Network Wilmington Real Estate News

Dec. 11, 2018

What To Do On Christmas Day At Home

I’m sitting here with a huge smile on my face, as I just sent out the very last of this years’ Christmas cards...finally. But now that the cards are out and I’ve done all my shopping, I still have one more thing to worry about - what to do on Christmas Day at home?

I’m inviting the whole family over to my house for the first time in my adult life, so I did some research to make sure I get everything perfect. Here are the main points I’ll cover in this post:

  • Traditional Christmas Day Activities & Games
  • Out-Of-The-Box Activities & Games
  • Activities & Games specifically for kids, teens, adults, and the whole family.

Okay, so I know you’re excited to get down to business, so let’s dive in!

 

 

What are some Traditional Christmas Day Activities & Games?

 

When it comes to the holidays, I’ve always been more of a traditionalist. Of course, it’s always fun to color outside the lines. But there’s nothing better in my opinion than the nostalgia that floods me every Christmas when I’m with my family and we’re doing all the same activities we’ve done since before I was born.

The following list includes all the things my family and I do every year, along with other traditional activities & games I found around the web that sounded really fun.

 

1 - Traditional fun for Young Kids and The Whole Family.

 

Sing along with “The Twelve Days Of Christmas”. As a complete introvert, I’ve always had a strong love/hate relationship with this game. If you’ve never played, all you do is sing through the verses of the song, and have a different member of the family sing each day’s gift.

There are sure to be a ton of laughs with this one when Grandpa forgets his line, or Uncle Bill sings hilariously off key.

Decorate gingerbread houses. Even as an adult, this is one of my favorite Christmas activities. I think it’s because I’ve always had an artistic personality, and I love how each house comes out truly unique, based on its maker.

Not to mention, the houses are a blast to destroy and eat after Christmas.

Make a garland out of popcorn. Here’s a fun one to do with the kids, especially if you have any leftover popcorn from any of your Christmas parties. It’s really easy too, just take a thread and use a dull crochet needle (or even a toothpick) to thread it through the popcorn.

Then you and the kids can snack on the garland for the next couple of days.

Paint Christmas ornaments. Here’s another fun one for the creative types out there. You can get as intricate as you want here, but some ideas for things to paint to get you started would be things like snowflakes, Santa, elves, reindeer, presents, and Christmas trees.

You can also just fill clear ornaments with snow-like glitter if you don’t want to deal with the paint.

 

2 - Traditional fun for Teens and Adults.

 

Watch a classic Christmas movie. This is definitely one of my favorite ways to get fully into the holiday spirit on Christmas morning. Every family will have their own go-to movies, but some that I’ve grown up on include:

How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Christmas Story, The Year Without A Santa Claus, Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer, and Miracle On 34th Street.

Exchange cookies. Everyone wins with this activity. Just have everyone bake their favorite cookies and place them in a non-see-through container. Then you can use tape to assign a number to each container and let people draw numbers out of a Santa hat to get their cookies.

Of course, most people will be willing to share anyway, so you really can’t lose.

Play trivia. I play trivia down at a local restaurant every Wednesday, so this is right down my alley. This one can be completely free too since you can look up the Christmas related trivia questions online & then just print them out.

I found some good questions for you here.

Play Christmas bingo. Like the last activity, this one is nearly free, since you can print out all the materials online. It’s just like normal bingo, except you’ll get a Christmas related clue instead of someone calling out a number.

If you have a square on your board that matches the clue, you can cross it out, and the rest is just like normal bingo. I found some resources for you here.

 

What about some Out-Of-The-Box Activities & Games for Christmas Day?

 

Now that you’ve seen a bunch of options for the more traditional activities and games you and your family can play this Christmas, it’s time to check out some unique ideas that I found.

Some of these look really fun, and I’m definitely testing them out with my family this year.

 

1 - Out-Of-The-Box fun for Young Kids and The Whole Family.

 

Hunt for Candy Canes. If your kids love hunting for Easter Eggs, they’re going to love hunting for Candy Canes just as much. It’s a simple idea, but I’m extremely surprised to say I’ve never heard of it before.

Needless to say, we’re going hunting this Christmas!

Play Reindeer Toss. This one looks really fun if you’ve ever enjoyed ring toss type games. Just take a cardboard box, flip it over bottom-side up, stick two antler-like sticks into the top of the box, then form rings out of pipe cleaners and see who can get the most of them around the “antlers”.

You can also draw a face on the box so it looks more like a reindeer.

