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Tips Every First-Time Buyer Needs

Buying your first home isn't always easy. Here are the tips you need to get started.

Last year's real estate market with rising mortgage rates made home ownership difficult for first-time buyers. As we head into 2023, our real estate agents have some tips for first-time buyers to make getting into a new home much easier. If you're planning to buy a home this year, pay close attention to these 6 valuable tips that will ensure success.

  1. Maintain Good Credit
    If you're planning to look for Southport homes for sale, it's not the time to apply for a new credit card, line of credit, or personal loan. When you apply for a mortgage loan, the first thing lenders do is pull your credit report to check your credit score, payment history, late payments, and debt-to-income ratio. Any applications for new credit can have a negative impact on your loan approval. This is the time to pay your bills on time and avoid adding any more debt.

  1. Get Pre-Approved for a Loan
    When you're an excited first-time home buyer, it's tempting to jump right into house hunting to look for your dream home. However, getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan can speed up the process by helping you find a home within your budget and creating stronger offers to sellers. When you're pre-approved, the lender will send you an official letter that states you're qualified loan amount based on your income and credit score.

  1. Be Prepared for Long-Term Mortgage Payments
    Buying a new home is exciting, but it's also a big step for first-time buyers. A home mortgage loan comes with a loan term of up to 30 years which requires a major financial commitment. Before you jump into buying a home, make sure you can afford long-term mortgage payments and the costs of home upkeep and repairs. Be prepared with a stable income, money in a savings account, and a 3 - 6 month emergency fund to cover household expenses.

  1. Be Prepared for Upfront Closing Costs
    Buying a new home includes a variety of closing costs unless you're planning to pay cash. Your lender will collect closing costs which are upfront expenses for loan services provided. These closing costs usually include attorney fees, appraisal fees, escrow fees, home inspection costs, title insurance, homeowners insurance, and property taxes. First-time buyers should be prepared to pay closing costs that can add up to 5% of the total loan amount.

  1. Investigate the Housing Market
    Before you make a serious offer on a home, it's important to investigate the housing market in that area. You can look at online listings or drive through the neighborhood to see how many homes are on the market for sale. If there are numerous for-sale signs, sellers may be more willing to negotiate with pre-approved buyers by lowering the sale price, paying some of the closing costs, or offering other incentives.

  1. Check Out Discounts for First-time Buyers
    The average down payment to buy a home is 20% of the sale price unless you're a first-time home buyer. There are government and state programs that offer cash grants, down payment assistance, mortgage rate discounts, and tax credits to help first-time buyers get into a new home. Before you make an offer, check into various programs that can make home ownership much more affordable for first-time buyers, even buyers with lower income or less-than-perfect credit.

Are you thinking about a move to the Southport area? Contact us so we can help you find your first home in a lovely Southport neighborhood that fits your lifestyle and finances.


Brunswick County real estate market inches closer to normalcy in 2022

SHALLOTTE, N.C. — Brunswick County Association of REALTORS®

After an extended period of rapid sales coupled with an extremely low inventory, Brunswick County's residential real estate market closed out 2022 with more typical numbers. The number of homes sold and total sales volume both decreased, average sales prices were higher, and homes spent slightly less time on the market compared to 2021.

"After an insane couple of years, our market inched closer and closer to normalcy throughout 2022," said Cynthia Walsh, BCAR CEO. "Thanks to continued strong demand and limited inventory, average sales prices increased throughout the year. While total sales volume is slightly down, it's important to remember that we saw historic, unprecedented numbers in 2020 and 2021. While last year's numbers may be lower than prior years, overall our market is in strong shape going into 2023."

Total sales volume decreased from $2,704,199,429 in 2021 to $2,527,930,000 in 2022. Average sales prices for the year were up 10.5% compared to 2021, jumping from $398,772 to $440,574. Homes spent an average of 30 days on the market in 2022, compared to 39 days in 2021. New listings were down 11%, from 7,157 to 6,373, and the number of units sold dropped 18%, from 6,779 to 5,556.

When it comes to December's numbers, new listings, units sold and total sales volume decreased compared to last year. To put the numbers into context, December 2022 saw more homes sold than any other December in the past 17 years apart from 2020 and 2021.

Total sales volume decreased 25.9% compared to December 2021, from $243,100,000 to $180,100,000, while average sales prices were up 1.4%, from $439,610 to $445,799. Luxury homes may have been the holiday gift of the season, with 17 transactions in excess of $1 million and three in excess of $2 million. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were more than 50 sales below $250,000 in December. Overall, homes are still selling for roughly 97% of their list price.

New listings were down 11.7% in December, from 368 to 325, and the number of units sold dropped 26.9%, from 553 to 404. Homes spent an average of 41 days on the market in December, up from 32 days. The absorption rate, which is the amount of time it would take to sell all available inventory, decreased to less than 2.5 months in December 2022.

Brunswick County

New Listings

  • December 2022: 324
  • December 2021: 368
  • Increase/Decrease: -11.7%

Units Sold

  • December 2022: 404
  • December 2021: 553
  • Increase/Decrease: -26.9%

Average Sales Price

  • December 2022: $445,799
  • December 2021: $439,610
  • Increase/Decrease: +1.4%

Median Sales Price

  • December 2022: $359,900
  • December 2021: $359,000
  • Increase/Decrease: +0.3%

Total Sales Volume

  • December 2022: $180,100,000
  • December 2021: $243,100,000
  • Increase/Decrease: -25.9%

Bladen County

New Listings

  • December 2022: 10
  • December 2021: 11
  • Increase/Decrease: -9.1%

Units Sold

  • December 2022: 11
  • December 2021: 7
  • Increase/Decrease: +57.1%

Average Sales Price

  • December 2022: $177,341
  • December 2021: $265,000
  • Increase/Decrease: -33.1%

Total Sales Volume

  • December 2022: $1,950,000
  • December 2021: $2,050,000
  • Increase/Decrease: -4.9%

Columbus County

New Listings

  • December 2022: 17
  • December 2021: 18
  • Increase/Decrease: -5.6%

Units Sold

  • December 2022: 10
  • December 2021: 27
  • Increase/Decrease: -63%

Average Sales Price

  • December 2022: $216,250
  • December 2021: $192,142
  • Increase/Decrease: +12.5%

Total Sales Volume

  • December 2022: $2,160,000
  • December 2021: $5,190,000
  • Increase/Decrease: -58.4%

The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers and Affiliate Members.  For more information, please visit


Getting Back to Normal? Real estate market sees fewer new listings, homes sold

SHALLOTTE, N.C. - Brunswick County Association of REALTORS®

Brunswick County's residential real estate market appears to be returning to a more normal pace, with fewer new listings, fewer homes sold, slightly higher inventory and a slightly higher absorption rate in November compared to last year. Average sale prices were up compared to November 2021, thanks in part to a strong luxury market. On average, homes sold for 97% of their list price last month. 

"This November looked a whole lot like Novembers of the past," said Cynthia Walsh, BCAR CEO. "The market typically slows as we move through the holidays into winter, and that's what we saw in November. With that said, it's important to look at the big picture. We saw 396 sales in November, which was lower than the last couple of years, but is still on the high side of normal. Additionally, nearly 60% of the homes sold in November sold in 30 days or less, which is a pretty good clip. The bottom line is that Brunswick County's market continues to demonstrate strength as we move into what is typically a winter cool-down."

Brunswick County saw $179,500,000 in total sales volume in November, a 12.7% decrease from last year's $205,540,000. The average sales price increased 10.9%, from $408,628 to $453,283. New listings were down 5.7%, from 473 to 446. The number of units sold dropped 21.3%, from 503 to 396. The absorption rate, which is the amount of time it would take to sell all available inventory, increased from 2 to 2.5 months. Brunswick County's luxury market was strong in November, with 14 sales in excess of $1 million, the highest a $2.5 million transaction on Holden Beach.

Year-to-date sales volume through November totaled $2,347,830,000, down 4.6% from last year's $2,461,099,429. Average sales prices for the year are 11.5% higher than 2021, increasing from $395,059 to $440,574. The number of units sold through November is down 17.3%, from 6,226 to 5,152, and the number of new listings is down 10.9%, from 6,789 to 6,048.

Brunswick County

New Listings

  • November 2022: 446
  • November 2021: 473
  • Increase/Decrease: -5.7%

Units Sold

  • November 2022: 396
  • November 2021: 503
  • Increase/Decrease: -21.3%

Average Sales Price

  • November 2022: $453,283
  • November 2021: $408,628
  • Increase/Decrease: +10.9%

Median Sales Price

  • November 2022: $384,240
  • November 2021: $330,000
  • Increase/Decrease: +16.4%

Total Sales Volume

  • November 2022: $179,500,000
  • November 2021: $205,540,000
  • Increase/Decrease: -12.7%

Bladen County

New Listings

  • November 2022: 34
  • November 2021: 11
  • Increase/Decrease: +209.1%

Units Sold

  • November 2022: 6
  • November 2021: 14
  • Increase/Decrease: -57.1%

Average Sales Price

  • November 2022: $258,983
  • November 2021: $281,854
  • Increase/Decrease: -8.1%

Total Sales Volume

  • November 2022: $1,550,000
  • November 2021: $3,950,000
  • Increase/Decrease: -60.8%

Columbus County

New Listings

  • November 2022: 16
  • November 2021: 22
  • Increase/Decrease: -27.3%

Units Sold

  • November 2022: 27
  • November 2021: 24
  • Increase/Decrease: +12.5%

Average Sales Price

  • November 2022: $208,545
  • November 2021: $198,496
  • Increase/Decrease: +5.1%

Total Sales Volume

  • November 2022: $5,630,000
  • November 2021: $4,760,000
  • Increase/Decrease: +18.3%

The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers, and Affiliate Members. For more information, please visit


Brunswick County real estate market surpasses $2 billion in year-to-date sales

SHALLOTTE, N.C. - Brunswick County Association of REALTORS®

Brunswick County's residential real estate market exceeded $2 billion in year-to-date total sales in October with luxury sales leading the way, and more than half of all homes sold during October were sold at or above list price.

"While $2 billion in total sales seemed like an unreachable milestone just a couple of years ago, it doesn't come as a shock this year given our market's consistently strong performance month over month," said Cynthia Walsh, BCAR CEO. "Overall demand remains strong, prices continue to increase, and we continue to see a strong luxury market. Overall, our market is positioned for continued strength as we move into winter."

Brunswick County saw $211,520,000 in total sales volume in October, a 0.5% increase from last year's $210,450,000. The average sales price increased 9.3%, from $432,131 to $472,150. New listings were down 24.4%, from 622 to 470. The number of units sold in October dropped 8% compared to last year, from 487 to 448, and homes spent an average of 33 days on the market. The absorption rate, which is the amount of time it would take to sell all available inventory, remains at two months. Brunswick County's luxury market was strong in October with 24 sales in excess of $1 million, including three sales over $2 million and a 3.4 million sale in Ocean Isle Beach.

Year-to-date sales volume through October is $2,168,330,000, down 3.9% from $2,255,559,429 last year. Average sales prices for the year are 11.9% higher than 2021, increasing from $393,703 to $440,574. The number of units sold through October is down 16.9%, from 5,723 to 4,756, and the number of new listings is down 11.3%, from 6,316 to 5,602.

Brunswick County

  • New Listings
    • October 2022: 470
    • October 2021: 622
    • Increase/Decrease: -24.4%
  • Units Sold
    • October 2022: 448
    • October 2021: 487
    • Increase/Decrease: -8%
  • Average Sales Price
    • October 2022: $472,150
    • October 2021: $432,131
    • Increase/Decrease: +9.3%
  • Median Sales Price
    • October 2022: $425,000
    • October 2021: $343,168
    • Increase/Decrease: +23.8%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • October 2022: $211,520,000
    • October 2021: $210,450,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +0.5%

Bladen County

  • New Listings
    • October 2022: 20
    • October 2021: 9
    • Increase/Decrease: +122.2%
  • Units Sold
    • October 2022: 12
    • October 2021: 18
    • Increase/Decrease: -33.3%
  • Average Sales Price
    • October 2022: $192,408
    • October 2021: $188,289
    • Increase/Decrease: +2.2%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • October 2022: $2,310,000
    • October 2021: $3,390,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -31.9%

Columbus County

  • New Listings
    • October 2022: 31
    • October 2021: 37
    • Increase/Decrease: -16.2%
  • Units Sold
    • October 2022: 29
    • October 2021: 29
    • Increase/Decrease: 0%
  • Average Sales Price
    • October 2022: $215,475
    • October 2021: $192,366
    • Increase/Decrease: +12%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • October 2022: $6,250,000
    • October 2021: $5,580,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +12%

The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers, and Affiliate Members. For more information, please visit


Your First-Time Buyer's Maintenance Checklist

Just bought a home? Here are the home improvement projects you need to look out for.

There's a unique form of satisfaction that comes with owning and maintaining your own home. But as you're preparing to become a homeowner for the first time, all that maintenance can feel more intimidating than inspiring.

Our real estate agents are here to help with that. Read on to learn about the most important maintenance tasks that all first-time homeowners should take on as they're moving into their new residences.

  • Deep Clean
    Before you even move in, clean your new home like you've never cleaned before! Wash and disinfect all surfaces, give walls and baseboards a good scrub, and either rent a carpet cleaner or have carpets professionally cleaned.

