Southport NC Real Estate and Community News

April 28, 2017

6 easy, affordable smart home features that could help you sell your house faster

Fresh paint on the walls, professional staging and an asking price that ends in 999 — when you're selling your home, you'll do whatever you can to help it stand out and sell faster. Because the National Association of Realtors is predicting modest growth for the 2017 real estate market, as a seller you want every edge you can get. And on the heels of the popular Consumer Electronics Show in January, perhaps that edge is a smarter home.

"Smart home features are designed to make homes more convenient, appealing, secure and energy-efficient — all of which are bonuses when you're trying to sell a house," says Geoff Lewis, president of RE/MAX, LLC. "Sellers who want to move their homes faster may benefit from adding smart features that make their properties more appealing to tech-minded buyers."

According to IHS Markit and CNBC, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide last year. That's a 64 percent increase from 2015.

Here are six trending smart home features that might catch buyers' attention and help sell your home faster:

Keyless/remote entry door locks

Have you ever left the house and worried that you left the front door unlocked? If your home is equipped with a keyless/remote entry door lock — available from multiple manufacturers — you can use an app on your smartphone to lock the door from wherever you are. Some manufacturers make versions that will also send a text or email to your phone when the door opens. Locks that can be programmed with multiple entry codes also allow you to see who comes and goes and when.

Smart lighting

From lighting automation that allows you to control lights remotely and wirelessly, to energy-efficient LED bulbs that can change color to match your mood and decor, lighting has come a long way. Some smart lights work in tandem with home automation systems to allow you to turn them on or off, or even dim them, from an app on a smartphone or tablet. Others require no communication hub and can be controlled directly from your mobile device. You can also put some smart bulbs on timers (using your wireless device), sync them with certain TV shows or movies, and integrate them with security cameras and thermostats.

DIY security systems

Don't want to sign a contract or deal with complex security systems? Install-it-yourself security systems are affordable and offer security features like cameras, sensors, motion detectors and alarms or sirens, without the need for a security service to monitor them.

Smart appliances

The Internet of Things (IoT) — everyday objects that have network connectivity — includes a growing list of smart appliances. Many manufacturers are offering washers, dryers, refrigerators and other home appliances that can communicate with you — and each other — wirelessly. Many can be controlled remotely from your smartphone — so if you leave the house and can't remember if you turned off the stove, you can check in and turn it off using your smartphone app.

While appliances aren't always included in a home sale, they do make for interesting features that keep your home top of mind to buyers.

Smart plugs

One of the easiest, most affordable smart home upgrades you can make is to add smart plugs to your home. These Wi-Fi-enabled plugs fit existing outlets and can be controlled from a smartphone app. Plug anything into a smart plug, like lights or a television, and you can turn it on or off remotely, track energy consumption, or even create an on-off schedule.

Temperature controls

Programmable thermostats were just the beginning; today's home temperature controls are even smarter. Like other smart home features, smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from your mobile device. You can program them to make automatic temperature adjustments and then use your smartphone to override the program like turning up the heat on a particularly cold day. Some smart thermostats learn from household behavior and adjust the temperature to meet your family's needs and save energy, while others adjust based on the number of people in a room. And several can now be operated via voice-controlled virtual assistants.

"Many of these smart home features are surprisingly easy and affordable to install," Lewis says. "Sellers who are open to the idea of investing a little money to possibly help get a speedier sale, may want to consider adding the smart features buyers will be looking for in 2017."

If you're thinking of selling your home, find more helpful information at

Posted in Selling Your Home?
April 28, 2017

Top 5 Home Maintenance Tips

Trying to save money? Home maintenance is so much more affordable than emergency repairs. Here are five routine maintenance projects that can help prevent unexpected costs and save you money year round.

1. Clear out gutters

Stock image of 'Various DIY tools on the table'

Water from clogged gutters can overflow and leak into your home. Heavy, ice-packed gutters can tear away from your house in the winter. Grab a ladder, gloves and hose and clear them out while the weather is still warm.