Play "What's In The Stocking". This is like the Christmas version of a game I used to play as a kid on Halloween, where we’d put weird-feeling items like peeled grapes into a box and have people reach in and guess what they were touching.

This time you’ll put the items into a stocking, and you’ll confuse them by using things shaped like common Christmas items. For instance, use an onion to make them think of an ornament, or a carrot to make them think of a candy cane.

 

2 - Out-Of-The-Box fun for Teens and Up.

 

Do a Dirty Santa (White Elephant) gift exchange. This modern-day Christmas tradition is a favorite for many - myself included. Everyone participating will bring a gift (usually below 20$), which will then be numbered and placed into a pile.

Then people will take turns drawing numbers from a hat and opening the corresponding gift. When you draw, unless you’re the very first person, you get a choice of opening the corresponding gift OR stealing a gift from someone that has already been opened (without getting to open the gift with the same number you drew).

Usually, the same gift can only be stolen up to two times.

Play "Name That Christmas Song". Being a lifelong musician, this is one I’m definitely checking out this year. Someone will act as the DJ and will play short (5 second) clips from classic Christmas songs.

Then the person who guesses the correct song the quickest wins that round. A good number of songs to use for per game is 20.

Play Christmas Carol Pictionary. If you’ve played Pictionary, this is a cool little Christmas twist. Each person will draw the name of a Christmas song out of a hat, which they’ll keep secret.

Then they’ll do their best to get their partner (2 per team is best) to guess the song title through drawing alone. They have 30 seconds to get the other person to guess, or they don’t get any points for the round.

 

3 - Out-Of-The-Box fun for Adults.

 

Scratch off lottery tickets. I know this is weird, but it’s actually a tradition my family and I have been participating in for a couple years now. I mean, who doesn’t like the chance to make some money?

Just buy everyone a lottery ticket as a stocking stuffer, and then you can scratch them off together. Trust me, it’s a lot more fun than it may sound.

Play the "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" Drinking Game. This one might just put you out of commission, and should only be attempted by brave adults 21 and up. The rules are simple - you must take a drink every time you hear something in the movie that rhymes with the word “who”.

Here are some more drinking games related to Christmas movies.

Play "Two Truths And A Lie" Christmas Edition. This doesn’t have to be as scandalous as the typical version, but you can certainly make it that way if you want. For this version, you will tell people 3 gifts that you’ve received in the past.

Of course, only two of these will be true, so one will be false. It will be their job to find the lie.

 

And that’s all I’ve got for you, friends.

 

I hope that the wheels in your head are spinning with all these ideas about what to do on Christmas Day at home - I know mine sure are! I was delightfully surprised by how many options there are for Christmas games & activities, many that I’ve never heard of before.

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and if you’re in the Wilmington, NC area and need somewhere for your out-of-town visitors to stay - I highly recommend the friendly team of agents we have here at Network Realty.

Posted in Local Events
Nov. 30, 2018

How To Add Value To Your Home On A Budget

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you want to make sure you’re getting the best return-on-investment possible. But if you’re money-conscious, or just starting out like me - you need to know how to add value to your home on a budget.

Well, I did some research for us both, and it turns out that there are a whole host of options for making your home irresistible to potential buyers, while still keeping your costs low.

I’ll go into more detail below, but just to give you an overview, the key points are:

  • Focus on what matters most to modern buyers.
  • Make an awesome first impression.
  • DIY as much as much as realistically possible.

Let’s dive right in because I found some hidden gems that’ll serve our purposes greatly that you’ll want to hear.

 

 

What Matters Most To Modern Buyers

 

1 - An Updated Kitchen: According to an HGTV article I was reading, as well as one from Consumer Reports - the number one thing buyers look for in a new home is an updated kitchen. Now, what does that mean for us?

It means we need some affordable options for updating the kitchen’s appliances, countertops, cabinets, faucets, backsplash, and wall color. Before you run off thinking this is too much to worry about, don’t worry, we’re going to prioritize the list so you only have to focus on as many items as your budget can afford.

Luckily, some of the most important things for impressing potential buyers are also the easiest to do yourself. Specifically, I’m talking about the color scheme and the backsplash.

The color scheme. When it comes to painting your kitchen, the best choice is to go with a neutral color scheme. That’s because it’s the most likely to appeal to the largest number of buyers possible. You’ve probably done some painting before in your life, but if you haven’t done it in a while, here’s a great tutorial on painting your kitchen.

Creating your backsplash. Believe it or not, you don’t have to be some crafting genius to make your own awesome backsplash. Here’s an awesome tutorial from This Old House, where General Contractor Tom Silva teaches a total beginner how to do it step-by-step.

