NC Coastal Blog

Holiday Events on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast!

While you may still have a refrigerator full of leftovers, Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season has officially begun! Lucky for us, North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is a great place to kick off the festivities! Events like Christmas parades, art walks, train shows and tree lightings abound in Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Beaufort, Newport, Havelock the the surrounding areas and we’ve listed a few of them below!

Gena Gilbert Real Estate is happy to share a few of the many ways to celebrate the holidays in Coastal Carolina below:

13th Annual Emerald Isle Christmas Parade
November 26, 2016; 3 PM
Highway 58, Emerald Drive
Emerald Isle NC

This holiday parade will begin on Highway 58 in Emerald Isle, with Santa Claus appearing on a float the end of the parade! You can also join in the fun after the parade for the Christmas tree lighting at Merchant’s Park! There will be refreshments, caroling, Santa visits and more.

Morehead City Christmas Art Walk
December 2, 2016; 4 PM to 7 PM
Downtown Morehead City
Morehead City NC

If you’re an art lover, you won’t want to miss this Christmas walk featuring downtown Morehead City art galleries, as well as other participating restaurants and businesses.

22nd Annual John Costlow Christmas Train Show
December 2-4, 2016
Old 1907 Train Depot, 2015 Pollock Street
Beaufort NC

It is the 22nd year for this holiday train show offering a glimpse into the past with antique working model trains of all varieties and sizes. No matter what age you are, you will find something to love from simple train circles around a Christmas tree to giant, detailed systems.

Christmas Tree Lighting
December 2, 2016; 6 PM
Katherine Davis Park, 6th and Arendell Streets
Morehead City NC

Start your holiday season with this Christmas tree lighting downtown Morehead City at Katherine Davis Park. You can find Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday music and activities for the kids!

As always, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about the current real estate market, buying or selling a home in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport and the surrounding areas.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Preparing Your Home for the Holidays in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle NC

lights-163883_960_720We’re well into November now and the holidays are just around the corner along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. If you haven’t already, you may soon begin to jot down your holiday menus, make plans for travel and who you will host in your Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle or Morehead City home.

There is no time like now to prepare your home for the holidays and as your local real estate experts in Coastal CarolinaGena Gilbert Real Estate has provided the following four tips for planning ahead.

Check your oven
You will undoubtedly be doing a lot of cooking and baking over the next month in anticipation of the holidays, so why not check that your oven is running properly? Check behind the appliance to remove any dust or debris that could have fallen onto the cords, clean the inside racks and door with a degreasing spray, and if necessary, change the light bulb.

Create an entryway
When you welcome guests into your Crystal Coast NC home, you should have a place to corral jackets, shoes, and luggage. Create an entryway with a coat rack—or clear space in your closet—and a designated spot for shoes to sit.

Stock your guest rooms
After you take the luggage to your guest rooms, they should be properly stocked with toiletries, sheets and blankets for your holiday visitors. Take inventory of your guest rooms now and purchase extra toothbrushes and pillows, if you don’t have more to spare. Launder sheets and pillow cases, make beds and consider setting out a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Clear out the kitchen
The kitchen will be a popular place this holiday season, so now is the time to clean off countertops, storing any small appliances that currently live out in the open. You will want to create a proper work space for cooking and gathering! Make sure all mail is placed in one area, catalogs and other papers have been organized elsewhere and all of your holiday serving ware and dishes are within reach.

As always, if you have questions about buying or selling a home in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport and the surrounding areas, give Gena Gilbert Real Estate a call today!

How to Keep Your Coastal Carolina Home Safe and Secure

No matter if you’ve lived in your Coastal Carolina home for years or are a new homeowner having just purchased a property in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or the surrounding areas, security remains as important as ever. One small move like forgetting to close the garage door, changing the locks after you’ve moved in or not switching on the porch light when you leave, can leave you at risk no matter where you live.

But not to worry! Gena Gilbert Real Estate is happy to share three must-do’s for keeping your Crystal Coast NC home as safe as can be this fall and throughout the year!

Get to know your neighbors
Haven’t met your neighbors yet? Now is the time! Crystal Coast homeowners should consider getting involved in neighborhood watch programs, especially if you live in a community with a homeowners’ association, talk to those that live around you about local crime or reports of anything suspicious. Nothing to report? Great! But keep a list of your neighbors’ numbers handy in case you need to give them a call in a hurry! It also doesn’t hurt to have them watch over your home if you go out of town.

