percent of the cost.

Solar Panels

As the price of solar panels continues to drop, the energy payback on installing them is becoming greater and greater. The average rooftop solar system is now paid off in seven and a half years. After that, panels are a big money-saving asset. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory notes that homebuyers “consistently have been willing to pay more for a property” with solar panels—a premium of around $4 per installed watt, on average.

Related: Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Solar Panels?

New Siding

The exterior of your house is the first thing potential homebuyers see when they come to your home, and you want to make the best first impression. This is part of the reason redoing your siding is so profitable. New siding recoups around 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors®, thanks largely to the increased curb appeal and improved energy efficiency it provides.

Broadband Access

Access to broadband speeds is considered an essential utility for today’s connected homebuyer. Research shows that faster internet speeds increase your home value by as much as 3 percent. Homeowners can prepare their homes for higher broadband connectivity by working with area providers to install requisite equipment and wiring. Building out wall ports and cable-hiding baseboards is a good move to attract buyers, too.

Even if you’re not considering selling your home just yet, keep potential selling benefits in mind. Intrepid homeowners know that the best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.