When it comes to everything else you could do to update the kitchen, the next most important step is having up-to-date appliances. There’s no need to go crazy here. Essentially, just make sure everything works and is no older than 10 years old max (5 is much better).

 

2 - Open/Flexible Living Space: After updated kitchens, the living space around your house is the next most important area of concern for adding value. There’s been a growing trend towards a more open floor plan in the past 5-10 years, which is especially popular among the millennial generation.

Adding on to that, modern buyers are particularly concerned with flexible living space. Among other things, this allows them to create an office space if they’re working from home (a growing trend).

So, knowing all this, what should we do? Since we’re concerned with budget, my mind instantly goes to a new paint job. Why? Because if all the rooms are generally the same color (again, neutral whites and grays work best) then buyers can easily use any room for any purpose.

I’m sure there are exceptions, but most people wouldn’t want to work from home out of a bright pink former nursery room.

In terms of making your space more open, here’s where you might have to bring out your inner Kool-Aid Man (Oh Yea!) and knock down some walls. This is probably the most difficult task you’ll find in this article, so it’s worth the budget to hire a professional if you don’t feel comfortable.

 

3 - Efficiency/Ease-Of-Use: The last feature that’ll make your house sell like crazy is its efficiency and ease-of-use. When you improve the way your home functions overall, you’re instantly increasing its value in both the short and long term.

Budget wise, the first thing you can do here is to switch out all your lighting for LED lights. They’re more energy efficient so they’ll save buyers money on the power bill. If you can find it in the budget, the next step is high-efficiency windows.

According to EnergyStar.gov, switching out normal double-paned windows for the more efficient versions can save homeowners over $100 a year! If you do go this route, don’t forget to bring it up to any potential buyers so they realize the value.

When it comes to ease of use, the most impactful thing you could do is switching out all carpet for hardwood (or high-quality laminate flooring for us on a budget). Of course, if you really need to save here, this is something you could do yourself.

Here’s the video I used when I helped my parents go through this process in one of their spare rooms recently.

 

How To Make A Great First Impression

 

Context, context, context. As with anything in life, the value of anything is determined by the frame that it’s presented in.

Just like a yummy cheddar cheese filling would make an otherwise delicious blueberry muffin revolting - you could have the most appealing home interior on the planet, and an eyesore exterior would make it unsellable.

Now, I’m not saying that your exterior has to look like the Taj Mahal or anything - only that it can’t distract all the hard work you’ve done to the interior.

 

So, how do we do that?

 

One really cool tip that I found involves taking a black-and-white photo. All you do is go out to the street in front of your house and take a picture, then convert that to grayscale (you can do this on most cell phones these days).

For whatever reason, the lack of color in the photo makes any flaws with your exterior (spots on siding, driveway, windows, etc…) immediately apparent. Just don’t try this tip when you take a selfie - trust me!

Staying with the exterior, one quick thing you can do that’ll have a huge impact is painting your door. You don’t have to go crazy with the colors here, you’ll be amazed at what simply having a fresh coat of paint on the door will do for your curb appeal.

 

Moving on to the interior, this may seem obvious, but you’re going to want your house as clean and tidy as humanly possible. Again, it's all about the way you present your home that makes it valuable in the eyes of potential buyers.

So don’t risk losing value in their minds just because you couldn’t clean up the clothes laying on your bedroom floor. Come on, your mother would be ashamed!

 

And that’s all, folks.

 

I hope that you’ve learned as much from this post about increasing your home value on a budget as I did during all my research. As you’ve seen, there are plenty of affordable ways to increase your home value, and you can do most of them yourself!

I wish you the best in selling your home, and if you’ve yet to find a realtor, I highly recommend the friendly team of agents we’ve got here at Network Realty.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Nov. 21, 2018

How To Host Thanksgiving In A Small House

So I just bought my first place and I’m ecstatic - the only problem is, how to host Thanksgiving in a small house?

After doing some searching online, I found some tips that’ll save anyone in this same predicament. Of course, I’ll explain them all thoroughly below, but they boil down to 3 essential points:

  • Plan the day in advance.
  • Get creative with the space you have.
  • Use your guests to your advantage.

Now that you have the big picture, let's dig in (pun intended).

Planning The Day

Create a Timeline.

This is just a general hosting tip, but it's important because it will allow you to make sure your guests won't be bored at any point in their experience.

Cook things in advance.

Adding on to the first point, if you want to keep your guests entertained well, you can't be slaving away in the kitchen for the whole party (unless you involve them in the cooking process of course).