Get serious about prevention 
Never leave expensive packaging—from a TV, for instance—on the curb or by your trash cans, close your curtains at night and when you’re out of the house, don’t leave valuables visible through windows, lock all doors and garages and keep tabs of everyone who has a key to your Coastal Carolina home. There are many safety precautions you can take to give you peace of mind and keep your home’s security under control.

Install a security system
You don’t need to call on an expensive security system company to install cameras or automated locks for you. Although, if you feel that is your best option, that will do the trick! Homeowners in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport and the surrounding areas can pick up a system at a local hardware store and install themselves to keep costs low. It is also wise to place a security system sign in your yard to keep burglars away.

Gena Gilbert Real Estate is here to answer any questions you have about the local real estate market, as well as improving your home to sell this year! Give us a call today!

What to Do This Halloween on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast

pumpkins-1572864_960_720Halloween is just a few weeks away here on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast! It’s time to start carving pumpkins, filling your candy bowls, preparing for trick-or-treaters and maybe even decorating your home with spooky gear. What’s more, you’ll want to break out your pencils and begin filling your calendar with all of the fun Halloween events happening in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or the surrounding areas.

Below are three fun events coming up during Halloween week on the Crystal Coast!

Howling Hayride at Fort Macon
October 22, 2016; 6:30 PM
Fort Macon State Park
Atlantic Beach, NC

Join the fall fun with a hayride and night hike at Fort Macon State Park! The hayride takes off from the visitor center and continues to the bathhouse, before the 1 mile night hike back along the Elliott Coues Nature Trail.

Trick-or-Treat Under the Sea
October 26-27, 2016
North Carolina Aquarium
Pine Knoll Shores, NC

Visit the North Carolina Aquarium for sightings of ghosts and goblins, and of course, goodies galore! Kids can collect candy from the various booths among the exhibits and participate in Halloween activities. Tickets will be sold from 4:30 to 7:30 on the days of the event.

Halloween Carnival Trunk or Treat 
October 28, 2016; 6 PM to 8 PM
7500 Emerald Drive
Emerald Isle, NC

What a perfect way to celebrate Halloween! Sponsored by Emerald Isle Parks and Recreation Department, Trunk or Treat includes face painting, a cake walk, photo booth, glow in the dark mural and more! Admission to the carnival is two bags of candy per child.

Do not hesitate to reach out to Gena Gilbert Real Estate with any questions about buying or selling a home this year in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or the surrounding areas. We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Stage the Perfect Coastal North Carolina Home

Staging your North Carolina home is an important aspect of the selling process. After all, a well-staged home can help to attract Crystal Coast NC buyers, highlight your home’s best features and allow you to sell much faster than if you’d done little to no prep work. But when it comes to staging in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or the surrounding areas, there is a certain style that piques buyer interest more than others— Coastal Carolina style!

Below are three important tips for staging your home along the Crystal Coast to create the perfect Coastal Carolina vibes:

Keep things simple
Your Coastal Carolina home should feel like an oasis, like you’re on vacation every day of the year— or if this is your second home, at least during the days that you spend there. Keep the decor simple, choose one color palette to remain consistent throughout the entire home and if you must add touches of drama or bold pops of color, try stripes on the drapery or a single accent wall in your chosen hue.

Allow in ample light 
With the beautiful weather that is common in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, and Newport, you will want to continue the trend indoors! Avoid dark blinds or shades in your home’s living spaces and kitchen and allow in as much light as possible. Buyers in today’s real estate market are looking for bright, open, airy spaces and dark rooms may just turn them away. Make sure to clean all windows and swap out any dim light bulbs with new.

Bring in outside elements
Creating the perfect Coastal Carolina home can easily be achieved by bringing in traditional beach elements found outdoors, like sand and shells. These natural elements can be displayed in a decorative vase or bowl or even inside a hollow glass lamp base. But remember the above mantra of keeping it simple! You will want to incorporate these accents—like artwork or picture frames in beach themes—intermittently to avoid turning your home into a gift shop.

You can count on these great tips and more for selling your home on the Crystal Coast with Gena Gilbert Real Estate on your side! Give us a call today for more information about the current real estate market, home selling strategies and available properties in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport and the surrounding areas.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Effectively Downsizing to a Coastal North Carolina Home

box-1605164_960_720There are a multitude of reasons for downsizing to a new home in Coastal North Carolina. Perhaps your children are all grown up and moved out, you’ve retired, your home is just too big for your needs, you’d like a smaller monthly payment or you’d like to relocate— no matter your situation, downsizing can be achieved successfully with the right amount of preparation and research.