  • Inspect Safety Devices
    Test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout your home, and make sure your kitchen is equipped with a functional fire extinguisher. You may also choose to change the locks on your new home and install a security system at this stage.

  • Check and Replace HVAC Filters
    Filters in your furnace and HVAC should generally be changed every 30 to 60 days, depending on the season and how much use they get. But you should also check them right out of the gate, and replace them if they don't look brand new. There's no telling how much dust and dirt was kicked up by construction crews and previous owners.

  • Locate Water & Electric Controls
    It's important to know the location of your home's main water shutoff valve and how to turn it on and off. The same goes for electricity. Find your home's fuse box or circuit breaker, and learn how to control it.

  • Check Windows for Air Leaks
    Some studies suggest that up to 80 percent of winter heat loss happens through cracks in the home, and windows are the most common places for these kinds of air leaks. Check your windows for leaks, and re-caulk if necessary.

  • Inspect Your Crawl Space
    Crawl spaces are seldom seen and easily ignored, but be sure to take a peek inside and look for signs of mold and water damage. This is a good maintenance task to repeat every year, and it's as simple as shining a flashlight in and looking for signs of damage. 

  • Touch Up Exterior Paint
    Your new house shouldn't need a paint job for a while after you buy it, but this is still a good step to take, if only for homeowner's peace of mind. Checking the exterior for signs of chipped, cracked, flaking, or bubbled paint is a good way to catch tiny problems before they become big problems.

  • Have the Ductwork Cleaned
    HVAC ducts should generally be cleaned every three to five years. Many experts recommend having them cleaned immediately after buying a new home, as there could be construction dust and other particles in the vents.

  • Check Decks for Moisture
    It's important to periodically check your wooden deck, porch, or patio to see if it needs to be resealed. The test is simple: splash some water on the wood and see if it beads up on the surface. If not, that's a sign that a new coat of sealant is called for.

Contact us today to learn more about all the ins and outs of home ownership! And if you're still on the hunt for your dream home, our real estate agents are here to help you find the perfect Southport home for sale.


Not All Pending Home Sales Work Out. Here's Why

Sometimes a pending home purchase doesn't go according to plan. Here's why.

With rising mortgage rates, high home prices, and a shortage of inventory, buyers and sellers are facing issues. Home buyers are up against bidding wars and all-cash buyers, and sellers are seeing offers that fall through. Our real estate agents realize that today's market is challenging, and we have some tips to help you navigate the hurdles.

If you're looking for Southport homes for sale, making an offer on your dream home is a huge accomplishment unless your pending sale falls through. To keep this from happening, you should understand why some pending sales don't work out.

The Buyer Can't Sell Their Current Home

When buyers need to sell an existing home to finance a new home, the loan agreement may include a home sale contingency. While this contingency benefits the buyer because it allows 30-60 days to sell the current home, it's risky for the seller because there's no guarantee of a sale. If the buyer's home doesn't sell within the allotted timeframe, the buyer can walk away from the purchase of the new home.

The Buyer's Mortgage Financing Falls Through

Before you get serious about buying a home, you should contact a lender and get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Neither are guarantees for a loan, but they do represent a higher approval rate to the seller. Keep in mind, even if your loan is approved that can change due to conditions such as a change in employment, a decline in income, and a drop in credit scores.

The Appraisal Comes Up Short

Mortgage lenders require professional property appraisals to know how much the home is worth and to calculate a loan-to-value ratio. If the appraisal is lower than the offer price, the lender may decline the loan. The lender may require the buyer to pay the difference. If that's not possible, the pending sale likely won't work out, but the buyer can use a financing contingency to walk away without losing earnest money.

The Home Inspection Turns Up Damages

Most sales contracts have a home inspection contingency which protects the buyer if the inspection turns up extensive damages like foundation cracks, roof leaks, mold, and termites. If there are major damages, the seller can offer the buyer money as closing credits to fix the problems. If the buyer refuses or doesn't want to deal with the damages, the pending sale may fall through.

Issues With the Title

Before lenders will approve a mortgage loan, a title search is required to investigate who's on the title and any outstanding judgments and liens on the property. These may show up if the property owner owes back property taxes, money to contractors, or unpaid debts to the IRS. Since title issues can be time-consuming and complicated to resolve, buyers may walk away from the sale.

Paperwork with Missing Details

Whether you're buying or selling a home, it's so important to review your contract and make sure there are no missing details. Even small mistakes can delay the sales process, or even cause the sale to fall through. Pay close attention to loan and inspection contingencies, waivers, and timelines in your loan documents to avoid delays, extra fees, and unnecessary complications.

The Buyer or Seller Gets Cold Feet

Buying or selling a home is a big decision, and sometimes it turns out to be the wrong decision. During the contingency period, the buyer or seller can change their mind if there's a valid reason, then walk away from the contract.

Are you thinking about a move to Southport? Contact us so we can help you find your dream home.


Tropical Slowdown: Hurricane Ian affects Brunswick County Real Estate Market

SHALLOTTE, N.C. - Brunswick County Association of Realtors

Brunswick County's residential real estate market felt the impacts of Hurricane Ian during September with fewer new listings and fewer homes sold compared to last year. Prices ticked upward, continuing a recent and familiar pattern.

"September hurricanes often affect our real estate market, and Hurricane Ian was no exception," said Cynthia Walsh, BCAR CEO. "Ian blew through at the end of the month, which is when a large number of closings typically occur. The timing explains why we saw a lower number of homes sold and lower total sales volume last month. While Ian brough a temporary tropical slowdown, and while our market isn't moving at the frantic pace it once was, we continue to see strong demand, and our market remains on track for another strong year."

Brunswick County saw $215,280,000 in total sales volume in September 2022, a 12.9% decrease from last September's $247,120,000. The average sales price increased 7.5%, from $433,541 to $465,983. New listings were down 16.3%, from 559 to 468. The number of units sold in September dropped 18.9% compared to last year, from 570 to 462, and homes spent an average of 30 days on the market. The absorption rate, which is the amount of time it would take to sell all available inventory, remains at two months. Brunswick County's luxury market was strong in September with 28 sales in excess of $1 million, including a sale over $4 million in Ocean Isle Beach.

Year-to-date sales volume through September is $1,956,810,000, down 4.3% from $2,045,109,429 last year. Average sales prices for the year are 13.1% higher than 2021, increasing from $389,433 to $440,574. The number of units sold through September is down 17.7%, from 5,236 to 4,308, and the number of new listings is down 9.9%, from 5,694 to 5,132.

Brunswick County

New Listings

  • September 2022: 468
  • September 2021: 559
  • Increase/Decrease: -16.3%

Units Sold

  • September 2022: 462
  • September 2021: 570
  • Increase/Decrease: -18.9%

Average Sales Price

  • September 2022: $465,983
  • September 2021: $433,541
  • Increase/Decrease: +7.5%

Median Sales Price

  • September 2022: $364,438
  • September 2021: $331,532
  • Increase/Decrease: +9.9%

Total Sales Volume

  • September 2022: $215,280,000
  • September 2021: $247,120,000
  • Increase/Decrease: -12.9%

Bladen County

New Listings

  • September 2022: 16
  • September 2021: 17
  • Increase/Decrease: -5.9%

Units Sold

  • September 2022: 8
  • September 2021: 9
  • Increase/Decrease: -11.1%

Average Sales Price

  • September 2022: $192,488
  • September 2021: $193,967
  • Increase/Decrease: -0.8%

Total Sales Volume

  • September 2022: $1,540,000
  • September 2021: $1,750,000
  • Increase/Decrease: -12%

Columbus County

New Listings

  • September 2022: 30
  • September 2021: 36
  • Increase/Decrease: -16.7%

Units Sold

  • September 2022: 32
  • September 2021: 25
  • Increase/Decrease: +28%

Average Sales Price

  • September 2022: $202,054
  • September 2021: $187,324
  • Increase/Decrease: +7.9%

Total Sales Volume

  • September 2022: $6,470,000
  • September 2021: $4,680,000
  • Increase/Decrease: +38.2%

The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers and Affiliate Members. For more information, please visit


Should You Buy An Old Or New House?

Homes come in all different ages. Here's how to determine if you should buy an older or newer house.

If you're looking for a new home, it's important to look at a variety of properties before you make a final decision. Whether you're drawn to new homes with the latest amenities or old homes with charm and character, advice from our real estate agents can help you find the right home for you.

If you want bells and whistles, updated style, country charm, and waterfront views, you'll find all of them in Southport homes for sale. However, an important thing to consider is the age of the home. Let's take a look at some pros and cons of buying new homes vs. old homes that may impact your lifestyle and finances.

Curb Appeal

An older house in an established neighborhood can boost your curb appeal with original architectural details, a large yard, and mature landscaping. It's difficult to replicate the authentic charm of Colonial, Craftsman, or Tudor details in new construction. Older homes often have larger properties with mature trees that provide shade and landscaping features such as arbors, pergolas, fountains, and winding pathways through gardens.

If you're considering a newer home or one under construction, you should consider your landscaping costs to plant trees, shrubs, and flower beds, plant new grass, and install outdoor features that will boost your home's curb appeal and resale value.

Home Comfort

Although older homes offer traditional charm and character, they're often lacking in square footage and upgraded amenities like central heat and air, energy-efficient windows, and solar panels. Older homes usually have smaller rooms, smaller closets, and fewer open spaces for large gatherings. Older building materials used in construction may contribute to leaky roofs, cracked or warped floors, door and window drafts, faulty plumbing, and faulty heating and cooling.

If you're drawn to older homes, you must consider the costs of replacing old equipment, upgrading appliances, installing new windows, adding smart features, and maintaining a comfortable living environment. However, there is one perk. Old homes still cost significantly less upfront, up to 30% less that a newly built home.

Home Safety

In the past 30 years, construction and building code safety standards have changed significantly, making older homes more vulnerable to natural disasters, plumbing and roofing problems, and electrical fires. Older homes have fewer safety regulations, so doing a home inspection is essential to check for faulty construction and hazardous materials like lead and asbestos.

Buying a newer home means you don't have to worry about building code violations and unsafe materials. New homes are built with energy-efficient, fire-retardant insulation, double-pane windows, and built-in safety features, but you will likely pay a higher price per square foot for the house.

Repairs and Maintenance

If you're looking for a leisurely lifestyle with fewer hassles, or you have limited financial resources, buying a new house may be the way to go. Older homes come with the inevitable need for repairs, replacements, and upgrades that can have a big impact on your finances. If you buy a house with a new roof, new plumbing, new hot water heater, and new HVAC system, you likely won't have to worry about major repair costs for at least 10 years.

Whether you decide on a new or old house, you still have to budget for ongoing home repairs and maintenance, but they will likely be less in a newer house. The money you save by buying an older house may be quickly spent on repairs and maintenance for roof leaks, a faulty furnace, and electrical and plumbing problems.

If you're considering a move to the Southport area, contact us to explore properties and prices that fit your lifestyle.


Brunswick County's real estate market demonstrates stability in August

SHALLOTTE, N.C. - Brunswick County Association of Realtors

In August, Brunswick County's residential real estate market saw higher prices, fewer new listings, and fewer homes sold compared to last August.  

"While there is talk nationally of a real estate slowdown, Brunswick County's market continues to demonstrate remarkable stability," said Cynthia Walsh, BCAR CEO. "When looking at these numbers, it's important to remember just how abnormal the past few years have been. While the number of homes sold is down slightly compared to last year, sales have been pretty much steady month over month for the past two years, generally hovering between 500 and 600 sales per month, with our usual seasonal dip in December, January, and February. Overall, our market remains on track to once again do something that was unheard of prior to 2020: surpass $2 billion in total sales before the end of the year."

Brunswick County saw $232,570,000 in total sales volume in August 2022, a 5.7% decrease from last August's $246,620,000. The average sales price increased 9.4%, from $415,883 to $455,130. New listings were down 10.4%, from 682 to 611. The number of units sold in August dropped 13.8% compared to last year, from 593 to 511, and homes spent an average of 26 days on the market. The absorption rate, which is the amount of time it would take to sell all available inventory, remains at two months. Brunswick County's luxury market remained strong in August with 19 sales in excess of $1 million and two sales of $2 million or more.

Year-to-date sales volume through August is $1,741,530,000, down 3.1% from $1,797,989,429 last year. Average sales prices for the year are 14.8% higher than in 2021, increasing from $383,919 to $440,574. The number of units sold through August is down 17.6%, from 4,666 to 3,846, and the number of new listings is down 9.2%, from 5,135 to 4,664.

