3 Key Steps to Buying a Home or Condominium in Coastal Carolina

So you’ve decided to buy a home or condominium on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast— now what? The process can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before or have been out of the market for quite some time. But don’t worry! As your local real estate experts in Coastal Carolina, Gena Gilbert Real Estate will walk you through every step of the way to avoid any worries or uncertainties that buyers commonly experience.

Below are three key steps to buying a home in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Havelock, Newport, Emerald Isle and the surrounding areas:

1. Find a real estate agent
Buying a new home on the Crystal Coast is a major financial decision and likely one of the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life! Don’t entrust the search to just anyone. Find a real estate agent that you feel comfortable with and one you can trust. We have an excellent track record of helping buyers in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Havelock, Newport, Emerald Isle and would be glad to assist you!

2. Find a lender
Before you can purchase a home in Coastal Carolina, you will need to meet with a lender to get pre-approved or to determine how much you are able to afford in a property. If you don’t already have a lender in mind, your real estate agent would be glad to provide recommendations so you can start off this major financial move on the right foot!

3. Make a wish list
When buying a home, it’s important to determine what you need versus what you want. You may want marble countertops, but do you really need them? Things you need may include a reasonable commute time or yard for your pets, even a specific number of bedrooms to accommodate your family. Make a list of these necessary items before you begin your home search to streamline the process and rule out any homes that don’t fit.

If you’re ready to make the move to a new home in Coastal Carolina, but have a few questions to clear up first, do not hesitate to give us a call! We’ve helped numbers buyers find their dream homes and we’re here to help you too!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Tax Deductions for Coastal North Carolina Homeowners

March often signals the beginning of spring here on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, but it’s also a time of preparation for another highly anticipated season— tax season! Homeowners in Coastal Carolina are entitled to several deductions that can help you save greatly on your overall tax bill this year, so be sure to make certain you’re taking what you can when filling out your return!

Go over your tax return with a fine toothed comb this year and double check that you’ve taken the following deductions before sending it off!

Private mortgage insurance
For those that did not make a 20 percent down payment, lenders likely required a private mortgage insurance (PMI) to be added into their mortgage payment. This does indeed increase your overall payments each month, but looking on the bright side, you can deduct your PMI as long as your adjusted gross income is less than $100,000.

Energy efficient upgrades
If you’ve made any updates to your NC home such as new insulation, windows, doors, skylights, solar panels, solar water heaters or the like, you may be eligible for this energy efficient deduction. However, note that for certain items like furnaces, there is a lifetime cap of $500, so if you’ve used this up in the past, you will not be able to deduct any more.

Mortgage interest
For loans up to $1 million, homeowners can deduct all of the interest paid on their mortgage. You do need to itemize deductions in order to take it, but keep in mind it’s often worth it to write off everything you’ve paid in interest for the previous year. For instance, on a $300,000 fixed-rate 30-year loan with a 4 percent interest rate, you would be able to deduct over $10,000.

Spring is a full season for homeowners in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Havelock, Newport, Emerald Isle and the surrounding areas, especially if you plan to sell in the near future! Give Gena Gilbert Real Estate a call today for more information about how you can take advantage of the current market this spring!

We’re here to help!

Your Crystal Coast NC Home Maintenance To-Do List for March

clover-445255_960_720March is here and as we gear up for the official start of spring here on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, there are a few maintenance tasks you will want to complete around your home. From cleaning the gutters to tending to your yard and flowers, preparing for the spring season now will allow you to relax and enjoy later!

Below are four tasks for your to-do list this month:

Clean the gutters
Clogged gutters can cause major issues both inside your home and out if left unattended. Take the time to remove any debris like leaves, sticks and dirt that may have accumulated there over the past several months. After you’ve finished, flush water through to ensure all clogs are gone and water can flow through freely.

Clean your A/C exterior
Your A/C condenser, like your gutters, can become home to dirt, dust and debris if not cleaned regularly. Find the unit outside of your Crystal Coast home and spray with a garden hose to remove the debris. Be careful if pressure washing as you could bend or damage the exterior of the A/C unit.