Cocktails by the pitcher.

In order to save space and time, make large batches of cocktails, rather than individual servings.

Make the trash can visible.

If your trashcan is normally under the sink as it is in my case, make sure to pull it out and make it visible so your guests won't leave trash all over your place.

Using Your Space Creatively

Don’t rely on an oven for everything.

This one's simple. You can only cook one thing at a time in an oven, so the more things you make without it, the quicker the preparation process becomes.

Make space for tables.

The main thing you'll need to serve your guests is something to eat on, so move around your furniture to make space for as many tables as necessary.

Multiple eating tables.

In a small space, you've got to drop the idea of everyone eating at one big table. Instead, have them sit at multiple smaller tables in different areas.

Hanging, not table decorations.

You don't need a huge table cornucopia to charm your Thanksgiving guests. Just hang some fall themed wreaths around the house and you'll have more space for food and games.

Buffet style dining.

Another way to save space (and work) is by putting all the food and drinks in one location and then letting the guests serve themselves.

Leveraging Your Guests

Playing favorites.

The fewer people are at your party, the less you have to worry about the lack of space. Yes, that means you now have a perfectly acceptable reason not to invite your annoying Great Aunt Marg.

Tell them what food to bring.

So that you're not overrun by your guest's food selection, ask each person to bring a specific category of food (Jim brings dessert, Mary brings the dressing).

BYOT/C (Bring Your Own Table/Chair).

If you're going to need more table space or chairs, simply ask guests to bring their own. Trust me, they'll prefer that over eating on the floor.

Ask for help.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask your guests to help you in preparation for Thanksgiving. It can even be a fun bonding experience when you're cooking with your loved ones.


I hope these tips were as much of a revelation to you as they were to me, so you can have a comfortable & memorable Thanksgiving with your loved ones this year.

But after all that holiday cheer, don’t kick them out & force them to stay in a cramped hotel room. Check out our cozy rentals here - before they’re all taken!

Posted in Local Events
Nov. 21, 2018

How To Volunteer To Feed The Homeless On Thanksgiving 2018 In Wilmington, NC

Since my family will be out of town this year, leaving me with no set plans, I’ve been sitting here wondering how to volunteer to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving.

After doing some research, I found 3 different places to volunteer in Wilmington, NC.

  • Good Shepherd Center
  • First Fruit Ministries
  • Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

All 3 options look like great choices, but they’re also distinctly different experiences. Let’s dive a little deeper into this so you can pick the opportunity that sounds like the best choice for you.

 

Good Shepherd Center

First up, we have the Good Shepherd Center. According to their website, they started as a small soup kitchen back in 1983 and grew from there - so they've been around for a while.

More impressively, they had over 500 volunteers last year alone, which is mindblowing when you stop to think about it. As for the experience you'll have volunteering there this Thanksgiving, there is one major thing to keep in mind - you must already be a volunteer in their network in order to serve when the day comes.

So if this opportunity sounds appealing to you, I would sign up right now using the link below so you can go ahead and get approval from them.

 

811 Martin Street

Wilmington, NC 28401

(910) 763-4424

info@goodshepherdwilmington.org

 

Sign up here.

 

First Fruit Ministries

Alright, so the next volunteer opportunity to check out is First Fruit Ministries. Whether or not you're a person of strong faith, this nonprofit looks like a great choice.

They've been serving our local community for the last two decades when founder Rick Stoker felt a calling to help homeless runaway children. Since then, among other things, they've gone on to purchase a property providing housing for individuals and families who are going through difficult life transitions.

In terms of the volunteering, their Food Pantry will be open from 11 AM to 2 PM. Check them out below!

 

2750 Vance Street

Wilmington, NC 28412

(910)794-9656 Ext. 102

 

Sign up here.

 

Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

Next, you've probably heard about Mother Hubbard's Cupboard. If not, they're a little different than our previous opportunities. Instead of providing one hot meal to individuals on Thanksgiving day, they provide a supply of groceries.

This usually amounts to a 3-5 day supply, made up of both shelf-stable foods and frozen groceries. Also, people can come to get these groceries once per month, not just on certain days.

Rather than serving meals, you'll assist the people in gathering their groceries and in checking their information.

 

315 Redcross St.

Wilmington, NC 28401

910-762-2199

volunteer@motherhubbardsnc.org

 

Sign up here.

 

Why Volunteering Is So Important

If you've read this far into the post, it's likely that you already have a desire to volunteer. But I was curious to see if there were any unexpected benefits to volunteering.