Brunswick County

  • New Listings
    • August 2022: 611
    • August 2021: 682
    • Increase/Decrease: -10.4%
  • Units Sold
    • August 2022: 511
    • August 2021: 593
    • Increase/Decrease: -13.8%
  • Average Sales Price
    • August 2022: $455,130
    • August 2021: $415,883
    • Increase/Decrease: +9.4%
  • Median Sales Price
    • August 2022: $370,000
    • August 2021: $325,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +13.8%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • August 2022: $232,570,000
    • August 2021: $246,620,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -5.7%

Bladen County

  • New Listings
    • August 2022: 14
    • August 2021: 20
    • Increase/Decrease: -30%
  • Units Sold
    • August 2022: 12
    • August 2021: 13
    • Increase/Decrease: -7.7%
  • Average Sales Price
    • August 2022: $305,300
    • August 2021: $232,469
    • Increase/Decrease: +31.3%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • August 2022: $3,660,000
    • August 2021: $3,020,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +21.2%

Columbus County

  • New Listings
    • August 2022: 45
    • August 2021: 37
    • Increase/Decrease: +21.6%
  • Units Sold
    • August 2022: 32
    • August 2021: 33
    • Increase/Decrease: -3%
  • Average Sales Price
    • August 2022: $242,337
    • August 2021: $246,548
    • Increase/Decrease: -1.7%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • August 2022: $7,750,000
    • August 2021: $8,140,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -4.8%

Robeson County

  • New Listings
    • August 2022: 10
    • August 2021: 13
    • Increase/Decrease: -23.1%
  • Units Sold
    • August 2022: 6
    • August 2021: 7
    • Increase/Decrease: -14.3%
  • Average Sales Price
    • August 2022: $153,083
    • August 2021: $186,214
    • Increase/Decrease: -17.8%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • August 2022: $918,500
    • August 2021: $1,300,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -29.3%

The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers, and Affiliate Members. For more information, please visit


Brunswick County sees fewer homes sold, higher prices and quick sales in July

Shallotte, NC - Brunswick County Association of Realtors

Brunswick County's residential real estate market remained competitive in July, with fewer homes sold, fewer new listings, higher prices, an uptick in the absorption rate, and homes continuing to sell quickly and at 99% of list price on average.

"Our market remains highly competitive thanks to strong demand paired with fewer new listings and a historically low inventory of available homes," said Cynthia Walsh, BCAR CEO. "While we saw fewer homes sold in July compared to last year, we have a healthy number of pending listings, and the absorption rate increased for the first time in months. Buyers would highly benefit from working with one of our professional REALTORS® to navigate this competitive market."

Brunswick County saw $216,760,000 in total sales volume in July 2022, a 14.3% decrease from last July's $252,900,000. The average sales price increased 3.9%, from $430,096 to $446,937. New listings were down 14.1%, from 681 to 585. The number of units sold in July dropped 17.5% compared to last year, from 588 to 485, and homes spent an average of 26 days on the market. The absorption rate, which is the amount of time it would take to sell all available inventory, is up to 2 months for the first time since January 2021. Sellers received 99% of their list price in July on average. Brunswick County's luxury market remained strong in July with 25 sales of $1 million or more, with the highest transaction at $2,550,000.

Year-to-date sales volume through July is $1,508,960,000, down 2.7% from $1,551,369,429 last year. Average sales prices for the year are 16.1% higher than 2021, increasing from $379,353 to $440,574. The number of units sold through July is down 18.1%, from 4,073 to 3,335, and the number of new listings is down 9%, from 4,453 to 4,053.

Brunswick County

  • New Listings
    • July 2022: 585
    • July 2021: 681
    • Increase/Decrease: -14.1%
  • Units Sold
    • July 2022: 485
    • July 2021: 588
    • Increase/Decrease: -17.5%
  • Average Sales Price
    • July 2022: $446,937
    • July 2021: $430,096
    • Increase/Decrease: +3.9%
  • Median Sales Price
    • July 2022: $364,990
    • July 2021: $342,602
    • Increase/Decrease: +6.5%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • July 2022: $216,760,000
    • July 2021: $252,900,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -14.3%

Bladen County

  • New Listings
    • July 2022: 10
    • July 2021: 10
    • Increase/Decrease: 0%
  • Units Sold
    • July 2022: 6
    • July 2021: 12
    • Increase/Decrease: -50%
  • Average Sales Price
    • July 2022: $261,333
    • July 2021: $212,383
    • Increase/Decrease: +23%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • July 2022: $1,570,000
    • July 2021: $2,550,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -38.4%

Columbus County

  • New Listings
    • July 2022: 44
    • July 2021: 28
    • Increase/Decrease: +57.1%
  • Units Sold
    • July 2022: 32
    • July 2021: 21
    • Increase/Decrease: +52.4%
  • Average Sales Price
    • July 2022: $192,787
    • July 2021: $212,732
    • Increase/Decrease: -9.4%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • July 2022: $6,170,000
    • July 2021: $4,480,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +37.7%

Robeson County

  • New Listings
    • July 2022: 4
    • July 2021: 5
    • Increase/Decrease: -20%
  • Units Sold
    • July 2022: 5
    • July 2021: 5
    • Increase/Decrease: 0%
  • Average Sales Price
    • July 2022: $107,700
    • July 2021: $183,360
    • Increase/Decrease: -41.3%
  • Total Sales Volume
    • July 2022: $538,500
    • July 2021: $916,800
    • Increase/Decrease: -41.3%

The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers, and Affiliate Members. For more information, please visit


Here's How Much You Should Save To Buy A House

Buying a home typically requires some upfront costs. Here's how much you'll need to put aside.

You want to become a homeowner, but you're not sure if you have enough money saved to buy a house.

It's important to understand the costs associated with buying a home to understand how much money you need to save. Our real estate agents suggest considering the following costs when calculating how much you need to save:

  • Your Downpayment: A conventional mortgage usually requires a downpayment between 5 and 20 percent of your home's purchase price, but it's possible to get a mortgage with a downpayment as low as 3.5 percent.

You decide that you want to buy a $400,000 home and want to make a downpayment of 5 percent; this means you'll need $20,000 for your downpayment.

  • Your Loan's Closing Costs: There are closing costs associated with purchasing a home; this includes items like your home inspection, home appraisal, and loan fees.

Closing costs usually equal 3 to 4 percent of your home's value. For a $400,000 home, this is $12,000-$16,000.

  • Moving Expenses: The cost of moving your belongings depends on how far you're moving your stuff and how much of the moving process you want to handle yourself. Plan on spending around $2,000 for a local move.

Your total estimated homebuying costs are between $34,000-$38,000. Before you start looking at Southport homes for sale, you need to create a savings plan.

Making Your Savings Plan

Now that you know how much you need to save, you should decide when you're hoping to meet your goal. Then, you can calculate how much you have to save each month and brainstorm options for increasing your income or lowering your expenses.

Assume your house savings goal is $35,000 and that you want to meet your goal in two years. This means that you'll need to save $1,458 a month.

  • You decide to work extra hours to earn $700 extra a month. This means that you still need to find $758 to meet your savings goal.

  • After reviewing your expenses, you opt to lower your budget for eating out and fun activities by $150 a month, downgrade your streaming services (a savings of $100 a month), reduce your spending on clothing and personal care by $100, and join a cheaper gym (a savings of $50 a month). This gives you $400 to put towards your savings goal, but you're still short $358 a month or $4,296.

  • You typically get an annual tax refund for $2,000; you decide to put this towards your savings goal, leaving $2,296 a year or $191 a month.

  • Upon further reviewing your budget, you opt to skip a big vacation for the next two years (a savings of $2,300 each year) and instead divert this money to your savings. You've now met your house savings goal!

Remember, the cutbacks or extra work required to meet your savings goal aren't permanent. In fact, many financial gurus recommend working to meet your goal in two years or less to prevent burnout.

By diverting unexpected income windfalls and strategically reducing your expenses, you can meet your savings goal faster than you ever anticipated.

Ready to start looking for your ideal home? Contact us today to get started!


    Rapid-fire Real Estate in April

    Majority of homes in Brunswick County sell in 5 days or less

    SHALLOTTE, N.C. - Brunswick County Association of Realtors

    Thanks to tight inventory and strong demand, homes sold in rapid-fire fashion in Brunswick County during April. A majority of homes sold spent less than five days on the market last month, and homes spent an average of 25 days on the market.

    "Thanks to strong demand and a limited inventory of available homes, Brunswick County once again saw a strong seller's market in April," said BCAR CEO Cynthia Walsh. "Homes sold in rapid-fire fashion last month, with a majority spending five days or less on the market. Additionally, a number of homes sold for more than list price, likely a result of sellers receiving multiple offers. The combination of strong demand and limited inventory once again drove prices upward. Our market remains intensely competitive, and serious buyers would benefit from working with a professional REALTOR®."

    Brunswick County saw $217,860,000 in total sales volume in April 2022, a 4.6% decrease from last April's $228,350,00. New listings dropped 7.1%, from 631 to 586, the lowest differential since the beginning of 2022. As of May 10, there were only 481 active listings. The number of units sold in April dropped 22.5% compared to last year, from 622 to 482, and 54% of the homes sold spent five days or less on the market. The absorption rate, which is the amount of time it would take to sell all available inventory, is one month. The average sales price increased 23.1%, from $367,127 to $451,993. Brunswick County's luxury market remained strong in April, with 19 sales in excess of $1 million, including a $3.2 million sale on Bald Head Island and a $2.8 million sale in Holden Beach.

    Year-to-date totals are following a similar pattern. Year-to-date sales volume through April is $774,220,000, down 2.4% from $793,649,429 last year. Average sales prices are 22.4% higher than last year, increasing from $359,971 to $440,574. The number of units sold through April is down 20.1%, from 2199 to 1757, and the number of new listings is down 16.9%, from 2438 to 2026. Year-to-date there were 73 sales in excess of $1 million, up from 44 at the same time last year.

    Brunswick County

    New Listings

    • April 2022: 586
    • April 2021: 631
    • Increase/Decrease: -7.1%

    Units Sold

    • April 2022: 482
    • April 2021: 622
    • Increase/Decrease: -22.5%

    Average Sales Price

    • April 2022: $451,993
    • April 2021: $367,127
    • Increase/Decrease: +23.1%

    Median Sales Price

    • April 2022: $379,450
    • April 2021: $295,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +28.6%

    Total Sales Volume

    • April 2022: $217,860,000
    • April 2021: $228,350,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -4.6%

    Bladen County

    New Listings

    • April 2022: 8
    • April 2021: 11
    • Increase/Decrease: -27.3%

    Units Sold

    • April 2022: 11
    • April 2021: 10
    • Increase/Decrease: +10%

    Average Sales Price

    • April 2022: $284.945
    • April 2021: $149.165
    • Increase/Decrease: +91%

    Total Sales Volume

    • April 2022: $3,130,000
    • April 2021: $1,490,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +110.1%

    Columbus County

    New Listings

    • April 2022: 43
    • April 2021: 38
    • Increase/Decrease: +13.2%

    Units Sold

    • April 2022: 26
    • April 2021: 27
    • Increase/Decrease: -3.7%

    Average Sales Price

    • April 2022: $193,492
    • April 2021: $118,600
    • Increase/Decrease: +63.1%

    Total Sales Volume

    • April 2022: $5,030,000
    • April 2021: $3,200,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +57.2%

    Robeson County

    New Listings

    • April 2022: 7
    • April 2021: 8
    • Increase/Decrease: +75%

    Units Sold

    • April 2022: 6
    • April 2021: 3
    • Increase/Decrease: +100%

    Average Sales Price

    • April 2022: $150,167
    • April 2021: $148,167
    • Increase/Decrease: +1.3%

    Total Sales Volume

    • April 2022: $901,000
    • April 2021: $444,500
    • Increase/Decrease: +102.7%

    The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers and Affiliate Members.  For more information, please visit


    Brunswick County's real estate market again sees tight inventory, higher prices in February

    Same Story, Different Month

    SHALLOTTE, N.C. — Brunswick County Association of Realtors

    Brunswick County's residential real estate market continued a familiar pattern in February, with higher prices, fewer new listings and low inventory. Thanks to the increase in average sale prices, total sales volume jumped 6.5% despite a 17.3% drop in homes sold.

    "When it comes to our real estate market's performance in February, it's 'same story, different month,'" said BCAR CEO Cynthia Walsh. "We continue to see fewer listings, and inventory is at a 12-month low. Additionally, the number of active listings dropped nearly 45% from January to February. The tight inventory, coupled with strong demand and a strong luxury market, is driving average sale prices and total sales volume upward. We continue to see a strong seller's market with plenty of interested buyers, but not enough homes to accommodate them."

    Brunswick County saw $175,080,000 in total sales volume in February 2022, a 6.5% increase from last February's $164,449,429. New listings dropped 22.2%, from 563 to 438, and the number of units sold dropped 17.3% compared to last year, from 463 to 383. The absorption rate, which is the amount of time it would take to sell all available inventory, is less than one month, and homes are spending an average of 30 days on the market. The average sales price increased 28.7%, from $355,182 to $457,130. Brunswick County once again saw a strong luxury home market in February, with 19 sales in excess of $1 million, two sales in excess of $3 million and two in excess of $2 million.

    Total sales volume is ahead of last year's record pace, while the number of homes sold is down. The total year-to-date sales volume in 2022 is $336,520,000, up from $328,339,429 last year, a 2.5% increase. Average sales prices are 10% higher than last year, jumping from $398,772 to $438,770. The number of units sold through February is down 17.3%, dropping from 928 to 767. Brunswick County has seen 825 new listings this year, down from 1,115 at the same point last year, a 26% drop.

