Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Events on North Carolina's Crystal Coast

This weekend there will be Easter bunnies, egg hunts, Peter Cottontail and so much more hopping down North Carolina's Crystal Coast. Whether you already live here or are just visiting, be sure to visit one of the following events for a weekend full of Easter fun.

Beaufort Historical Association Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, March 30, 11 AM
Cost: FREE

Hop over to the Beaufort Historic Site on the 100 Block of Turner Street and join the fun at the Beaufort Historical Association’s Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday, March 30 at 11 AM. Children ages seven and younger are invited to search for hidden eggs filled with candy and enjoy light refreshments.

The BHA Easter Egg Hunt is fun for the whole family. Children will be divided into age groups and sent to different areas of the Historic Site to search for eggs. All you need to bring is your Easter basket and arrive early for the start of the hunt.

Morehead City Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, March 30, 9:30 AM

The Annual Morehead City Parks & Recreation Department Easter Egg Hunt will be held Saturday, March 30 at 9:30 AM at Rotary Park— 2200 Mayberry Loop Road in Morehead City. The egg hunt activity areas are divided into the following age groups: 4 and under, 5 through 8, and 9 through 12.

Thousands of eggs will be in each age section and kids tend to snatch these up at supersonic speeds, so please plan to arrive early! The eggs are sometimes even collected in under two minutes! You won't want to be late for this event.

Pine Knoll Shores Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, March 30, 10 AM
Cost: FREE

The Easter Bunny always finds his way to Garner Park, located on Oakleaf Drive, to hide hundreds of eggs for the kids. Although the hunt is geared toward children 12 and under, this Easter event is fun for the whole family! 

Wishing you a very hoppy weekend in the Coastal Carolina area!

Gena Gilbert

Thursday, March 21, 2013

6 Common Tax Mistakes Coastal Carolina Homeowners Make

As you prepare your tax returns this year, consider each and every home tax deduction and credit you are (or are not) entitled to by owning a Coastal Carolina home. By overlooking these common home-related tax mistakes, you may end up paying more out of pocket than necessary. Below are six common tax mistakes for you to watch out for and avoid.

Property Taxes— Deducting the Wrong Year
You only take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year that you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some tax authorities work a year behind— meaning you are not billed for 2013 property taxes until 2014.

Enter the amount you actually paid in 2013, no matter what date is listed on the tax bill. In the past, homeowners mix up payments for different years and end up claiming the wrong amount.

Escrow Amount— Confusing for Actual Taxes Paid
If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don't just deduct the amount escrowed. The amount you pay into escrow each month to cover your North Carolina Crystal Coast property taxes is most likely a bit more or less than your total property tax bill. The lender will adjust the amount every so often to realign them. Deduct only what the actual amount is. For instance, if your tax bill is $1,200, but your lender collected $1,100 or $1,300 in escrow, deduct only the $1,200. Don't just add up the twelve months of payments.

Refinancing— Deducting Points Paid
This deduction is complicated and often doesn't amount to much of a deduction. It also has to be recaptured if you turn a profit when you sell your Coastal Carolina home. Be sure to only claim it if it's worth those drawbacks.

Home-related Expenses— Failing to Track
The truth is, many homeowners forget to track their home office, home maintenance, and repair expenses. Remember to file documents as you go and as you purchase them. This way, you won't be scrambling when the IRS comes knocking at your door.

Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction— Claiming Too Much
You can only deduct mortgage interest of up to $1 million of mortgage debt. If you have more than that, only deduct the mortgage interest up to the first $1 million.

Energy Tax Credits— Filing Incorrectly
If you installed improvements like energy-efficient windows and doors in 2012, or will in 2013, you may be eligible to take a 10% tax credit up to $500. But if you claimed the credit in recent years, you're done. For this, fill out Form 5695.

By paying close attention to these common tax mistakes made by the owners of Coastal Carolina homes, your tax return should go as smoothly as possible.

Gena Gilbert

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Coastal Carolina St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend and where better to celebrate the occasion than along the Crystal Coast of North Carolina? The Emerald Isle is the perfect place to don your green attire and indulge in the traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage. Below are a list of events in the area for you to attend this weekend. Know of any more? Be sure to let me know which you love most!  

Emerald Isle St. Patrick’s Festival
March 16th, 9 AM-5 PM
Emerald Plantation Shopping Center

Admission and parking are FREE for this festival sponsored by the Emerald Isle Business Association. With over 75 arts and crafts vendors, amusement rides, face painting, and food (corned beef and cabbage, shrimp burgers, hot dogs, hamburgers, Mediterranean cuisine, BBQ, funnel cakes, fried peanuts, cotton candy, and even a beer garden), you will not want to miss this Irish-inspired local event in Emerald Isle, NC. Also, starting at 11 AM is this Little Mr. and Ms. Leprechaun Contest where children ages 2-3 and 4-5 are judged on the creativity of their costume and stage presentation.

1st Annual Shamrock Run
March 16th, Registration begins at 8 AM at First Citizens Bank (Corner of Turner and Front Streets); Race on the Beaufort Waterfront at 9 AM

This race includes a 5K and 1 mile distances with all proceeds going to aid the Carteret County Domestic Violence Shelter. Entry fees: $15 for adults, $7 children 6-13, FREE for children under 5. Special pricing of $40 for families of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids under 13).

Kelly's Running of the Leprechauns and 24th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 16th and 17th
Nags Head, NC

Saturday begins the Running of the Leprechauns race with an 8K/5 mile course complete with road and trail. On Sunday, come watch the largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in North Carolina as it travels along the greenest mile in the Tarheel state. With over 10,000 spectators in attendance and 1,500 participants including floats and marching bands, live music, and more. Parade begins at 1 PM rain or shine and travels along the NC 12 beach road in Nags Head between mileposts 10.25 and 11.25. 

Gena Gilbert