Tag Archives: tips for 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!

3 Reasons to Sell Your Morehead City NC Home Before Spring

crocus-318293_960_720You might be dreaming of warmer weather and the official beginning of spring here on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, but if there is one thing that’s great about this time of year, it’s the opportunity to sell your home! Sure, you can list your home at any time of year in Coastal Carolina, but this window before spring officially begins and the market heats up, presents homeowners with an edge.

Below are three reasons why you should list your Crystal Coast NC home before spring:

Demand is strong
While many areas of the country are faced with lower inventory right now, that does not mean buyers are not looking for properties. In fact, buyer demand is still high and home sales as a result as increasing rapidly! Listing your property now allows you to benefit from the current buyers who are ready to call your house their new home.

Less competition
It is no secret that the spring and summer months are known as the “busy seasons” in real estate. Many homeowners believe spring and summer are the best times to sell, therefore they will wait until the officially beginning to list. What that means for you now as a Coastal Carolina homeowner is that there is less competition in the current market— don’t wait too long or your home could be lost in the crowd!

Process will be quicker
The length of time it takes to get from contract to closing fluctuates depending on the time of year, changing regulations and the housing market itself. Selling your home now before the busy season begins could award you a shorter closing process than if you decided to wait until next month to get the ball rolling.

Ready to sell your home and move on just in time for spring and summer in Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Havelock, or Newport? Give Gena Gilbert Real Estate a call today!

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!

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!

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!

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!