    Brunswick County

    New Listings

    • February 2022: 438
    • February 2021: 563
    • Increase/Decrease: -22.2%

    Units Sold

    • February 2022: 383
    • February 2021: 463
    • Increase/Decrease: -17.3%

    Average Sales Price

    • February 2022: $457,130
    • February 2021: $355,182
    • Increase/Decrease: +28.7%

    Median Sales Price

    • February 2022: $356,991
    • February 2021: $292,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +22.3%

    Total Sales Volume

    • February 2022: $175,080,000
    • February 2021: $164,449,429
    • Increase/Decrease: +6.5%

    Bladen County

    New Listings

    • February 2022: 10
    • February 2021: 10
    • Increase/Decrease: +0.0%

    Units Sold

    • February 2022: 13
    • February2021: 9
    • Increase/Decrease: +44.4%

    Average Sales Price

    • February2022: $151,215
    • February 2021: $135,800
    • Increase/Decrease: +11.4%

    Total Sales Volume

    • February 2022: $1,970,000
    • February 2021: $1,222,200
    • Increase/Decrease: +61.2%

    Columbus County

    New Listings

    • February 2022: 33
    • February 2021: 23
    • Increase/Decrease: +43.5%

    Units Sold

    • February 2022: 19
    • February 2021: 20
    • Increase/Decrease: -5.0%

    Average Sales Price

    • February 2022: $174,666
    • February 2021: $148,525
    • Increase/Decrease: +17.6%

    Total Sales Volume

    • February 2022: $3,320,000
    • February 2021: $2,990,500
    • Increase/Decrease: +11.0%

    The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers and Affiliate Members.  For more information, please visit


    Brunswick County's real estate market sees higher prices, fewer homes sold in January due to all-time low inventory

    February 15, 2022 -  Brunswick County Association of Realtors

    Brunswick County's residential real estate market saw fewer homes sold in January due to inventory being at an all-time low. Total sales volume was only down 1.5% thanks to higher average sale prices, which were fueled by the low inventory, strong demand, and strong luxury sales.

    "As usual, January came with broken resolutions, bad weather and fewer homes sold," said BCAR CEO Cynthia Walsh. "Inventory is extremely low, which makes it harder for buyers to find the right home. Working with a professional REALTOR® who can help them navigate this competitive market is a must for homebuyers. The market is positioned to remain in a seller's market for the foreseeable future."

    Brunswick County saw $161,440,000 in total sales volume in January 2022, a 1.5% decrease from last January's $163,890,000. New listings dropped 29.9%, from 552 to 387, and the number of units sold was down 17.4%, from 465 to 384. Active listings decreased 40.8% compared to January of 2021, from 1122 to a 12-month low of 664. The absorption rate, which is the amount of time it would take to sell all available inventory, is at an all-time low of 40 days. The average sales price increased 19.3%, from $352,452 to $420,409. In January of 2022 there were 11 sales in excess of $1 million, with two sales in excess of $2 million. Additionally, 26% of all homes sold in January went for more than $500,000.

    "With little to no inventory, few new listings, and selling prices continuing to rise, the luxury sales are leading the way for a strong market in 2022. We expect a continuation of the conditions we saw last year," said Walsh.

    Brunswick County

    New Listings

    • January 2022: 387
    • January 2021: 552
    • Increase/Decrease: -29.9%

    Units Sold

    • January 2022: 384
    • January 2021: 465
    • Increase/Decrease: -17.4%

    Average Sales Price

    • January 2022: $420,409
    • January 2021: $352,452
    • Increase/Decrease: +19.3%

    Median Sales Price

    • January 2022: $335,470
    • January 2021: $289,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +16.1%

    Total Sales Volume

    • January 2022: $161,440,000
    • January 2021: $163,890,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -1.5%

    Bladen County

    New Listings

    • January 2022: 11
    • January 2021: 5
    • Increase/Decrease: +120.0%

    Units Sold

    • January 2022: 8
    • January 2021: 6
    • Increase/Decrease: +33.3%

    Average Sales Price

    • January 2022: $224,038
    • January 2021: $202,167
    • Increase/Decrease: +10.8%

    Total Sales Volume

    • January 2022: $1,790,000
    • January 2021: $1,210,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +47.9%

    Columbus County

    New Listings

    • January 2022: 23
    • January 2021: 24
    • Increase/Decrease: -4.2%

    Units Sold

    • January 2022: 17
    • January 2021: 14
    • Increase/Decrease: +21.4%

    Average Sales Price

    • January 2022: $189,618
    • January 2021: $190,321
    • Increase/Decrease: -0.4%

    Total Sales Volume

    • January 2022: $3,220,000
    • January 2021: $2,660,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +21.1%

    The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers and Affiliate Members. For more information, please visit


    Brunswick County's real estate market saw almost $3 billion in total sales in 2021

    January 14, 2022 - Brunswick County Association of Realtors 

    Brunswick County's residential real estate market demonstrated remarkable consistency throughout 2021, ending the year with almost $3 billion in total sales. New listings and units sold were up slightly compared to 2020. Total sales volume was up 26.1% compared to 2020's record-breaking numbers, with the increase driven in large part by higher average sale prices.

    "2020's record sales totals foreshadowed the numbers we saw in 2021," said BCAR CEO Cynthia Walsh. "Thanks to continued strong demand and limited inventory, homes are selling quickly and at higher prices. Additionally, we saw an unprecedented number of luxury home sales in 2021. We see no indications of a drop in demand in the near future, so sales volume in January will likely be driven by available inventory. Our market remains in strong shape to kick off the New Year."

    Total sales volume increased from $2,144,523,000 in 2020 to $2,703,339,429 in 2021. The number of new listings were up 2.4%, from 6992 to 7157, and the number of units sold increased 7.8%, from 6285 to 6777. Average sales prices were up 19.3% compared to 2020, jumping from $334,251 to $398,774. The increase in average sale prices was fueled in part by a strong luxury market: the number of luxury sales jumped from 127 in 2020 to 229 in 2021, and luxury sales comprised nearly 3.5% of the market. Brunswick County's largest transaction in 2021 was a $6.1 million residence on Bald Head Island.

    When it comes to December's numbers, new listings and units sold were down slightly, total sales volume increased, and homes are spending less time on the market. Total sales volume increased 12.9% compared to December 2020, from $214,510,000 to $242,240,000, and average sales prices were up 18.3%, from $371,768 to $439,631. The increase in average sales prices was largely driven by luxury sales, as was the case throughout 2021. December saw 27 sales of $1 million or higher, with the largest being a $3.75 million transaction.

    "December saw the highest number of homes sold in the fourth quarter, which is odd given that December is historically the slowest sales month of the year," said Walsh. "Prices are up, and the number of pending sales dropped to 400 in December. While the drop in pending sales could foreshadow a decrease in January, we expect the numbers to remain strong given that homes have been selling quickly."

    The number of new listings dropped 4.4% in December, from 385 to 368, and the number of units sold was down 4.5%, from 577 to 551. Homes are spending 30 days or less on the market, depending on location, which is a drop of roughly half since December 2020.


    Brunswick County

    New Listings

    • December 2021: 368
    • December 2020: 385
    • Increase/Decrease: -4.4%

    Units Sold

    • December 2021: 551
    • December 2020: 577
    • Increase/Decrease: -4.5%

    Average Sales Price

    • December 2021: $439,631
    • December 2020: $371,768
    • Increase/Decrease: +18.3%

    Median Sales Price

    • December 2021: $359,000
    • December 2020: $295,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +21.7%

    Total Sales Volume

    • December 2021: $242,240,000
    • December 2020: $214,510,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +12.9%

    Bladen County

    New Listings

    • December 2021: 12
    • December 2020: 7
    • Increase/Decrease: +71.4%

    Units Sold

    • December 2021: 8
    • December 2020: 7
    • Increase/Decrease: +14.3%

    Average Sales Price

    • December 2021: $256,863
    • December 2020: $292,851
    • Increase/Decrease: -12.3%

    Total Sales Volume

    • December 2021: $2,050,000
    • December 2020: $2,050,000
    • Increase/Decrease: 0.0%

    Columbus County

    New Listings

    • December 2021: 16
    • December 2020: 9
    • Increase/Decrease: +77.8%

    Units Sold

    • December 2021: 27
    • December 2020: 24
    • Increase/Decrease: +12.5%

    Average Sales Price

    • December 2021: $192,142
    • December 2020: $173,979
    • Increase/Decrease: +10.4%

    Total Sales Volume

    • December 2021: $5,190,000
    • December 2020: $4,180,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +24.2%

    The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers and Affiliate Members. Chartered in 1959 by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), BCAR represents the interests of its members in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. For more information, please visit


    Brunswick County's real estate market sees higher prices, increased sales volume and tight inventory in November

    December 22, 2021 - Brunswick County Association of Realtors 

    Brunswick County's residential real estate market saw higher prices, higher sales volume and a tight inventory of available homes in November. The market remains ahead of 2020's record pace in terms of total sales volume for the year. While the number of units sold in November was down slightly, total sales volume increased 10.2% compared to 2020, and new listings were down 13.5%.

    "Our market has been amazingly resilient throughout 2021," said BCAR CEO Cynthia Walsh. "We continue to see strong demand and a tight inventory, which results in homes selling quickly and at higher prices. In addition, a strong luxury home market continues to fuel our higher average sale price. The bottom line is that our market is in good shape as 2021 comes to a close."

    Brunswick County saw $205,540,000 in total sales volume in November 2021, a 10.2% increase from last November's $186,450,000. New listings dropped 13.5%, from 547 to 473, and the number of units sold decreased 5.6%, from 533 to 503. The market saw a net increase of 30 new listings, which reflects the difference between units sold and new listings. The average sales price increased 16.8%, from $349,811 to $408,628, and was fueled in part by luxury home sales. November saw 19 sales in excess of $1 million, with the highest being a $2.4 million transaction. The average number of days on the market is down slightly at 27 days, with a median of nine days.

    Overall, Brunswick County's year-to-date numbers are still ahead of 2020's pace. Total sales volume is up 27.5% compared to the same point in 2020, increasing from $1,930,013,000 to $2,461,099,429. Average sales prices for the year are up 19.4%, from $330,840 in 2020 to $395,059 in 2021. The number of units sold through November is up 9.1%, from 5,708 to 6,226. The number of new listings for the year saw a slight 2.8% increase, from 6,607 to 6,789.

    Brunswick County

    New Listings

    • November 2021: 473
    • November 2020: 547
    • Increase/Decrease: -13.5%

    Units Sold

    • November 2021: 503
    • November 2020: 533
    • Increase/Decrease: -5.6%

    Average Sales Price

    • November 2021: $408,628
    • November 2020: $349,811
    • Increase/Decrease: +16.8%

    Median Sales Price

    • November 2021: $330,000
    • November 2020: $280,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +17.9%

    Total Sales Volume

    • November 2021: $205,540,000
    • November 2020: $186,450,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +10.2%

    Bladen County

    New Listings

    • November 2021: 11
    • November 2020: 5
    • Increase/Decrease: +120.0%

    Units Sold

    • November 2021: 14
    • November 2020: 14
    • Increase/Decrease: 0.0%

    Average Sales Price

    • November 2021: $281,854
    • November 2020: $192,211
    • Increase/Decrease: +46.6%

    Total Sales Volume

    • November 2021: $3,950,000
    • November 2020: $2,690,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +46.8%

    Columbus County

    New Listings

    • November 2021: 22
    • November 2020: 22
    • Increase/Decrease: 0.0%

    Units Sold

    • November 2021: 24
    • November 2020: 22
    • Increase/Decrease: +9.1%

    Average Sales Price

    • November 2021: $198,496
    • November 2020: $131,506
    • Increase/Decrease: +50.9%

    Total Sales Volume

    • November 2021: $4,760,000
    • November 2020: $2,890,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +64.7%

    The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is the local association level of the largest trade association in the nation, presently serving its members, which are comprised of REALTORS®, Appraisers and Affiliate Members. Chartered in 1959 by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), BCAR represents the interests of its members in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. For more information, please visit


    Brunswick County's real estate market sees first significant drop in sales this year

    Last month, Brunswick County's residential real estate market saw its first significant drop in monthly sales volume and increase in inventory so far this year. Total sales volume in October was down 19.5% compared to 2020. The only other month with a drop in total sales volume so far this year is August, which saw a slight 0.7% decrease. The market also saw 135 new listings in October.

    "While our market remains ahead of last year's record pace, sales volume was down slightly in October compared to 2020," said BCAR CEO Cynthia Walsh. "Even though some national experts think the market may be in the early stages of a cool-down, Brunswick County's market remains consistent. Prices are up, and homes are selling quickly. We expect our market to remain strong moving into Winter."

    Brunswick County saw $210,450,000 in total sales volume in October 2021, a 19.5% decrease from last October's $261,340,000, with luxury sales contributing almost $36,000,000. There were 23 sales in excess of $1 million last month, with the highest being $2.75 million. New listings dropped 6.0% compared to last October, from 662 to 622. The number of units sold decreased 27.3%, from 670 to 487, but pending sales are up 24% over last month. Homes are averaging 30 days on the market, and homes listed below $299,000 are spending 15 days or less on the market. The average sales price increased from $390,062 to $432,131, a 10.8% increase fueled by strong luxury home sales.

    The market's year-to-date numbers remain ahead of last year's pace. Total sales volume is up 29.4% compared to 2020, increasing from $1,743,563,000 to $2,255,559,429. Average sales prices are 19.7% higher than 2020, jumping from $328,943 to $393,703. The number of units sold through October is up 10.6%, from 5,175 to 5,723. New listings increased 4.2%, from 6,060 to 6,316.