2. Re-caulk windows

Drafty windows and doors can suck money right out of your budget from high energy bills. Check the caulk and weatherproofing strips around doors and windows to make sure they're not dried and crumbling. If they are, they're easy (and cheap) to replace.

3. Clean the fireplaces

Have your chimney professionally inspected and potentially cleaned annually to prevent creosote, a flammable byproduct of wood burning, from building up. It can create a fire hazard and elevate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Before each use, make sure your damper closes tightly and clear remaining ashes from the bottom of your fireplace.

4. Check your filters

Clogged furnace and air conditioning filters not only make your HVAC system less efficient, they also can spread unhealthy pollutants and allergies in your home. Dark and mucky filters should be replaced. You don't even need tools.

5. Flush the water heater

Neglected water heaters have a way of getting back at you when you least expect it (and that way is usually soggy and expensive.) Clear out sediment particles that collect over time by regularly flushing out water through the drain valve.

Looking for your own home you can maintain with tender-loving care? Visit to find a real estate agent near you.

Posted in Home Maintenance
April 28, 2017

Guest Post: 4 Tips for a Surprise Room Makeover

Today's post is by Cory Vasquez, Director, PR & Social Media, at RE/MAX Word Headquarters.

It could be a bad idea – surprising a loved one with a room makeover, especially when that loved one is your 12-year-old.

For parents of preteens, you know this is an age of uncertainty, which is precisely why we decided to surprise our daughter with a new bedroom. We want our new middle schooler to feel confident and we believe confidence begins at home. So we decided to upgrade her room from pretty in purple, filled to the ceiling with stuffed animals, to sophisticated and study ready with touches of the things that make her unique.

Before...and after!

But did we get it right?

Here's how we did it and how we recommend you pull off your own killer surprise room makeover:

Know Your Subject. Of course we know our own daughter, but do we know her well enough to design the room she wants without her input? We carefully studied her interests, style choices and even online searches for several weeks to pinpoint what makes her unique. We determined the following:

1) She's a pack rat and needs lots of options for storage and organization.

2) She loves to make things her own, so we gave her magnetic walls, bulletin boards and a chalkboard so she could design, stylize and pin at will!

3) She loves animals, feathers and fun art which we used as design elements throughout her room.

Timing is Everything.
As with any DIY project, we created a plan including a budget and timeline. Because the new room would be a surprise, we planned a two-day, getaway trip for both kids with grandma and grandpa to give us just enough time – including a few very late nights – to pull off the transformation.

Purchase Ahead.
With a plan and budget in hand, I spent weeks gathering items for her room. Every time I went to the hobby store, I picked up a few more things from the list – most of them red tagged, YAY! – and stashed them in a secret bin in the garage. I searched local online community sale sites for bigger ticket items like a chandelier and purchased things online that she'd already stashed in a cart.

Have your camera ready. Because if you've done it right, the reaction is priceless and something you'll want to have forever. My husband was in the room and I followed our daughter in to be sure we caught it all – shock, tears and hugs. It's a moment none of us will forget.

Posted in Home improvement
April 28, 2017

Buying a Home? 4 Signs It’s Time to Call An Agent

While house hunting TV shows tour the neighborhood, close the deal and throw a housewarming party in 30 minutes, real life is not as streamlined. If you're in the process of buying a home, here are signs it's time to call a realtor.

1. You believe everything on the internet

While you can view tons of listings online, not all of the information is accurate or up-to-date. You'll see outdated comps, conflicting forecasts and different ratings. With access to the MLS and insight on properties about to hit the market, a Realtor will make sure you're considering all of the homes in your market that fit your criteria.

2. You're juggling a hectic schedule

You don't need to spend time sorting through listings and contacting sellers. An agent will do the browsing so you only visit the homes that best fit your needs and price range.

3. The biggest thing you've negotiated lately was your kids' bedtime (and you lost)

As professional negotiators with years of experience, Realtors know how to create, present and negotiate the best offer. Remember, you'll be going up against another professional negotiator: the seller's agent.

4. You don't know if a neighborhood is on the way up or down

An agent who knows the neighborhood can give you the scoop about local developments and changes that don't always pop up in a Google search. He or she will also put them in context of larger market forces that could impact the future value of a home.