Prune and prep your yard
If you have rose bushes in your yard, now is when you’ll want to begin pruning them for the most beautiful blooms as the season progresses. Remove sticks, branches and rocks from the yard or garden beds and if you find any dead or diseased buds on your floral bushes, remove them to avoid spreading to the others.

Clean the siding
Dirt and grime can shorten the life of your home‘s siding, not to mention dull its appearance. Use a pressure washer to quickly remove the build-up and get your home look spic and span for the spring— or potential buyers if you’re ready to sell.

March is a great month to take care of the above tasks at your North Carolina home, but also to consider selling and beginning your home search if you’re interested in moving to a new property in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Havelock, or Newport.

Give Gena Gilbert Real Estate a call today with any questions!

January and February Events on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast!

time-273857_960_720We’re off and running into 2017 here on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast and if you’re ready to jumpstart your year with all of the fun events the local communities have planned, then you’re in the right place! You can always count on Gena Gilbert Real Estate to share the many ways you can enjoy Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport and beyond and we’ve listed a few festivals and happenings going on this January and February for you below!

Be sure to mark your calendars for the following upcoming events in Coastal Carolina:

6th Annual Clam Chowder Cook Off
January 20, 2017; 6 PM to 8 PM
Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center
Beaufort NC

Participants will enjoy a tasting-sized portion of each of the four chowders prepared by four local restaurants and then vote for their favorite. But that’s not all! This year’s clam chowder cook off will also include a cornbread taste off! The four restaurants competing include Finz Grill with Chef Heather Hill and Amanda Girard, Clawson’s 1905 Restaurant & Pub with Chef Jon McGregor and Chef Corrie Robbins, Dock House Restaurant with Chef Gene Yarbrough and Donald Fulcher, and the Boathouse at Front Street Village with Chef Kenny Collins and Julie Mills.

7th Annual Mac Daddy’s Winter Festival
January 28, 2017; 10 AM to 5 PM
Mac Daddy’s Family Entertainment Center
Cape Carteret NC

Say goodbye to winter boredom with this annual winter festival including games, face painting, music, cakewalk, contests and more! Local businesses will also be present showing off their arts and crafts, products, decor, jewelry, you name it!

Carolina Chocolate Festival
February 3-5, 2017
Crystal Coast Civic Center
Morehead City NC

With tastings, demonstrations, bake-offs, golfing and relaxing at the spa, you won’t want to miss the annual Carolina Chocolate Festival! All proceeds from the event go to benefit local charities and in the past, the event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Carteret County charities— so be sure to head out and support if you’re able!

Art from the Heart
February 17-March 4, 2017
Morehead Plaza Shopping Center
Morehead City NC

This year marks the 28th annual show put on by the Arts Council of Carteret County dedicated to the sale of original artwork! The show is open to artists 18 and over who live in Carteret, Craven, Onslow, and Pamlico counties with registration open Friday and Saturday February 10 and 11th from 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday February 12 from 9 AM to 1 PM. Artists are able to submit two pieces of original art to be judged and then put up for sale.

Feeling you need an even bigger fresh start by moving to a new home in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or the surrounding communities? Give us a call today! We’re happy to walk you through the process of selling your home, buying a new home and provide a list of available properties in the area.

We’re always here to help!

3 Steps to Take Before Buying a Crystal Coast NC Condo or Home

beach-339495_960_720It’s a new year on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast and for many, that signals a fresh start in terms of homes. Perhaps you’ve been thinking of selling your current property in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or are ready to purchase your first home or vacation home in Coastal Carolina— no matter which scenario, there are a few steps to take to ensure you’re on the right track!

Below are three important milestones to tackle before buying a home on the Crystal Coast:

Set up a down payment fund
If you’re not planning to sell a current property you own to use toward your down payment, it is wise to set up a down payment fund. This is commonly seen as one of the biggest obstacles to homeownership, so why not automate it to ensure it happens every month? If you never see the money, you won’t be tempted to spend it elsewhere and can put it directly toward your new home!