    Brunswick County

    New Listings

    • October 2021: 622
    • October 2020: 662
    • Increase/Decrease: -6.0%

    Units Sold

    • October 2021: 487
    • October 2020: 670
    • Increase/Decrease: -27.3%

    Average Sales Price

    • October 2021: $432,131
    • October 2020: $390,062
    • Increase/Decrease: +10.8%

    Median Sales Price

    • October 2021: $343,168
    • October 2020: $311,500
    • Increase/Decrease: +10.2%

    Total Sales Volume

    • October 2021: $210,450,000
    • October 2020: $261,340,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -19.5%

    Bladen County

    New Listings

    • October 2021: 9
    • October 2020: 9
    • Increase/Decrease: 0.0%

    Units Sold

    • October 2021: 18
    • October 2020: 12
    • Increase/Decrease: +50.0%

    Average Sales Price

    • October 2021: $188,289
    • October 2020: $134,058
    • Increase/Decrease: +40.5%

    Total Sales Volume

    • October 2021: $3,390,000
    • October 2020: $1,610,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +110.6%

    Columbus County

    New Listings

    • October 2021: 37
    • October 2020: 30
    • Increase/Decrease: +23.3%

    Units Sold

    • October 2021: 29
    • October 2020: 23
    • Increase/Decrease: +26.1%

    Average Sales Price

    • October 2021: $192,366
    • October 2020: $152,230
    • Increase/Decrease: +26.4%

    Total Sales Volume

    • October 2021: $5,580,000
    • October 2020: $3,500,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +59.4%

    Source: The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR)


    Brunswick County again sees higher real estate prices, tight inventory in August, Year-to-date sales up 44.5% compared to 2020

    Brunswick County's residential real estate market once again saw increased prices and low inventory in August. While total sales volume was slightly down in August, total year-to-date sales volume is up 44.5% compared the same month last year.

    "On the surface it might seem like last month saw a slight downturn, but when you look closely, the big picture shows that the market is maintaining strength." said BCAR CEO Cynthia Walsh. "Overall, the market is stable and with year-to-date sales up 44.5%, it is more than a possibility we will reach $2 billion in sales before the 4th quarter."

    In August 2021 Brunswick County saw $246,620,000 in total sales, a 0.7% decrease from last August's $248,323,000. Despite this decrease, total year-to-date sales are up 44.5% compared to 2020, increasing from $1,244,333,000 to $1,797,989,429.

    While number of units sold fell slightly with a 11.1% decrease from 667 to 593, the six-month average remains consistent at approximately 600 – 650 sales a month. The average sales price increased 11.7%, from $372,449 to $415,883, fueled by a higher number of luxury home sales. One hundred and twelve homes sold between $500,000 – $999,999 and 23 homes sold for over $1 million, with the largest two sales being over $3 million.

    Average sale prices for the year are up 20.4% compared to last year, increasing from $318,948 to $338,919, and the number of units sold through August is up from $3,820 to $4,666, a 22.1% increase. Demand is high with listings on the market for about 20 days. New listings in August 2021 saw a 7.2% increase, growing from 636 to 682.

    Brunswick County

    New Listings

    • August 2021: 682
    • August 2020: 636
    • Increase/Decrease: +7.2%

    Units Sold

    • August 2021: 593
    • August 2020: 667
    • Increase/Decrease: -11.1%

    Average Sales Price

    • August 2021: $415,883
    • August 2020: $372,449
    • Increase/Decrease: +11.7%

    Total Sales Volume

    • August 2021: $246,620,000
    • August 2020: $248,323,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -0.7%

    Bladen County

    New Listings

    • August 2021: 20
    • August 2020: 7
    • Increase/Decrease: +185.7%

    Units Sold

    • August 2021: 13
    • August 2020: 3
    • Increase/Decrease: +333.3%

    Average Sales Price

    • August 2021: $232,469
    • August 2020: $700,000
    • Increase/Decrease: -66.8%

    Total Sales Volume

    • August 2021: $3,020,000
    • August 2020: $2,100,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +43.8%

    Columbus County

    New Listings

    • August 2021: 37
    • August 2020: 33
    • Increase/Decrease: +12.1%

    Units Sold

    • August 2021: 33
    • August 2020: 26
    • Increase/Decrease: +26.9%

    Average Sales Price

    • August 2021: $246,548
    • August 2020: $162,583
    • Increase/Decrease: +51.6%

    Total Sales Volume

    • August 2021: $8,140,000
    • August 2020: $4,230,000
    • Increase/Decrease: +92.4%

    Source: The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR)


    March yields Brunswick County's highest real estate sales total in 2021, sales volume nearly doubles compared to March 2020

    April 13, 2021 - Brunswick County Association of Realtors

    Brunswick County's residential real estate market saw its strongest sales this year in March, with sales volume nearly doubling and units sold up by half compared to March of 2020. Additionally, March's sales volume outpaced every other month in the past five years except for June and July of 2020.

    "I feel like I'm running out of descriptive words and adjectives to describe the continuously red-hot real estate market we are experiencing." said BCAR CEO Cynthia Walsh. "Prices are up, sales figures are off the chart, and available inventory and the absorption rate are amazingly low. Our total sales in the first quarter were higher than ALL of 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and just slightly lower than 2012. These numbers are astounding, and we see no indications of a slowdown as we move into summer."

    Brunswick County saw $236,960,000 in total sales in March 2021, an 85.4% spike over last March's $127,800,000. The number of units sold jumped 50.6%, from 431 to 649. The average sales price increased 23.1%, from $296,515 to $365,121. Twenty homes sold for more than $1 million last month, more than 100 homes sold for between $500,000 and $999,999, and there are two pending sales over $3 million and two over $2 million. Current active listings are at an all-time low of 629, and the absorption rate is 1.5 months.

    Brunswick County

    New Listings
    March 2021: 692
    March 2020: 622
    Increase/Decrease: +11.3%

    Units Sold
    March 2021: 649
    March 2020: 431
    Increase/Decrease: +50.6%

    Average Sale Price
    March2021: $365,121
    March2020: $296,515Increase/Decrease: +23.1%

    Total Sales Volume
    March 2021: $236,960,000
    March 2020: $127,800,000
    Increase/Decrease: +85.4%

    Bladen County

    New Listings
    March 2021: 18
    March 2020: 15
    Increase/Decrease: +20%

    Units Sold
    March 2021: 9
    March 2020: 12
    Increase/Decrease: -25%

    Average Sale Price
    March 2021: $206,589
    March 2020: $173,919
    Increase/Decrease: +18.8 %

    Total Sales Volume
    March 2021: $1,860,000
    March 2020: $2,090,000
    Increase/Decrease: -11%

    Columbus County

    New Listings
    March 2021: 34
    March 2020: 40
    Increase/Decrease: -15%

    Units Sold
    March 2021: 24
    March 2020: 17
    Increase/Decrease: +41.2%

    Average Sale Price
    March 2021: $139,729
    March 2020: $132,379
    Increase/Decrease: +5.6 %

    Total Sales Volume
    March 2021: $3,350,000
    March 2020: $2,250,000
    Increase/Decrease: +48.9%

    Source: BCAR website  (page view


    Market Data in Detail!

    Source: Brunswick County Association of Realtors, Cynthia Walsh, CAE, RCE, ePro, C2EX


    Q. When is the Right Time to Sell Your Home? A. When Somebody Else Wants to Buy It!

    Few of us could have imagined the changes 2020 had in store for us this time last year.  Changes to our work lives, schooling, finances and retirement plans, travel plans and commute times, family organization, even cooking, outdoor activities and other hobbies have been transformed. For some of us, there's been a growing mismatch between the home we've loved for years and the way we live now.

    Even if you're happy in your current home and it fits you to a tee, you owe it to yourself to consider the market.  Let us help you identify the opportunities that make up the silver lining of a very difficult year. It may be that the perfect buyer for your home is out there right now.  You might maximize the utility of your home by selling it now and moving ahead to your next real estate investment that will better accommodate your needs in the future. 

    Q.     What about the upgrades I was planning to make to my outdated kitchen? I want to get top dollar for my home!

    A.     Many buyers would prefer to choose their own appliances and finishes.  A good Buyer's Agent will help them connect with qualified professionals to do the work on a convenient schedule after they take possession of the home. Instead of making cosmetic improvements, focus your energy on any functional repairs that may be needed.  The point is to reinforce the idea that your home has been well-maintained.  You can look forward to putting your creative energies into a new home!

    Q.     Where will I move ?

    A.     Wherever you want!  See something you like? Let us approach the current owner and make inquiries on your behalf.  Your interest might persuade someone else who just happens to be "sitting on the fence" at the moment.  We can also find you a "lot and home package."  Builders often buy vacant land for future spec projects at very low prices. Many of them are more than happy to sell under the condition that you use them to construct the new home.  This can represent a great value for the buyer since they'll already have plans selected that suit the location and meet local building codes.  You'll often have the added advantage of choosing your appliance package, paint colors, hardware and other features without having to pay the higher price of a truly custom home. 

     Q.     Life is so hectic these days.  I don't have time to drive around looking at things or spend hours online.

    A.     You don't have to, that's our job!  We can be sure that you're notified as soon as something new comes on the market that meets your specific criteria.  If you need three bedrooms, you will only see homes with three bedrooms, not two, and not four.  You'll be surprised at the way we're able to customize our searches by the school district, distance from the beach, community amenities, and of course the features of the home itself.  We also see a wider range of options coming on the market now.  Some people are letting go of their primary residence to move to their second home full-time.  Some are getting out of their rental investments and some are letting go of investments in land. We will help you explore all the options.

     Q.     How will I manage to afford it?  Times are tough!

    A.     You might be surprised.  Talk to your banker or credit union representative.  Rates are still at near all-time lows and getting pre-approved makes any offer you do make all the more attractive.  For some, working from home means being able to save money on their commute to work.  It may also mean you can relocate to a neighborhood with no POA fees, lower taxes, lower insurance rates, or simply a lower price per square foot.  More people are also combining households these days. What was once the 'down-sized' retirement home for someone who has decided to move in with adult children might be the perfect next home for you!

     Q.     We want to wait and sell at the top of the market.  Are we there yet?

    A.     You never really know where the top of the market is, until it's already in the past. This is why "market timing" doesn't actually work when it comes to selling real estate. By the time you notice a slight drop in closed prices, everyone else sees it too.  And those closed prices are based on contracts signed 30-60 days or more in the past! There will be a slight increase in inventory at this point because nobody wants to miss the opportunity to realize their home's top value.  That's understandable but increased supply means decreased relative demand.  Prospective buyers will also think they might gain some advantage by waiting a bit longer. They feel no urgency anymore. Additionally, homes don't typically sell the moment they're listed. The idea of market timing is based on automated sell orders you can set for stock market investments. The mechanics of this situation are just not the same. Another, often overlooked, reason for selling before you see the absolute peak is what we like to call "instant equity." When you anticipate the market, your new home's value will be lifted as we crest the peak of top pricing. That value becomes yours as equity, while you continue to pay the low mortgage rates locked in shortly before your closing date.

     Q.     What's the next step? How do I begin the process of listing my home?

    A.     You've heard you should never expect something for nothing, but that's not entirely true.  The first thing a good listing agent will do is gather information for a comparative market analysis.  We do that for free, before you sign any sort of contract, so you will know where you stand in a competitive market.  It's also the only way for us to develop an appropriate marketing plan.  We have the tools to present your home to the pool of most likely buyers as soon as it's listed.  Whether that means including it in the Luxury Portfolio program, or digging into our contact lists for the new buyer who has been waiting to leave a long-term rental for a new home that is just the right fit. We're hearing from lots of folks who want to downsize as well as those who want more space, or just more flexible space. And we're always active with relocation clients. Don't forget, we've been turning visitors into locals since 1981!

    Drop us an email or give us a call.  We look forward to hearing from you!



    5 Things to do Before Buying a Home

    Buying a Home

    As interest rates hit record lows in recent months, would-be homeowners have been inspired to seek more spacious dwellings, with rooms where parents and kids can have a comfortable space to work or attend class remotely. If you're a first-time homebuyer looking for more space for your family, you may find your dream home among Southport homes for sale. But have you taken the right steps to ensure you're ready to make the deal? Make sure to do these five things before starting your house hunt. 

    1. Determine Your Financial Health
      Before you start house shopping, pre-qualify for a mortgage. Sure, the impulse is to rush right over and claim your dream home. But think of the heartache when you learn you don't qualify for it! Your credit score and down payment will determine if you're qualified to purchase the house. It'll be a letdown to learn you have to work at raising your credit score, but you can do it. You'll find another home when the time comes.

    2. Get Your Financing in Place
      Get your financing squared away before you start shopping in earnest. If you're a first-time homebuyer, for instance, you probably qualify for several types of financial assistance, such as Federal Housing Authority mortgages, offered at 3.5 percent down payment; USDA low-rate loans for rural and suburban properties, with 100 percent financing; VA loans, with possible 0 percent down and no mortgage insurance; and GSE conventional loans with 3 percent down through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. First-time homebuyers may also withdraw up to $10,000 out of an individual traditional IRA or Roth IRA without paying an early withdrawal penalty, although you still must pay taxes on a traditional IRA.  

    3. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
      Don't go house shopping without having enlisted your own real estate agent. Choose one who will work for you during those crucial moments, such as the walk-through or at the closing table. Your agent should know the market and the area, and be able to point out the advantages and disadvantages of the location and the home you're considering.

    4. Choose Your Location
      You may have more than one location in mind, and that's just fine. Do check out such things as traffic at rush hour near your dream home; how busy the road in front of your potential home is; how safe you feel; and how well kept the neighborhood is.