Besides the obvious answer that it makes you feel good inside to help others, there were a few interesting things I came up with. The first was making friends, which when I look back I can see has totally been true in my life.

Actually, I met one of my current best friends when I volunteered at a local art camp for kids a few summers ago. The second thing is that volunteering looks great on a resume.

Especially when you're fresh out of college and have little in the way of paid work experience, every little thing counts. Simply showing that you're the type of person who cares about volunteering puts you ahead of more people than you'd expect.


Whether or not your family is in town this year, you can still find an opportunity to give back to your community. It’ll make you feel great for the rest of the holidays, as you’ve fully embraced the spirit of the season.

And if your family is coming to town, give them (and yourself) the gift of space. Check out our rentals before they’re all gone here.

Posted in Local Events
Oct. 22, 2018

How to Have a Spooktacular Halloween in Wilmington, NC

When it comes to Halloween, Wilmington, NC knows how to celebrate. From haunted streets to dinner cruises to theaters to museums, it seems all our favorite places are getting in on the action.

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to celebrate our favorite fall holiday, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve scared up five of our favorite ways to have a spooktacular time. Enjoy!

Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre

Celebrate Halloween by solving an exciting who-dunnit and mingle with unusual characters at the Beau Rivage Ballroom on October 26th. Cocktail Hour starts at 6:15 PM sharp, and you'll be able to get tasty appetizers including: Devilish Chicken Dip w/ Parmesan Pita Points & 'To Die For' Cocktail Meatballs, along with a Cash Bar. 

The dinner itself begins at 7 PM, where you'll have access to Beau Rivage's notoriously delicious Buffett.  All of this while participating in an exciting Murder Mystery!  Don't forget, it's a Mascarade Party, so dress appropriately - there's a prize for best dressed!

Tales from the Grand Guignol

We'd normally recommend the yearly production of Rocky Horror Picture Show at this point, but it was unfortunately delayed until next month due to Hurricane Florence.  But never fear - there's another Horror themed play happening Oct 19-Nov 10! 

'Tales from the Grand Guignol' is an anthology production, showing a variety of tales based on classic horror monsters like vampires, ghosts, & werewolves.  These alternate with classic vaudeville comedy acts, for a truly unique experience unlike anything you're likely to have experienced previously.  The show (with an optional dinner for an extra fee) will start at 7 pm at TheatreNOW.

Haunted Cotton Exchange Tour

The Cotton Exchange is a historic landmark in downtown Wilmington, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in addition to galleries, local stores, and a coffee shop, the place is also teeming with ghosts! And you can meet all of them by signing up for a Haunted Cotton Exchange Tour.

Let by a five-star storyteller, you’ll get the inside scoop on the chills and thrills that await you. Tours take place 7 days a week, tickets are $12, and children under 12 are free. Call (910) 409-4300 to book your spook-fest now.

Creature Feature

If you have a child 5 or under - you can't miss this event.  It's the perfect opportunity to get them interested in the natural world, by introducing them to the things that go bump in the night (aka. snakes, spiders, and other creepy crawlies).  The event takes place Oct. 31st between 10 am - 12 pm, at the Fit For Fun Center.  Call (910) 341-4630 for more info.

Monster Movie Madness At The Mansion

Why should kids have all the fun this Halloween? For an upscale yet scary good time, adults can head to the Bellamy Mansion on October 26th from 7 pm - 10 pm.  There, you'll be treated to a double feature of the original "House On Haunted Hill" & "Night Of The Living Dead". 

They'll project the movies on an outdoor blow-up projector screen, & you'll be able to purchase hot dogs, popcorn, drinks, beer, and wine.  Don't forget to dress up -- and bring your own lawn chairs & blankets for extra comfort!  This is an adults-only party, so - no kids allowed!

View More
Posted in Local Events
Sept. 20, 2018

Hurricane Florence - Insurance Information For Wilmington, NC

First, we hope this article finds you safe & sound. Our hearts go out to all those affected by Hurricane Florence & the subsequent flooding issues.

We understand that most of you are interested in filing insurance claims to help recover from the storm.

Unfortunately, between the generalized news media & the scattered nature of online information, it can be quite a hassle to get the information you need about insurance.

That's why we wrote this all-encompassing article for you - so you can get back in the swing of normal life as quickly as possible!


 

Your Homeowners Insurance Policy & Hurricane Florence.

Unfortunately, a Homeowners Insurance Policy will not typically cover flood damage like we've seen during Hurricane Florence. In fact, policies don't cover flooding at all.

Luckily though, you can buy Flood Insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. Of course, this is something you would have had to have done before the Hurricane hitting Wilmington.