It can feel like an overwhelming transition, especially if you’ve been in your home for a number of years, but we are here to reassure you. So where do you start? Below are a few important steps for downsizing to a home on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast and of course, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Gena Gilbert Real Estate!

Take inventory
As the name suggests, downsizing may require you to pare down your belongings. Begin by taking inventory of everything you have, making either a written column or pile for those things you need to donate or toss. It may also be easier to keep a spreadsheet! Be sure to keep your new home’s size and floor plan in mind as you go through your possessions. Everything you are taking should have a home!

Draw the floor plan
We mentioned above that it is important to keep your new home’s floor plan in mind as you decide what to take, so why not draw it up yourself? Keeping tabs on dimensions of the rooms, doors and hallways can be helpful when determining if your current furniture will fit or if you are ordering new, you know which size will work best.

Consider the location
If you are moving to a condominium by the beach, for instance, you will likely not need all of your yard maintenance tools, like a lawn mower or hedge trimmer. Typically condominiums are ruled by an HOA, or homeowners association, and maintenance and upkeep will already be arranged. It is also wise to consider the costs of moving certain items to your new home— in some cases, it may be better just to sell the item than pay to have it hauled to the new property.

Start early and stay organized 
The key to any successful move is to start early and stay organized. Start packing early to avoid tossing items in a rush, label all of your boxes to ensure they get to their proper location, and don’t look back if you’ve decided to let an item go. It will only make downsizing easier if you plan well in advance of your move date.

Gena Gilbert Real Estate is here to help with your home search this year and provide a list of available properties in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or the surrounding areas that meet your needs, wants and budget. Give us a call today!

Your Crystal Coast NC End of Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

water-815475_960_720There’s no doubt about it— summer is coming to an end here on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. Well, the official end of summer, that is. We may have plenty more beautiful weather in store in Beaufort, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Morehead City and the surrounding areas, but that doesn’t mean your home doesn’t need a little extra attention before fall begins.

Gena Gilbert Real Estate is happy to share a few of the many ways you can make sure your Crystal Coast NC home is in shape for the end of the summer and enjoy smooth sailing as we head into the next season!

Clean your gutters
Gutters filled with debris can cause major problems if not tended to regularly. Remove any limbs, leaves, seeds and brush from your gutters and run the hose through them to confirm they can do their job. If necessary, replace any leaky spots or call a professional to assist you.

Clean and repair windows
As we head into the cooler months, you will want to know if there are any spots in your windows where air can escape. If you find gaps, a simple caulking job can do the trick, but if you find your windows in need of replacement, now is the time to do so.

Inspect and treat your deck
In beautiful Beaufort, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Morehead City and the surrounding areas, you likely spend a lot of time on your deck or patio. Take the time to remove any buildup of grime or dirt on your deck, cleaning all of the boards as thoroughly as possible and applying a stain or sealant afterwards. If any boards are loose, replace them now so you can continue to enjoy the great weather!

Inspect and repair your roof
Test your roof for any soft spots that may signal future leaks and identify loose shingles that need replacing. Curling shingles are also another sign that your roof needs attention. Replace these now to avoid any major water problems when the fall and winter rains arrive.

Clean your outdoor garbage cans
A change in the seasons can bring out a variety of different animals— many of which may take an interest in your outdoor garbage cans. These animals have a strong sense of smell, so hose off your garbage can’s exterior and give the inside a deep cleaning. After all, animals around your garbage could eventually cause bigger problems in your home!

As always, do not hesitate to contact Gena Gilbert Real Estate with any questions about buying or selling a home in Coastal Carolina! We look forward to hearing from you!

End of Summer Events on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast

beach-1230733_960_720With the end of August just around the corner, the summer is officially coming to an end! But that doesn’t mean the beautiful weather, fun outdoor events and laid-back Coastal Carolina vibes are disappearing along with it. North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is lucky to experience excellent temperatures and sunshine well past summer’s official close and must-visit events in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport and the surrounding communities will continue throughout the year!

As your local real estate experts, Gena Gilbert Real Estate is happy to include just a few of these events taking place this month, so you can send summer off with a bang!

Alive at Five Outdoor Concert
August 19, 2016; 5 PM to 8 PM
Jaycee Park, Morehead City NC Waterfront

This outdoor summer concert series will continue into October at the Jaycee Park on the Morehead City Waterfront! The concerts are free to attend and take place from 5 to 8 PM— this week’s band is Liquid Pleasure, followed by North Tower on September 2.