    5. Watch Your Credit
      It's crucial to prevent dips in your credit score from preapproval to closing. Avoid opening new cards or closing existing accounts. Resist big purchases such as cars or financing furniture for your new home. Pay existing balances to below 30 percent of your limit. Pay on time and in full each month. 

    Our real estate agents can advise you on these steps, and others, to make sure you're a happy homeowner once the deal is sealed. Our knowledgeable team can help with more tips on preparing to buy a Southport home. Contact us today


    7 Signs You've Found Your Dream Home

    Dream Home in Southport

    At some point in your house-hunting process, you may begin to wonder if you'll ever find just the right home. But then one day, like magic, there it is...your dream home. A little later, though, doubts set in, and you second guess yourself. Need some help? Our REALTORS® can advise you on discerning when you've found your ideal home among all the Southport homes for sale that you've looked at.

    Here are seven signs you have found just the right home for you and your loved ones.

    1. You're willing to overlook flaws.
      You know how you've felt in so many houses when you've encountered flaws. You know they can be repaired or negotiated over, but you're just not willing to do so. In your dream home, however, it's a different story. As the real estate agent points out flaws, you are mentally finding ways to fix them.

    2. It's within your budget.
      Sometimes house hunters get so excited over a home that they forget it's not within the budget they have set themselves, and they start looking for ways to make it happen anyway. It's a bad idea to go over budget; otherwise, you could end up with buyer's remorse when you remember things like property tax, home insurance, closing costs, and renovations. Concentrate on saving as much as you can and then plan on investing that amount in your home, but staying strictly within your means.

    3. It's the right location.
      You have in mind the locations you're willing to live in. Maybe it's about proximity to your job, to schools or amenities, but if the home is in one of your primary choices for location, it's checking an important box. There's not much reason to consider homes that aren't where you want to be.

    4. The home fulfills your wants as well as your needs.
      You have known that your dream home should have the features you need -- certain square footage; split level, single-story or two-story design; so many bathrooms and bedrooms, etc. But beyond the basics, you've yearned for a fireplace, a cathedral ceiling, a swimming pool, or an enormous yard. If this home has all you need, plus many of those pluses, it may be the right one for you.

    5. You start planning for how the home will look.
      Once you find your dream home, you'll immediately begin to paint an imaginary picture of how it will look when you put your distinctive imprint on it. Maybe you'll start with new paint and flooring, or undertake some significant renovations such as replacing windows, installing cabinets, or expanding a kitchen island. Whatever you do, this home will be your palette, as you envision where the furniture will go, the style of window treatments you'll choose, or how the bathroom will look with new appliances. 

    6. You envision your future in the home.
      A dream home should inspire the potential buyer to see down the road, five or ten years, as the setting for you and your family. Yes, you may move in the future. But for now, is this the place you want to be?

    7. Your gut feeling tells you this is the right choice.
      You should have a gut feeling that this is the right home for you. If that's not there, you probably should pass.

    Our real estate agents can help you find your Southport dream home. Contact us today. 


    5 Things People Forget to do After They Move

    Moving Tips

    No matter how carefully you plan, moving day can be time-consuming and tiring.

    Our real estate agents know nothing beats the excitement of moving into the home of your dreams. After weeks visiting the best Southport homes for sale, getting financing in order, and negotiating a good price, it's not unusual to crash into bed exhausted but accomplished.

    The next day, most people start thinking about all the things they forgot.

    Even the best-planned move tends to have a few hiccups along the way. There are so many things to take care of that you may simply run out of time. The sooner you catch up with those errands, though, the easier it'll be to enjoy your new property to the utmost.

    So, what are the biggest things home buyers forget to do after they move?

    Here's our list of the five top culprits:

    1. Make Sure Utilities Are Turned On 
      Water, electricity, internet. While they're working, it's out of sight, out of mind. The problem? Many utility companies take a very long time to start up service in a house that's been vacated before the sale. Be sure you call early – and give the company a "due date" a day or two before you actually plan to be moved in.
    2. Scope Out Smoke Detectors
      Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, and fire extinguishers are basic safety devices you want to know you can rely on. People easily forget when they last changed alarm batteries, so get it done the first week. Some modern alarms have a diagnostic mode that tells you if the battery is still charged. Fire extinguishers, on the other hand, are often easier to replace than refill.
    3. Switch Out Locks 
      Several different people can come into possession of a set of front door keys while a home is being inspected, toured, and prepared for sale. Replace the locks on your front and back doors as soon as you can. 
    4. Cancel Any Memberships You Can't Continue
      There are plenty of local memberships you simply can't take with you. One of the most common is a local gym membership. Sure, if you contact a company and let them know you've been charged in error, they may reverse it, but why go through the hassle? 
    5. Write Out a To-Do List For the First Month
      Once you've been in your new home for a few days, you're sure to start thinking of things you overlooked at first. Don't let these go undone! Put up a whiteboard or other visual reminder you can use to gather all your thoughts. It may take a while, but in 30 days or so, you'll take care of all the little chores that will help your new home run more smoothly.

    Safety and comfort go hand in hand in a new home. With these five tips in mind, you'll be on your way to a great new lifestyle here in Richmond.

    Not quite there yet? Need advice from an experienced real estate team?

    Contact us to learn more or start your home search.


    How to Save Money During the Holidays for a Down Payment

    Saving for a Down Payment

    Saving up for a down payment on one of our beautiful Southport homes for sale is quite a feat, especially during the holiday season. With gifts to buy and end-of-year bills on the horizon, saving for your down payment can be tough during the holidays. Here are a few tips from our REALTORS® to help you spend and save wisely.

    • Estimate your Down Payment Range
      To get a good idea of a firm down payment estimate, you need to first determine the price range for your home and your monthly mortgage payments. Once you've discovered a down payment range meeting your financial needs, you'll know exactly how much you need to save.

    • Create a Budget Around Your Down Payment
      Now that you have a goal, it's time to create a budget to control your spending. Determine when you believe you'll be ready to put an offer in on a home and identify how much you'll need to save each week to meet that timeline.

    • Track Your Bills
      As winter weather moves in, your utility bills will increase. Research your monthly averages from the previous year and strive to keep them the same or lower. If you can, try to reduce your utility consumption.

    • Eliminate Impulse Purchases
      You'd be surprised how much you'll save by drinking and eating out less. Purchase cheaper items at the grocery store and enjoy coffee, meals, and snacks at home without racking up impulse purchases.

    • Use Cash As Much As Possible
      Swiping a credit card is easy and effortless — which means racking up debt or draining your account is just as swift. By using cash as frequently as possible, you can keep track of every dollar you spend. Consider taking out your gift budget in cash, so you know when you've reached your limit.

    • Limit Gift Giving
      While we all want to show our friends and family members, how much we care, it's quality that matters, not quantity. Limit the number of gifts you're hoping to buy and instead focus on getting a small number of presents that are truly meaningful.

    • Shop Sales
      Throughout the holiday season, many shops will have deals in-store and online that will help you save hundreds. A few hours of researching and couponing can help you create an unforgettable holiday without foregoing your strict budget.

    • Get Creative
      Who says a gift needs to be a store-bought item? You can save money and make your presents more meaningful by handcrafting a few gifts for your loved ones. You can also consider engaging in an activity together to create wonderful memories that last longer than any physical gift.

    • Shop Early in the Year
      So many purchases in a short time can strain your finances. Get into the habit of shopping for holiday gifts throughout the year, especially when you find items on sale. This will stretch out your spending and allow you to focus on saving during the holiday season.

    • Save Actively
      The act of not spending money is admirable, but the real difference-maker is how you choose to save it. Get into the habit of actively putting money aside each week in a down payment account. Whether it's a few dollars a day or a few hundred every month, these deliberate savings will snowball into a down payment for your dream home.

    For more help buying homes in Southport during the holiday season, contact us.


    Signs it's Time to Buy Your First Home

    Time to Buy Your First Home

    You've rented numerous apartments and homes up to this point, but there was always a personal element missing. Perhaps it's time to stop renting and start looking for a more long-term place of residence to call your own. Southport homes for sale offer many luxuries and amenities for your everyday lifestyle, and with several locations to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect place for you. Even though you may not be consciously aware of it, there may be several signs that it's time to buy your own home.

    Financial Signs You're Ready to Buy A Home

    If you've ever been asked to move because your lease expired or your rent increase was too high, you may have thought about other options. Buying your own home will eliminate this from happening in the future. In some cases, your monthly mortgage may even be less than the amount you've been paying for rent. If you have good credit, you can apply for a loan for the down payment, which is usually around twenty percent. If your family is growing and you don't see relocating in the foreseeable future, then buying may be the best option. Other signs you may be experiencing when deciding on purchasing your own home are:

    • You have a steady stream of monthly income
    • You can afford (and are able) to perform the necessary upkeep and repairs
    • You're just tired of the hassle of renting
    • You want to plan for the long-term

    Buying a home is a monumental task to take on, but the signs may already be telling you that it's time to take that next step in doing so.

    Other Signs You're Ready to Buy A Home

    You may want a better life for you and your family and to live in a better neighborhood. You may feel that you've worked hard all your life and that you deserve to own your own home. Or maybe you want a backyard with a fire pit, below-ground pool, and an oversized deck for grilling and entertaining. If you plan on hosting large get-togethers or you want your place to be the main destination point for family and friends to come over on weekends, you want an area large enough to host everyone. Other signs that you're ready to make the move into your own home include:

    • Wanting your own garden
    • Having your personal space without hearing neighbors through walls
    • Having a place large enough to display all your possessions
    • The pride and satisfaction of owning your own home

    If all signs are pointing towards purchasing your own home in the Brunswick County area, our real estate agents can assist you with everything you need to get started. When your ready to begin searching for your dream home, contact us and let us help.


    Buying a House: How Do I Raise My Credit Score?

    Credit Score Improvements - Margaret Rudd

    If you're looking at buying a new home in the Southport area, you're likely going through one of the most common home-buying processes: mortgage application and pre-qualification. No matter who your lender is, they'll use your credit score as a reliable scorecard to gauge your creditworthiness and extend a line of credit to you.  

    Our REALTORS® are aware of the challenges new homebuyers face. You're probably asking yourself, "How do I raise my credit score?" Read on to find out!

    • Eliminate Petty Debts
      Your credit score is made up of several different criteria. These factors include how large debts are, how long you've had them, and how well you've paid them off, among other things. One of the most significant criteria and one you have the most control over is how sizable your debts are and how long you keep them.  

      You may be thinking that those little debts (small medical bills, old store credit cards, or paltry sums in collections) are nothing to be concerned about. In the big scheme of things, maybe they aren't, but you can raise your credit score several points by paying off those debts. 

      Several small debts can add up in the eyes of credit reporting agencies, so do yourself and your credit score a favor and settle up those smaller sums.

    • Pay Your Bills on Time
      If you're continually paying bills or loan obligations after their due date, then you're likely damaging your credit score. Credit reporting agencies see late payments as a failure to take care of the credit you have and as a result, will ding your overall credit score.

      If you have trouble paying your bills on time, and it's merely a matter of forgetfulness, then consider enrolling in automatic bill pay. You can do this either through your bill provider, such as your energy company or through your bank. In either case, eliminating the need and worry about paying your bills will make sure they're paid both on time and in full every month.  

      On top of all of that, you may receive discounts for early payment or for making direct ACH transfers to your bill providers!

    • Pay Down Your Debts
      It stands to reason from the tips above that the best way to boost your credit score is to pay down the existing debts you have. Larger debts such as student loans or another mortgage (as long as they have been paid on time) won't hurt you. But it does look much better on your credit score that you've been making a concerted effort at knocking them down.

      From your lender's standpoint, lowering your income-to-debt ratio will show you're in a better position to borrow and repay what you've taken out in loans. Your goal is to make yourself an attractive potential borrower by proving, through your credit score and financial documents, that you're capable of taking care of business.

    Speaking of taking care of business, if you're in the market for Southport homes for sale, then contact us to see our current inventory!


    Neighborhood Shopping: Choosing the Right House in Brunswick County

    Brunswick County Neighborhood Shopping - Margaret Rudd

    When you're in the market for a new home, the neighborhood you choose is just as important as the house itself. After all, the location of your home will impact your shopping and dining choices, commute times, and your lifestyle. 

    With such an important decision on the line, how do you make sure the community you're considering is right for you? Our REALTORS® help home buyers find their ideal neighborhoods every day and have gathered up a list of their favorite tips. 

    1. Consider Your Personal Preferences
      Start your search by making a list of the features you want in your new neighborhood. Is it important that your new home is close to work, in a great school district, or gives you access to a community pool? Do you want to live in the center of the city, or would you prefer the type of lifestyle that comes with living in a waterfront home? This "must-have" list will help narrow down the areas you'll explore. By listing out your requirements from the get-go, you'll save yourself the time and frustration of finding a home that seems perfect but is in a less-than-ideal location. 
    1. Talk to Your Agent
      It might go without saying, but we think your agent is the best source for advice about potential neighborhoods. We have access to the most up-to-date information and can also help you find the perfect home in the right neighborhood.

