Thursday, April 25, 2013

Going Green in Your Coastal Carolina Home

You've heard the term "going green" countless times and now that you're considering bringing your Crystal Coast beach home into the eco-friendly era, you're wondering what that really means. It seems everyone is jumping on the green train in real estate and the good news is it's not just a trend. Many potential homebuyers are searching for homes with that eco-friendly factor and find it essential for their future homes to follow the lifestyle too.

So what does it really take for your Coastal Carolina home to be green?

According to Zillow, the standard for going green is LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a system of the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED buildings are specifically designed to conserve resources, reduce waste, lower costs, and keep both you and your family safe in terms of a healthy living environment.

But you don't have to build a new home to be a LEED-inspired home. The standards can be applied to new construction or existing homes in the Crystal Coast area. You don't need to go so far as to obtain LEED certification for your home, but the principles can be applied quite easily.

1. Switch to low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint.

2. Use fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs (light-emitting diodes) instead of incandescent lights.
3. Install low-flow toilets and other energy conserving appliances and fixtures.
4. Install rain barrels at your downspouts.
5. Switch your laundry to cold water instead of hot.

It doesn't take a lot of work to make your North Carolina home eco-friendly for your family. Going green at home is so great many celebrities are implementing upgrades in their homes as well. Think Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, and Cameron Diaz, to name a few. With just a few tips and some standard home supplies, you too can be on your way to a greener, healthier lifestyle in your Crystal Coast home.

Gena Gilbert

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Earth Day on North Carolina's Crystal Coast

Earth Day is a great time to celebrate living a cleaner, greener lifestyle and make the switch to options better suited for our environment. The following events are happening in the Crystal Coast area for you to participate and pledge your help to making the world a better place— even if you only start with planting a few flowers.

Explore Rachel Carson Reserve
Friday, April 19, 2013
9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Take part in a hike through the varying habitats on Town Marsh and Bird Shoal led by the NC Maritime Museum. Reservations are required and the event is priced at $15. For more information, visit 

Crystal Coast Earth Day Festival
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach
10 AM - 3 PM
This FREE event is your chance to get close to marine creatures like whelks and sea stars with a touch tank, meet rescued wildlife, make coastal North Carolina crafts, and learn more ways you can help protect the environment. Come join Cape Lookout National Seashore and other environmental educators for this Earth Day celebration that will be fun for the whole family.

Other Earth Day Activities:

Cape Lookout National Seashore

A boat ride just three miles offshore brings you to the islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore. Experience the environment by horse watching, shelling, fishing, or birding— notice how your lifestyle can affect the animals in their habitats.

North Carolina Aquariums
Open 9 AM - 5 PM
Adults $8, Children $6
There are 4 North Carolina aquariums you can visit on Earth Day— Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores, and Fort Fisher, and Jennette's Pier. Take a look inside their marine environments and learn how we can help take better care of them.

Fort Macon State Park
Your local parks are great places to spend Earth Day. Grab a few friends and help pick up any litter you see or simply enjoy their beauty on a special holiday to celebrate their future.

Gena Gilbert

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Preparing to Sell Your Crystal Coast Home

With recent studies suggesting the housing market has returned, consumer confidence is higher than ever, and more and more mortgage applications being filed, it's a great time to think about placing your North Carolina Crystal Coast home up for sale. The following tips can help you determine if you're ready to sell your home and if so, how to ensure buyer's they are getting the best possible deal on the local real estate market.

Are you ready?
This is the first question to ask yourself in the home selling process. You'll want to think about what you would want to see in the home if you were making the purchase. The goal is to show that your home looks attractive, maximizes space, and attracts buyers by making any necessary repairs, painting, or adding updates to give your home an edge.

When to Sell
The weather has a lot to do with when buyers search for homes and when they are more apt to buy. The Crystal Coast real estate market may be hotter in the summer when families have more free time to look at potential properties with children out of school and more properties tend to be on the market at this time. Home prices also tend to have more to do with demand patterns rather than the time of year— so with inventory higher in the summer months, home prices will reflect that.

Improving Value
Buyers often choose the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. They want the best deal and improving the value in your Atlantic Beach home can help them make the right decision. You'll want to show your home as the best in the area, a great deal while not over-improved. Cosmetic improvements are a great place to start: replacing windows, adding new coats of paint, and putting your time and energy into landscaping. These improvements are good investments that you can earn back with the sale of the home. Mechanical repairs to make sure all appliances and systems are in good, working condition are also required to get a top price.

The goal of preparing your North Carolina home for sale is to ensure it is competitive with other homes on the local real estate market. As buyers tour numerous homes on their search, you'll want yours to stand out as both a great deal and ideal property.

Gena Gilbert

Friday, April 05, 2013

Understanding the Crystal Coast Buyer

Choosing a home along North Carolina's Crystal Coast isn't always just about considering price, condition, and location. Today's market is throwing home buyers a curve and some are no longer so certain a home purchase is a great investment.

If you're a home seller, the key to helping the right buyer find your home is in understanding what they face on today's Crystal Coast real estate market, so you ultimately can make the right moves to lead to the long-awaited purchase.

Price to Sell
Buyers always begin the search for homes with prices. While they may scour neighborhoods or take a look at homes out of their price ranges, buyers know their price and use it when it comes to serious shopping for their future home.

Walking through homes, buyers will make fast decisions based on size, condition, and location as compared to the listing price. Ask yourself, as the seller, does your home offer the buyer enough bang for their buck?

Stage to Sell
Buyers have a wealth of resources to compare Crystal Coast homes and will use them when on the house hunt. With videos, virtual tours, photos and feature sheets, buyers can quickly sort through homes to compile the shortlist of what really interests them. Be sure to de-clutter, clean, update, and stage your home to allow it to stand out among the rest.

Just as you researched before placing your home for sale, so have the buyers. They know which homes are overpriced and may make the assumption that the seller is unmotivated or has unrealistic expectations. If you place yourself in their shoes, just think— the buyer will make an offer on the home that offers the most for their money and the one that appears most reasonable to an offer. Does your home suggest that you're closed to negotiation? Ask yourself and use your answer to better determine if your home is priced, and staged, correctly.

The Buyer and the Bank
If buyers are serious about purchasing a home, they will not wait for long. They will share their financial information with banks and get prequalified with a lender who will tell them exactly what they can afford. However, applying for mortgages and obtaining loans is not as easy as it used to be. They now require stricter proof from buyers that they are able to repay their loans, which then qualifies them at much lower levels. Ask yourself, as the seller, are you willing to help the buyer purchase your home by paying aspects of the sell?

If you've asked yourself the necessary questions and are ready to work with buyers on the Crystal Coast real estate market, then you are that much closer to making the sell. Ready to purchase your next home? Let's chat!

Gena Gilbert