Keep your credit clean
Before you buy a home in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport or the surrounding communities, you will want to make sure your credit is well-groomed. Now is not the time to fall behind on bills or other debt payments like credit cards or auto loans. Lenders will like to see that you are able to pay down debts before approving you for a mortgage.

Stick to a budget
Living on a budget will allow you to save more toward your down payment and future Crystal Coast NC home. Make a budget, writing out your monthly expenses and income, and identify where you can cut back. Perhaps cutting out your gym membership in favor of working out at home will allow you to put that money into your down payment fund! Every little change will help you reach your dream home faster!

Ready to make the leap and purchase your piece of the Coastal Carolina dream? Do not hesitate to contact Gena Gilbert Real Estate with any questions about the local market, available properties or the buying process!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for a Crystal Coast NC Home This Winter

traffic-cone-1027881_960_720Despite what many believe about the winter season, opportunities still abound when the temperatures dip below their usual along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast! Both sellers and buyers are constantly motivated to move, no matter the time of year, and continue to browse homes online via their smartphones, tablets or computers— even in the winter! But if you’re shopping for a home in Coastal Carolina this winter, that doesn’t mean it’s always smooth sailing. Below are a few mistakes you’ll want to watch out for along the way.

Don’t acquire too much holiday debt
Tis the season for gift giving and holiday shopping, however it’s important that you don’t get too carried away! Avoid taking out new lines of credit this time of year and racking up debt on current credit cards. If you must put your purchases on credit cards, make sure you’re careful to pay them down or off right away! Even those with good credit can drastically change their debt-to-income ratio (a factor lenders look at when determining your eligibility for a mortgage) in a short time.

Look past the winter drab
While homes do tend to show their best during the holiday season, the winter months can tend to dull typically bright greenery, flowers and landscaping. If you come across a Crystal Coast NC home with a lawn not looking its best, do look past it. It is wise to envision what the property may look like during the spring and summer to make sure you’re not skipping over a great home!

Don’t make a lowball offer
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean lowball offers are a must. In order to determine if you may be able to score a deal on a home in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport, you’ll need to consider how long the home has been on the market, its location, condition and many other factors. Remember that inventory is lower, while buyer demand remains high, so your lowball offer may be tossed right out the window.

Give Gena Gilbert Real Estate a call today if you’re ready to call Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport the surrounding communities your home! We can provide more information about the current real estate market, available homes and steps to take to ensure homebuyer success!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Moving Checklist for Atlantic Beach, Beaufort NC Homebuyers

hand-truck-564238_960_720This time of year may seem busy with all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, but the truth is, it’s also a great time to move! Homebuyer demand is still high along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast and home sellers have an opportunity to sell their properties and move on just in time for the new year. But that doesn’t mean you can simply pack your bags and make sure everything gets onto the moving truck.

There are many parties you will need to inform of your move to a new home in Coastal Carolina and Gena Gilbert Real Estate has included the most important below:

Post Office
When you move homes in North Carolina, you will want your mail to follow! Notifying the appropriate postal services should be one of your top priorities as you begin to prepare for your move. You will simply fill out a change of address card and soon your mail will be forwarded to your new address. Keep in mind that these cards are typically valid for up to a year, so you can capture any pieces of mail that may still show up on your old doorstep.

Utilities
You likely have bills and services tied to your current home in Coastal Carolina, so it’s time to inform the necessary companies—gas, electric, water, cable, to name a few—about your move. Make sure the utilities at your current home will be disconnected on the day of your move and those at your new home will be connected either prior to or on moving day as well.

The IRS
Just as you filled out a change of address card for the post office, you will need to do the same with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They will want an updated address to send your tax return and other important documents throughout the year.

The DMV
If you’re moving to the Crystal Coast from a different state, now is the time to head down to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to have your address updated on your license. You often have 10 to 30 days to do so, depending on the state’s requirements.

Ready to list your Crystal Coast NC home and begin your search for your dream home in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Havelock, Newport the surrounding communities? Give Gena Gilbert Real Estate a call today!

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!

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!