    2. Check Out Safety Statistics
      Before moving into a new neighborhood, it's essential to check out the area's safety and crime statistics. You may also want to talk to some of the area residents to get a better feel for living in the neighborhood is really like. Living in a gated community or an area with a homeowner's association can also help ensure that you're choosing a neighborhood that is both safe and quiet. 
    1. Evaluate the Community
      Some people prefer to keep a healthy distance from their neighbors, while others love living in a close-knit community. If you enjoy a laid-back island life or small-town coastal living, then you may want to explore some of the beautiful Southport homes for sale. You'll also want to consider other lifestyle factors that contribute to a community's vibe. This may include whether the area is walkable if it has easy access to parks and recreational facilities and whether residents participate in community activities.
    1. Live Like a Local
      When you're considering moving to a new neighborhood, the more time you can spend living like a local, the better off you'll be. On your days off, head over to your potential new neighborhood to run errands, check out nearby shops and go for walks. When it's time for a night out, take the opportunity to visit a local restaurant and explore the area's nightlife.

    2. Plan a Stay-Cation  
      If you want to get an idea of what a neighborhood is like, try renting for a while. Consider getting an Airbnb for a week or renting a home for a few months. Both choices will give you a chance to get an "insider's view" of what your life will be like. While you're there, consider things like local traffic, commute times, and accessibility to the places you visit most often. 

    Let Us Help You Find Your Ideal Neighborhood

    Buying a new home is a big decision, but at Margaret Rudd & Associates, we work hard to make it easy. Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started!


    Buying a Home: 5 Tips for Successful Springtime Bidding

    Spring Home Bidding-Margaret Rudd & Associates

    Buying a home in the spring means more competition among buyers, so being prepared is a must. Getting your finances in order, deciding on a neighborhood, and brushing up on your bidding strategy are key ways to make sure you get the home you want. Making your offer stand out is an absolute must. Our REALTORS® can be a big help during the entire process, but especially when you're making an offer or stuck in a bidding war. Here are some tips to navigate the process.

    1. Make your first offer incredible. Don't go into the process expecting that you'll pay below list price or assuming you can make a low offer then negotiate. There is competition in the spring, so sellers won't necessarily be willing to negotiate. And when there's competition, bidding low is a surefire way to get your bid ignored. Your agent can show you a comparative market analysis from other Southport homes for sale and help structure your offer right the first time.
    2. Prepare for a bidding war. When competition is plentiful, knowing ahead of time that a bidding war is a possibility, and what you're willing to do in that situation can help you keep perspective. You may want to discuss an escalation clause or another strategy with your agent that can give you an advantage.

    3. Offer more money. If you're competing with multiple offers or caught in a bidding war, the most tried and true strategy is offering more money. There are a few ways to do it. You can outbid other offers, increase the amount of the down payment, or even pay cash if your financial situation allows it. Keep in mind you don't always have to increase your offer by much; sometimes a few thousand will do it.
    4. Offer different terms. There are many things other than the price that can be negotiated in a real estate deal. Ideally, you want something that creates a win-win scenario. Your agent can be a big help here. They have to communicate with the seller's agent, so they can often give some insight as to what the buyer might need, why they are selling, or where you may be able to negotiate. And that's the kind of information that will help you present a better offer. You may be able to give them a longer or shorter closing time, a different share of the closing costs, a leaseback, home repairs, or personal property like furniture or appliances.
    5. Be willing to waive a contingency. If you're competing with several other offers or in a bidding war, waiving a contingency or two may give you the edge. This can be risky so it should be an informed decision. Your agent can let you know which contingencies can be waived and which can't, what the consequences are, and what might work for your situation.

    Buying a home and negotiating with a seller can be a complicated process. Having the right agent on your side can make a big difference. It can help the process go smoother and increase the chances your bid will get accepted on the home you love. Our agents at Margaret Rudd & Associates can help you at every step of the home buying process. Contact us today to get started!


    5 Reasons to Move to Brunswick County

    Moving to Brunswick County-Margaret Rudd & Associates

    According to U.S. News & World Report, North Carolina is among the top 10 fastest-growing states in the country. Homes for sale in Brunswick County, with its desirable location and plentiful mix of attractions for all ages, are a driving force behind North Carolina's appeal.

    What draws families and individuals from around the country to Brunswick County? Our REALTORS® draw on their experiences helping satisfied home buyers to offer five main reasons for Brunswick County's popularity.

    1. Scenic Location
      Sunshine, fresh air and spectacular scenery make coastal areas like Brunswick County the most sought-after places to live. Studies show living near the ocean provides significant benefits for mental and physical health. In addition, Brunswick County's proximity to cities such as Wilmington and Myrtle Beach creates the best of both worlds.
    2. Pleasant Climate
      Sperling's Best Places gives Brunswick County a score of 76 out of 100 on their Comfort Index, well above the national average of 54. The county also beats the rest of the country with 215 sunny days per year compared to 205, and with an annual average of fewer than two inches, snow is virtually non-existent.

    3. Outdoor Activities
      Even lifelong couch potatoes find it easy to maintain an active lifestyle in Brunswick County. As home to more than 30 championship courses, the county has earned the nickname of North Carolina's "golf coast." Water makes up 20 percent of Brunswick County's square mileage, resulting in numerous opportunities for swimming, water skiing, kayaking, and other aquatic sports.  

    4. Historic Tradition
      Brunswick County's rich heritage dates back to its origin in 1764. Major points of interest for residents and tourists include Old Baldy, the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina, and the USS North Carolina, a majestic battleship that played an important role in World War II. History buffs enjoy touring Fort Anderson and other local Civil War forts. 

    5. Natural Wonders
      While modern life has become increasingly dependent on technology, Brunswick County affords residents many chances to interact with nature on a regular basis. Thanks to a variety of ecosystems in the area, there are plentiful opportunities for bird watching and wildlife spotting. The unique Holden Beach Turtle Watch Program is a team of volunteers devoted to protecting the sea turtle population and educating people of all ages about the endangered species.

    Thanks to its vibrant charm, Brunswick County ranks ninth out of North Carolina's 100 counties in tourism revenues. Imagine having all these features, benefits and attractions as a part of your day-to-day life. Contact us at Margaret Rudd & Associates and let our REALTORS® find you a home in Brunswick County to enjoy for years to come.


    Moving to Holden Beach: 7 Things People Forget to Do

    Moving to Holden Beach - Margaret Rudd & Associates

    Whether you are shopping for Holden Beach homes or have already purchased one, you'll soon be moving. Pulling up stakes and moving to a new home and community is exciting, especially if you will be a first-time homeowner. However, moving is also a complicated and stressful process, and it can be quite easy to forget important details along the way. Knowing about the most common mistakes made by others can help you avoid making them yourself, so here are seven things people often forget to do during a move:

    1. Collect Important Documents – This is a task that should be on your to-do list several weeks before moving. It can take some time to get many documents, such as family medical records, prescription lists, immunization records, school records, and other official documents. Other essential papers to collect and keep track of carefully during a move include insurance policies, tax records, financial records, identification documents, wills, and other essential legal documents.

    2. Collect Scattered Belongings – Don't forget to collect items that aren't at home when you start packing up. This may include items sent to the dry-cleaners, belongings sent to repair shops, things left in your locker at the local gym or items borrowed by friends and family.

    3. Update Your Mailing Address – While most of us don't use traditional mail as much as we used to, there are still plenty of important things that arrive via "Snail Mail." Make sure you put in your change of address form with the post office before you make your move.

    4. Update Important Accounts – Remember to give your current utility companies a cutoff date for your old house and arrange to have all essential utilities in place before you move into your new one. Also, make sure you update your address and contact information for other important accounts, such as credit card companies and banks, for instance.

    5. Separate Items That Should Be Left Behind – Don't forget to leave the house keys and garage door openers for your old home's next occupants. Also, moving is the best time to thin out clutter, disposing of things you aren't likely to use in your new home.

    6. Pack "Immediate Needs" Items Separately – There are certain things you'll need to keep close during the chaos of moving. These may include prescription and over-the-counter medications you regularly use, chargers for phones and other frequently-used electronics, shower supplies, and clean clothes. It may also be wise to keep a few basic tools handy, especially if you will need to assemble or re-assemble furniture as you move in. Packing these things in your car, rather than the moving truck, can save you a lot of hassle during your first day at your new home.

    7. Label Everything – Things get busy at moving time, and packing is tedious work. However tempting it may be to cut a few corners to move things along more quickly, packing carefully can save a lot of time and frustration later. Label every box you pack according to the room it came from, and be sure to write "fragile" on boxes that contain items that require careful handling.

    For more tips on how to make moving to Holden Beach a smoother, less stressful experience, please feel free to contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. Our REALTORS® are always happy to help new residents make themselves at home in our area.


    7 Tips to Buy a Home in Southport

    Buy a Home in Southport
    According to the National Association of REALTORS®, approximately one-third of homebuyers are purchasing for the first time. Will you be joining those ranks soon? Our REALTORS® offer some valuable tips to streamline the process and help you get the home of your dreams.

    1. Review Your Credit Record
      A good credit score lets lenders know you're a worthwhile risk, and it can also make the difference in obtaining better interest rates. Request copies of your credit record from the Big Three reporting agencies and clean up any errors or misinformation. Don't apply for any other credit during this time to avoid lowering your score.

    2. Calculate Your Budget
      Knowing how much house you can afford keeps your eyes from getting bigger than your bank account. Use a mortgage calculator to determine a comfortable monthly payment based on selling price, down payment and interest. Don't forget to include associated fees such as taxes and homeowner's insurance.

    3. Do Your Homework
      The most amazing house in the world is virtually worthless if it's in a neighborhood that's not a good fit for you and your family. Once you have a budget in hand, research neighborhoods for features such as demographics, commute time, school systems and local services to find one that's compatible with your lifestyle.

    4. Look into First-Time Buyer Assistance Programs
      There are a number of federal, state and local programs that offer first-time homebuyer assistance with everything from help on down payments and closing costs to reduced interest rates. Anyone of these programs could go a long way toward stretching your purchasing power.

    5. Get Preapproval
      When you find the right home, you want to be able to move on it quickly. A preapproval letter indicates a lender has vetted you as a solid buyer and lets a seller know you're serious about purchasing.

    6. Look Ahead
      Where do you see yourself in three to five years? If you're single, you might marry in that time, or if you're already married, you may start a family. Buying a home is a major undertaking you're not likely to want to repeat that soon. Consider whether the home you're looking at will accommodate any life changes in the near future.

    7. Find a Good Real Estate Agent
      As a buyer, the services of a REALTOR® cost you nothing, but their assistance is priceless.  An experienced real estate agent has market knowledge well beyond what you can find on your own. They can tip you off to bargains or warn you about potential pitfalls in addition to negotiating on your behalf and guiding you step-by-step through the maze of paperwork.

    Whether you're buying your first or fifth home, our REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates can help you find Southport homes for sale that check all the boxes on your wish list. Contact us to get started on the road to successful homeownership.


    Brunswick County Living: 5 Reasons to Buy a Home During the Holidays

    Brunswick Buy a Home Holidays
    You probably have a lot of activities on your to-do list this holiday season. Holiday parties, nights out, community events, and shopping are all great ways to spend your time. But during all the festivities and hustle and bustle, don't forget about that one big item on your wish list…a new home! Many buyers just don't think about shopping during the holidays but it really can be a good idea. Our REALTORS® share why.

    1. There's less competition.
      If you've shopped in the spring or summer and had offers repeatedly turned down or gotten stuck in bidding wars, shopping when there's less competition will greatly increase your chances of getting into a home.

    2. You can get more home for your money. 
      Home prices tend to drop during the holiday season. Part of the reason is that sellers whose homes have been on the market awhile decide to drop their asking price in order to get the house sold before the end of the year. That may mean you can afford a larger home or one with more amenities than you could during peak season.

    3. Sellers really want to close the deal.
      Often homes are on the market during the holidays because they have to be: relocation, financial reasons, or major life changes. Those reasons can all mean a home needs to be sold before the end of the year, and buyers can benefit. Sellers may be more willing to negotiate or may have already dropped their price to hurry the process along. Buyers can often get more flexible terms.

    4. You'll likely get some tax relief.
      It won't be a whole year's worth if you close before the end of the year, but every little bit helps. Everyone's financial situation is different, but lots of homeowners can take advantage of property tax or mortgage insurance deductions, or tax credits.
    5. You can enjoy the holidays or start the New Year in your new home.
      This can be an especially attractive situation if you have been renting and not been able to host parties or have friends and relatives visit because you don't have the room, or if you face a rent increase in the New Year.

    Shopping for a home any time of year can be a large project. Finding the right real estate agent can make things a lot easier. The real estate agents at Margaret Rudd & Associates have helped many buyers get that new home on their holiday wish list. Contact us today and get started.


    Top Christmas Gift Ideas for New Homeowners

    New Homeowner Gift Ideas
    Do you have friends or family members that are spending their very first Christmas in a new home? If so, you're probably looking for just the right gift to celebrate this landmark in their lives. So what is the right sort of gift for such an occasion? The options range from practical and functional items to decorative or personalized ones that can help them make their new house a home. Our REALTORS® can offer a few tips, having lots of firsthand experience with first-time homeowners. Here is our list of top holiday gifts for the new homeowner.

    • Kitchen Items
      If the new homeowner in your life likes to cook or entertain, practical and attractive items for their new kitchen can be very welcome gifts. If they are coffee lovers, an espresso maker or French press can be a great gift, especially when paired with a set of unique or personalized mugs. If they enjoy baking, a quality stand mixer will likely be appreciated, as might a good marble pastry board/rolling pin set. If they are first-time homeowners, kitchen basics, like toasters, a slow cooker, cutting boards, cooking utensils, or a set of kitchen towels and potholders may be good gift ideas. Other possibilities for the kitchen include cheese boards, stylish serving bowls, wine glasses or cocktail shakers, all items that will come in handy for new homeowners during the holiday season.