To plan for the future, it's a great idea to consider buying this insurance, which you can usually do through your normal home insurance agent. The best test to see whether you need this extra expense is to simply consider how much flooding, if any, you had during Hurricane Florence.

Every storm is different though, so it's worth considering paying for Flood Insurance even if you had no issues with this Hurricane. This is especially true for residents of a coastal town like our beautiful Wilmington, NC.

 

After the storm hits - how to file an Insurance Claim.

If Hurricane Florence damaged your home or other property, our hearts go out to you sincerely. We hope that your insurance will help foot the bill for most, if not all of the damage. In order for that to happen though, you must file an insurance claim. Here are a few of our best tips for doing so:

  • File the claim as soon as you can. Your provider will generally process the claims in the order they came in, so the quicker you file, the quicker you'll be able to have your repairs done.

  • Write down your claim number and keep it in a convenient location until the insurance company settles your claim. This will make sure that you'll have all the information you need on hand when your insurance provider calls you about the claim, which they undoubtedly will.

  • Keep track of all receipts related to expenses during or after the hurricane. This includes things such as food, gas, travel expenses, hotel costs, etc. There's a chance your insurance company will reimburse you for these expenses, and it's always worth a try.

  • Take photos or videos of the damages, before repair. This helps prove your claim's validity. Additionally, it's helpful to record the date in these photos, by including a view of something timely like a newspaper in the shot.

  • Call your auto insurance agent if you have any damage to your car from flooding or fallen trees.

  • If you have no insurance, reach out to groups such as FEMA. You can do this by downloading their app to your phone, or by calling 1-800-621-3362. They can help provide things such as temporary housing, home repairs, legal help, and crisis counseling.

 

How does Flood Insurance work?

As we mentioned above, it's too late to get Flood Insurance to cover Hurricane Florence at this point. But so you're informed for future storms, there is a 30 day waiting period for Flood Insurance coverage.

This means that you shouldn't wait until the last second to buy it, or else it won't help at all. Another thing to keep in mind is that you have to renew this policy every year.

 

What happens if you don't have Flood Insurance?

Sadly, if you don't have Flood Insurance, it's likely that you'll need to pay for the damages yourself. Though it most likely won't cover all the expenses, FEMA offers a $5,000 disaster grant (one per household). It's certainly better than nothing!

 

Windstorm Insurance

Much like Flood Insurance, many Homeowner's Policies will not cover Windstorm Insurance. This is especially true if you live in a Hurricane prone area like Wilmington. Luckily, you can still buy a separate Windstorm Insurance policy in this area.

 

Rental Insurance

If you're currently renting, it is a mistake to think that your landlord's insurance policy will cover you. If you're in this position, you'll need to buy a separate Renter's Insurance for the insurance company to cover you.

 

Condo Insurance

Similarly, if you live in a Condo, you are not entirely insured by the condo association's policy. Most often, their coverage extends only up until the exterior walls of the condo. This means that you are responsible for the interior walls & everything else inside the unit. You can buy a personal Condo Insurance policy if you are in this position.

 


If Hurricane Florence damaged your home beyond repair, or you need a place to stay while the repairs are being made, we would love to help. Reach out to one of our friendly agents today!

Posted in Local Events
Aug. 30, 2018

What Is HOA Management?

 

What's The Role Of The HOA?

The HOA, or Home Owners Association, is responsible for a variety of activities in the specific neighborhoods & developments it oversees. These activities include:

  • Providing shared services.
  • Collecting dues.
  • Overseeing the maintenance of common areas.
  • Administering a reserve fund, which is used for major expenses.
  • Paying bills with the dues.
  • Enforcing the rules of the community & disputes between residents.

 

What Are The Struggles Of The HOA?

The HOA of any given community is usually run by members of that same community. These leaders are usually elected through a democratic voting process by residents of the community. Because of this, it can be difficult for a new resident to make an impact on their community - if that is something they're interested in doing.

There are also struggles when it comes to being an elected official in the HOA. For instance, you will be doing a lot of work for the community along with attending frequent meetings, all without getting paid for it. This is the reason that many communities choose to outsource their HOA to a professional third-party management company, such as ours.

 

What Does An HOA Manager Do?

HOA management companies like ours simply help a communities Home Owners Association fulfill its many duties. If they decide to go all in with the management company, all they'll need to do from there is maintain a board of decision-makers.

The board may also choose to take calls from the community members & handle disputes between them. Besides that, the HOA management company will fulfill all the other duties mentioned above, taking a huge load off the shoulders of the HOA itself.