If you're looking for an experienced professional to guide you through the home buying process, look no further than your local RE/MAX office. Find an experienced agent to work with here.

Posted in Buying a Home?
April 28, 2017

Arts & Entertainment Guide











Want to keep up with what's happening across the Cape Fear River AND in your own backyard? "Where to Go, What to Do" is a FREE online calendar of arts and entertainment and other events happening in the area. This weekend's highlights include the Southport Nature Fest, Pawz in the Park, a cooking class and an art show at Bellamy Mansion. Click here for a full list of events.

Posted in Community News
April 28, 2017

Ride the Tide










May 13

            Oak Island Parks and Recreation and The Adventure Kayak Company will sponsor the sixth annual Ride the Tide kayak float and race on the Davis Canal at 11:30 AM on Saturday (5/13).  The route will be an easy 5.2-mile trip from the Oak Island Recreation Center to Blue Water Point Marina. The Davis Canal is a calm and scenic river and the float will take place as the tide is flowing with the paddlers. The entry fee is $20.00pp in advance ($30.00 the day of the race). Call (910) 278-5518 to register. The first 75 participants to register will receive a free t-shirt. Submitted by Carrie Winkler, Oak Island Recreation Center Supervisor.

Posted in Community Events
April 28, 2017

Venus Flytrap Program









May 6

       The Museum of Coastal Carolina will present "Venus Flytrap Expedition: Myrtle Head Excursion," featuring guest speaker Mark Todd, at 11:00 AM on Saturday (5/6). Mr. Todd will first give a presentation at the museum about NC's carnivorous plants, then attendees will head to Myrtle Head Excursion for a guided expedition to view a variety of native carnivorous plants. Mr. Todd is president of the North American Sarracenia Conservancy, a national non-profit organization that protects carnivorous plants and their habitat. Click here for more information. The museum is located at 21 E. Second St., Ocean Isle Beach. All-day non-member admission is $9.50 ($8.50 for seniors, $7.50 for children (3-12) and free for 2 and under). Submitted by Linzy Cook, Marketing Coordinator, (910) 579-1016

Posted in Community Events
April 27, 2017

Real Estate Pros Divulge Top Design Features

BUILDER recently asked real estate professionals to share their thoughts about the top design trends their clients are currently requesting. Here are some of the top design trends that real estate pros said are in demand:

  • Open layouts
  • Neutral color schemes
  • Multigenerational floor plans
  • First-floor master suites
  • No dining rooms
  • White kitchens
  • Extra-large garages
  • Big closets
  • Finished basements with 9-foot high ceilings
  • Barn sliding doors
Posted in Real Estate News
April 27, 2017

Art Walk



 April 28      

        The Artisans at St. James will host its second Friday Night Art Walk from 5:00 - 7:00 PM on Friday (4/28) at the Gallery at the St. James Marina. Come meet more than 10 Artisans and view their works. Complimentary wine and cheese will be served, and SJP musician Marv Gelb will provide live music on the keyboards. Submitted by Barbara White, (203) 912-5177.

Posted in Community Events
April 27, 2017

MAD Golf Tourney

Registration Opens May 15

        The Richard H. Stewart, Jr. American Legion Post 543 of St. James will present the Annual St. James Military Appreciation Day Golf Tournament on Saturday (7/8) at the Members Club. The event will celebrate military service while helping raise funds for Post 543 programs in support of veterans, active duty military and the community. The tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 8:00 AM, followed by a reception and lunch. The format will be a scramble. Golfers will be assigned to either Team Honor or Team Valor. Foursomes can be all men, all women or a mix. The team with the lowest aggregate score will win and each team member will receive a prize. There will also be a "Hole in One" prize, swag bags and raffle prizes. The cost is $60.00pp for St. James golf members and $110.00pp for non-members. Registration will open on Monday (5/15). Sign up early, as space is limited and the event filled up fast last year! Entry forms will be available in the St. James Golf Pro Shops and on the Post's website. Submitted by John Muuss, Post 543 PR/Historian.

Posted in Community Events