Bird Hike
August 22, 2016; 10 AM
Fort Macon Visitor Center, Atlantic Beach NC

Embark on a morning hike from the Fort Macon Visitor Center to explore which birds are native to the area.

Summer Taste of Core Sound
August 26, 2016; 1 PM to 2 PM
1785 Island Road, Harkers Island NC

The Summer Taste of Core Sound will include a full, local seafood dinner complete with silent auction, raffle and live entertainment. This event is a great way to celebrate the local seafood of the area and how you can prepare it at home!

Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival
August 27, 2016; 11 AM to 5:30 PM
Emerald Isle NC

The Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival returns! It has been 17 years since the last time this festival was held in Emerald Isle, so you won’t want to miss the great lineup in store! Performers include Sammy O’Banion, Spare Change, Hip Pocket, Too Much Sylvia, The Tams and Jim Quick & the Coastline.

Questions about how you can call North Carolina’s Crystal Coast your home? Give Gena Gilbert Real Estate a call today!

What to Expect from a Homeowners Association in Coastal Carolina

house-purchase-1019764_960_720If you are planning to buy a condominium, townhouse or single-family home in a community with shared common areas like a swimming pool, you may find that your new house is maintained by a homeowners association or HOA. These associations typically help your home and community run as smoothly as possible and look its best at all times— handling everything from landscaping to maintenance issues. But what exactly do you have to expect from an HOA if you’re new to them?

HOA Fees
In order to cover the costs of maintenance in the community, HOAs will collect either monthly or yearly fees from everyone who lives in their borders. For some homeowners of single-family homes these fees can range from $200 to $300 per month or can be lower depending on the size of your home, the type of property and the specific amenities provided to you. It’s also important to keep in mind that HOAs commonly collect a little more than necessary to cover maintenance costs to build up a reserve should any repairs like a leaky roof arise throughout the year.

HOA Rules
Homeowners associations are run by boards of homeowners who live within the community. These board members are usually elected by the rest of the community’s homeowners and hold regular meetings to discuss issues and make decisions for the better of the community. Given that the HOA is watched over by this board, they will also ensure that homeowners follow a set of established rules— for instance, if you can have pets or if you can install specific landscaping features. Each homeowner will be given a copy of these upon move-in and typically sign a contract that states they agree to follow them.

HOA Rule Violations
If you violate the rules we mentioned above in an HOA in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or the surrounding areas, you could risk being evicted, or worse, foreclosed upon. Be sure you always read and abide by your HOA covenants and rules in order to avoid this!

Gena Gilbert Real Estate is happy to share the details surrounding HOAs, from fees to rules and everything in between. If you have questions about buying a  condominium, townhouse or single-family home in a homeowners association on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, do not hesitate to give us a call!

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast

speech-bubble-1423321_960_720When you decide to buy a home on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, you are inundated with advice and suggestions from friends and family about where to live, when to buy and how much is the right amount to pay for a specific property. Buyers can quickly become overwhelmed on their journey to homeownership in Coastal Carolina— that’s why it’s important to research the facts and figures for yourself ahead of time!

Be sure to answer these three questions on your own before purchasing a home in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, or Newport:

Why am I buying a home?
Buyers tend to easily forget what their goal is in purchasing a home on the Crystal Coast. Is it for access to more space? More bedrooms? To avoid paying rent? A new study found that the major reasons people buy a home in fact has little to do with money, but instead, it’s about finding a nice place to raise their children, access to great schools, a safe place for family to live, more space and unlimited control of the space.

Where are home values going?
Your timeline for buying a home on the Crystal Coast should reflect where home values are headed. In the case of today’s real estate market, home values are only going up from here! In fact, waiting to buy the same home one year from now will cost you significantly more than if you took the steps to purchase the home now! Even the latest Home Price Index by CoreLogic has predicted home values will rise by 5.3 percent over the next year.

Where are mortgage rates going?
A similar question, but equally as important to the North Carolina homebuyer! It’s absolutely key to look at more than just the price of a home in Coastal Carolina when preparing to buy— mortgage rates play a crucial role! Rates have been hovering around historic lows for most of the year, remaining under 4 percent. Rates are not expected to dip much lower and will undoubtedly begin to rise as we head toward the end of the year.

Are you ready to buy a home in Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or the surrounding areas this year? Give Gena Gilbert Real Estate a call!