 

What Does HOA Management Cost?

The amount that an HOA board will pay to the management company is most commonly calculated based on how many doors or houses they'll be managing, and they'll charge a flat fee for each. Hiring an HOA Manager often saves the board money as opposed to doing it themselves.

That's because the professional managers will have lower cost vendors than they'd be able to get for themselves. Either way, hiring a management company is often the only way for an HOA board to fulfill all their duties.

 


Tips For Home Buyers

 

1) Go to an HOA meeting before you buy.

Sitting in on an actual meeting can tell you all that you need to know about how the community is run, and you'll also get a good gauge on your potential neighbors.

 

2) Figure out what fees you'll need to pay.

There are a variety of things that can impact your fees. For instance:

  • How much goes into the HOA's reserve fund.
  • The annual increase in overall fees, which is common.
  • The things that may or may not be included in the HOA service, such as trash pickup & cable.

 

3) Learn the rules of your HOA.

Specifically, you should find the rules regarding what happens when you don't pay your dues on time. In some cases, the HOA can actually foreclose on your property if this happens for a certain amount of time. Make sure to read the fine print of your HOA's rules & regulations for things like this.

 

4) Check your ego.

If you're not the kind of person who likes abiding by common rules and getting penalized for not following those rules - living in an area with an HOA may not be the choice for you.

 

5) Make sure the home you're interested in buying is in compliance with the HOA rules already.

It would be a shame to move into a place only to find that you're going to have to do immediate renovations in order to comply with your HOA. This compliance breakers often take the form of specific landscaping choices, as well as outside decor options such as the color of your front door.

 


If you're an HOA looking for professional management services, learn more here. If you're a potential home buyer, talk to one of our friendly agents today!

Posted in HOA Management
Aug. 21, 2018

Top Destinations In Carolina Beach, NC For Senior Vacations

If you're like most, there are a few avenues you go down when trying to plan your next vacation: asking friends for recommendations, hiring a Professional Vacation Planner, reading a vacation guide, or simply making it up as you go along.

All of these options have their benefits and limitations. Specifically:

  • Your friends might not share the same idea of "fun" as you & your loved ones.
  • A Vacation Planner can be expensive.
  • There may not be a good Vacation Guide for the place you're planning to visit.
  • Leaving it to chance runs a high risk of disappointment.

So, I've written this article to address those issues - and to put you on the pathway to the most perfect vacation you've ever had in Carolina Beach, NC. Scroll to the bottom for a Map to all the locations mentioned.

First thing's first - what are you looking to get out of your vacation?

*Click on your choice to be taken directly to that section.

Relaxation

Adventure

 

 

Relaxation

1) Lounge on the beach.

You didn't expect to see a Carolina Beach Vacation Guide that didn't mention the beach, did you? Get there early, or come later in the afternoon to avoid the major crowds while you relax and soak up some rays.

 

 

2) Stroll down the Boardwalk.

The next thing you'll want to do for a relaxing trip is to walk along the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, as it was ranked among the top 10 in the country by Food & Wine Magazine. There you'll find plenty of things to keep you full & busy, including fresh fudge, homemade donuts, and a Ferris Wheel.

 

 

3) Visit the NC Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

If experiencing the wonders of the underwater world (without even getting wet) sounds more like your cup of tea, then the Aquarium is the perfect choice for you. You'll see everything from sea turtles to sharks, rays, and eels.

 

 

4) Read on your porch.

At the end of the day, you're here to relax. And if you're the kind of person who enjoys winding down with a good book, there's nothing better than sitting on the porch of your vacation rental with a cup of coffee and your favorite read. Check out some of our options below:

 

 

Adventure

1) Take a Fishing Charter.

If you're in for a real adventure on your next vacation, there's nothing like taking a Fishing Charter. Plus, if you catch something, you'll be able to bring it home to cook for your family. Either way, you're sure to come home with a memorable "Fish Tale".

 

 

2) Hike through the Carolina Beach State Park.

If you're more of the woodsy type, a beautiful hike through the Carolina Beach State Park is certain to delight. You can go it alone, or schedule a tour guide to take you through.

 

 


Looking for a place to stay in Carolina Beach during your vacation? Contact one of our friendly agents below today!

Posted in Vacation Rentals
July 24, 2018

Reasons To Buy A Home In Carolina Beach In 2018

1. Golf Carts!

As of January 1, 2018 - you can legally drive your golf cart down any road with a speed limit 35 and under. If you know Carolina Beach, that's almost all the main roads.

That means you can essentially get anywhere you need to on the island without even using a car - and how cool is that?

2. New Restaurants

The Squeeze Steak and Seafood

Carolina Beach locals will undoubtedly know (and probably love) Pop's Diner. Well, the man behind this town staple, Ralph "Pops" Roof has done it again!

This time, he's focusing on steaks & seafood, along with a large variety of other items. Check out the menu here.

 

Soul Flavor Kitchen & Bar

For the true foodies out there - how about a new restaurant that prepares everything in-house? I'm talking everything - right down to the syrups & bitters that they use for their cocktails!

Aside from the drinks, they serve all sorts of Southern comfort food, including homemade soups, fresh seafood, brisket, and black bean chili. Their signature dish is "Nana Maria's Paella": a delicious mix of seafood in a vegetable and saffron tomato broth. Check out the menu here.

 

Crush and Grind

You've been to a coffee shop before. You've also probably been to a bottle shop. But, have you ever been to a cafe' that seamlessly blends the two? That's exactly what you can do when you visit Crush and Grind in Carolina Beach.

Taste delicious cold brew coffee, made from their own "secret recipe", and grab some local beer or wine while you're there. Check them out here.


 

Interested in buying a home in Carolina Beach in 2018? Reach out to one of our friendly agents today!

Posted in New Home Sales
July 17, 2018

Top 5 Places To Stay In Carolina Beach For Independence Day 2018

 

Looking for something to do for Independence Day 2018 (August 15th)? Then you're going to want to check out Carolina Beach, NC.

And while you're here - you're going to need a place to stay. Luckily, we wrote this article to give you an inside scoop into the top 5 places to stay in Carolina Beach for Independence Day 2018.

First off, why choose to stay in Carolina Beach, when Independence Day only lasts for a day? That's easy - because it doesn't! Okay, technically it does, but not in Carolina Beach.

That's because we've got enough activities going on to easily fill up a few days here with you and your family.

Just to name a few:

 

Painted Man: Fireworks By The Sea & Boardwalk Blast

Bring your entire family for a night of music and fireworks, featuring the area band Painted Man. This Soul, R&B, and Dance Music band can't be missed!

Date: August 23, 2018
Location: (Boardwalk at the Gazebo) Cape Fear Blvd & Carolina Beach Ave North Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Contact: (910) 458-8434
Time: Music: 6:30 PM, Fireworks: 9:00 PM
Cost: FREE
More Info

 

Nu-Blu Concert

If you like American Roots or Country music, then you can't miss the Nu-Blu concert. Don't forget to play around at the Kure Beach Ocean Front Park while you're there!

Date: August 19, 2018
Location: (Kure Beach Ocean Front Park) 105 Atlantic Avenue Kure Beach, NC 28449
Contact: (910) 707-2015
Time: 5 PM - 7 PM
Cost: FREE
More Info

 

Zion Roots: Fireworks By The Sea & Boardwalk Blast

Here's another night for everyone's favorite - music & fireworks! This time, with the funk, pop, & reggae band Zion Roots.

Date: August 16, 2018
Location: (Boardwalk at the Gazebo)
Cape Fear Blvd & Carolina Beach Ave North Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Contact: (910) 458-8434
Time: Music: 6:30 PM, Fireworks: 9 PM
Cost: FREE
More Info

 


Okay, so you've decided to come on down to our sunny beach town for Independence Day 2018 - now you just need a place to stay. Never fear, here are our top 5 recommended Carolina Beach Vacation Rentals.

 

1) Sunshine House

  • Oceanfront
  • Internet Access
  • Four bedrooms upstairs & One on the lower level.
  • Only 4 blocks from the Carolina Beach Pier.

 

2) Peach House A

  • Oceanfront
  • Internet Access
  • 4 Bedrooms and 4.5 Baths
  • Only a short walk from the Carolina Beach Boardwalk & Carolina Beach Lake.

 

3) Luna Sea

  • Oceanfront
  • Internet Access
  • 4 Bedrooms & 2 Baths
  • Located on the Southern end of the island, near the boardwalk and downtown.

 

4) Waterview Condo

  • Oceanview
  • Internet Access
  • 3 Bedrooms & 3.5 Baths
  • Located across the street from Carolina Beach Lake.

 

5) Sun Skipper # 10-E

  • Oceanview
  • Internet Access
  • 3 bedrooms and 2 full Baths.
  • Located near the Carolina Beach Fishing Pier.

Looking for a place to stay in Carolina Beach for Independence Day 2018? Contact one of our friendly agents below today!

Posted in Vacation Rentals