    • Home Accents
      For new homeowners that you know quite well, having a clear idea of their tastes, home accents to help them make their new house a home can be great gifts. Ideas that fit this category include accent pillows and throws for the family room or living room, vases, decorative candles, or art pieces.

    • Tools
      Tools can be a much-appreciated gift for first-time homeowners, as they may not have even realized they needed them! You can gift practical items, such as a good toilet plunger, a basket of cleaning supplies, or a basket of supplies for power outages, such as candles, flashlights, and extra batteries. Basic tool sets that include an assortment of common household tools, such as screwdrivers, hand saws, wrenches, hammers and so on, are also a useful and practical gift. For homeowners tackling remodeling projects, a wet/dry utility vacuum will be a welcome addition.

    • Outdoor Accessories
      If the new homeowner in your life has moved from an apartment to a new home with a yard of their own, outdoor accessories can be the perfect Christmas gift. Great ideas to help them make their outdoor space their own include potted plants, patio furniture, decorative outdoor lights, gas grills, or lawn care tools and supplies.

    • Gifts for Relaxation/Stress Relief
      Moving and settling into a new home is a big deal, and many aspects of the process can be stressful and tiring. These facts can make gifts that help your new homeowner relax especially welcome. A basket full of luxurious bath items, such as specialty soaps, bath oils, bath bombs, and soothing lotions, can be a stress-busting gift, as can a bathtub tray to hold candles, wine or a good book as your new homeowner has a nice, long, soothing soak.

    Our team at Margaret Rudd & Associates is here to answer your real estate questions from the best gifts to buy new homeowners to how much is my home worth. Contact us for the help and advice you need.


    Buying a Brunswick County Home: Does Walkability Top Your Wish List?

    Buying a House - Walkability
    Deciding to buy a home is a huge step, and along with that choice comes the decision of where you want to live. Picking a geographic location is one thing, but deciding on the type of neighborhood you want to call home is equally important. While some home buyers prefer to live in the suburbs or even a rural area where commuting is the norm, the walkability of a neighborhood is becoming a more important factor to many. Our REALTORS® can help you pinpoint Brunswick County communities that are more walkable and show you area neighborhoods that fit your lifestyle.

    Why Walkability Matters? 

    While a walkable neighborhood isn't ideal for everyone, a community that promotes getting out on foot certainly offers plenty of benefits. Perhaps one of the most apparent advantages of walking versus driving is the boost it provides for your health. Walking provides exercise that helps keep the extra pounds off, promotes good circulation, keeps muscles toned, and provides a fresh intake of air for your respiratory system.

    If you can walk to local parks, businesses and events versus using a vehicle, you're also helping the environment by reducing the use of fuel and emission of carbon dioxide.

    Want to give your budget a boost? Living in a walkable neighborhood lessens the need for a vehicle and its related expenses such as auto insurance, maintenance, and fuel. You might even find yourself making more new friends and becoming more involved in community events if you choose a home in a walkable neighborhood.

    Scouting for Walkability

    If you've decided on a more active lifestyle and want to find a home in a walkable neighborhood, you may be wondering just what elements you should consider. Our REALTORS® are area experts whose primary goal is to assist you in finding your perfect home. Several factors make a neighborhood more walkable than others, and here are a few things you'll want to consider during your house hunt.

    • Public spaces: Parks and other public spaces for gathering, exercising and events are present in most all walkable communities.
    • A Center or hub: This could be a main street, public space or city square where people tend to gather and almost always activity.
    • Businesses, workplaces, and schools: Many residents want to be able to walk to work, and have schools, restaurants, and retail stores close by as well.
    • Streets for all: Look for a neighborhood with streets designed for foot and bicycle traffic as well as motor vehicles.

    Choosing a walkable neighborhood can be a great choice for your lifestyle and your future. We'd love to discuss your real estate dreams and partner with you to find that special house. Contact our team at Margaret Rudd & Associates for more information about our local communities and homes for sale throughout Brunswick County.


    Buying a Home: Does Commute Time Matter

    Buying a House Does Commute Time Matter

    Drive Time Shouldn't Be Overlooked

    When you're in the market to buy a home, there is a laundry list of things to consider in addition to the house itself.  Real estate insiders advise to add factors like the neighborhood, walkability, schools, and commute time to work.  If you do not work from your home, adding commute time to and from your job should be at the top of your wish list when you're house hunting. When you find a home, make sure your drive time doesn't turn your dream home into a nightmare.  

    Our REALTORS® are here with this help for factoring your commute time into your house hunt to find the right home for you and your family.

    Why You're Buying a House

    Many people opt to purchase a home for increased financial security or lower long-term housing costs. If buying a house increases your commute time, make sure you're not canceling out the benefits of homeownership.

    How Commuting Impacts Your Lifestyle

    Commute time affects your lifestyle, for better or worse. It affects how much time you can spend with family, friends, hobbies, and other activities you enjoy. For some people, long commutes mean higher stress levels and a more sedentary lifestyle, both of which can impact your health. But others use the time to unwind with music in the car or complete work-related tasks on the train. Nobody wants to sacrifice their health or all the things they enjoy in life, so thinking about your daily routine and individual preferences ahead of time can help.

    On the other hand, better access to public transportation can make for a more relaxed commute, which can have a positive effect on your lifestyle, even if you're moving a greater distance from work.

    Although some people would be hesitant to do it, a shorter commute where you can sacrifice a vehicle entirely could be an option. If you could bike to work or go from two cars to one, you might be able to put that extra money toward your home purchase.

    When you begin searching for a home decide what constitutes an unreasonable commute time.  Communicate that information with our REALTORS® so they have a better understanding of your exact home buying parameters.

    Job Flexibility

    If you have a job where you can set your hours, are self-employed, or can telecommute all or some of the time, good for you! You may be able to time your commute to avoid traffic. If you're only in the office occasionally or never, commute time won't make much difference.

    How to Calculate Your Commuting Costs

    You may have already included commuting costs in your home buying budget.  Include the cost to commute so you can make an informed decision about your home purchase.  Include the following items in your budget:

    • Car payments. These may already be in your monthly budget, but if a longer commute means you'll need to get a newer or better car shortly after you move, take that additional expense into account.
    • Car maintenance and repairs. Longer commutes mean you will have to pay for maintenance costs sooner and will probably spend more on repairs, especially if you have an older car.
    • Gasoline. If you are using significantly more or less gasoline, add (or subtract) that amount in your budget.
    • Tolls
    • Parking
    • Public transit fares
    • Carpool expenses

    Also, include a dollar amount for your time. Extra-long commutes clock in at about 12-15 hours a week or more. You can't use that time for anything else, and you won't be getting paid for it.

    At Margaret Rudd & Associates we know the importance of finding a home that fits your budget and lifestyle. Contact us today and get started on your search for Brunswick County homes for sale.


    5 Reasons to Stop Renting and Buy Your First Home

    Buy Don't Rent
    Owning a home, and the freedom that comes with it, remains a crucial part of the American dream, even as more and more Americans find it more difficult to achieve homeownership. Our REALTORS® are here to make that process easier, and if you've been thinking about making the leap to owning your own house, we have several reasons why now might be the right time. 

    1. Renting is more expensive. In the long run, renting may ultimately take away a much larger chunk of your income than buying. What's worse is that at the end of the day you have nothing to show for it; no rental property will ever be yours, no matter how much money you sink into it. And while it is generally assumed that renting is cheaper in the short term, even that is not always the case. Mortgage payments often cost less than monthly rent in many communities. 

    2. Buying allows you to build equity. Home equity is the difference between the current value of your house and how much you still owe on it. This amount builds up over time as you pay off your mortgage and the value of your house starts appreciating. Appreciation value is not possible when renting. A portion of your monthly rent is probably being used by your landlord to pay off the property you are renting, so you are essentially helping to build equity for someone else.

    3. You have more financial control over a home purchase. The real estate market rises and falls, but rent tends to move in one direction – up. One of the greatest financial benefits of ownership is that, with a traditional mortgage, your monthly housing cost is locked in for the lifetime of the loan. That means no more rent increases and no more living by the whims of the housing market. 

    4. You have more personal control by purchasing a home. Living in a property that you don't own means you have little to no control over it. But when you own your own home, you're free to renovate, remodel and modify it in any way you please. No more asking your landlord's permission to repaint the kitchen, no more waiting for someone else to fix common household problems, and no more hoping you don't lose your deposit over some minor infraction.

    5. Buying is an investment. The difference between renting and buying is essentially the difference between spending and investing. When you buy a house, you are directing your funds toward an investment that will almost certainly increase in value over your lifetime. But when you're renting, you're not investing in anything beyond having a roof over your head for the current month. Buying a home gives you more than just a house, it gives you an opportunity to secure your financial future.

    Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to learn more about the benefits of home ownership, and to find out how our team can help you find your dream home and make it yours. We offer access to a tremendous variety of homes for sale in Bolivia, NC and throughout the Brunswick County real estate area.   We're dedicated to helping you find the perfect house. 



    Help From the Pros - Saving for Your First Home

    Saving for Your First Home
    Deciding that you want to become a homeowner is a big step that comes with lots of questions. One of the first you'll need to address is how to save for your down payment. Don't worry, you can do this! Our REALTORS® offer these tips to get you started saving today. 

    Down Payment Basics to Get Started

    Decide how much you need to save. A down payment is a substantial amount of money and it isn't going to magically appear in your budget. There's real effort involved here. You may have to cut your spending, earn extra money or both.

    First get a starting point. Lenders want to keep your house payment around 25% -30% of your monthly income. Take your monthly income and calculate 25% - 30% of it. This is your future house payment.

    Input your desired monthly payment into an online tool (like this one from to calculate how much house you can afford. Take 20% of this number. That will be how much you need for a down payment. You may be able to buy with less, but if that happens the extra can go toward closing costs or moving expenses.

    Decide how quickly you'll need to save it. Work backward from there. For example, if you need a $40,000 down payment and want to buy a home in 3 years, you'll need to save a little over $13,000 per year or $1,084 per month.

    Your Savings Plans

    1. Utilize automatic savings. Set up a separate savings account specifically for your down payment and have a portion of your paycheck directly deposited into it. If getting your direct deposit split up isn't possible, set up automatic transfers from your primary account. When the money automatically goes in, you don't have a chance to spend it on other things.

    2. Save unexpected cash. Your tax refund, that year-end bonus, the birthday gift from Grandma. You get the picture. You weren't planning on having it anyway, so you won't miss it.

    3. Pay off your credit cards and save the extra cash. Start with the highest rate card and work your way down. You were already paying out that money anyway, pay it to a different purpose.

    4. Cut your current housing costs. Get a cheaper apartment, get a roommate, or move in with a relative that will charge you little or no rent. Then put the extra money into your savings account.

    5. Downgrade your current vehicle. If you're in an area where biking and/or public transportation is a reasonable choice and you're willing to sacrifice for the near future, selling your car can net you a significant amount of money. If your car is newer, sell it and switch to an older one. Just make sure what you're replacing it with is in good shape and reliable. If you're a two-car family, switch to just one or downgrade one of the vehicles.

    6. Get a side hustle. Use your skills to earn some extra money. Walk dogs, drive others around, deliver groceries, freelance, or babysit for your friends. You're only limited by your creativity.

    Additional Advice

    • Start tracking spending and make a monthly budget, so you know where to cut expenses.
    • Have an emergency fund before saving for a down payment. Emergencies happen, no matter what you'd rather do with your money.  When they do, you'll still have your down payment.
    • Look into down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

    Margaret Rudd & Associates - Your Brunswick County Real Estate Experts

    You'll find a team of dedicated REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates who are driven to make buying your first home a great experience. Contact us with questions about buying a house or to get your home search started. 


    Your Guide for Relocating to Brunswick County

    Brunswick County NC Relocation
    For many visitors, one trip to Brunswick County, North Carolina is more than enough to fall in love with the area. Whether you're moving from across the state or across the country, there's never been a better time to start preparing for life in Brunswick County. There's so much to see, do, and experience, with so many great communities to call home. Our REALTORS® are here to help you prepare, with our guide for relocating to Brunswick County, NC.

    The Best of Brunswick: Find the Right Community

    When you're shoping for homes for sale in Brunswick County, the first step is choosing the right community. All of Brunswick County shares the temperate climate, outdoor attractions, and pleasant pace of life that make our county such a great place to live, but each has something unique to offer for potential residents.

    • Bald Head Island – Located on the same island as the historic lighthouse affectionately known as Old Baldy, Bald Head Island homes provide an excellent example of the lifestyle you'll find throughout Brunswick County communities. The island is characterized by more than 10,000 acres of untouched, natural scenery, with vibrant wildlife, stunning views, and stories waiting around every corner.

    • Bolivia – Situated on the northwestern edge of Brunswick County, Bolivia homes for sale are located in a cozy, quiet community, perfect for anyone who enjoys the lifestyle of a small town in a beautiful, natural area. There's also plenty to do close to home in Bolivia, whether you'd like to spend the day fishing, golfing, or relaxing on the beach.

    • Oak Island – Life is just a little sweeter when you live on Oak Island. The community features miles of clean, sandy beaches, scenic fishing piers, and public parks. Local businesses make life in Oak Island special, for both visitors and long-time residents. The community is especially lively during the summer months, but there is always something to do year-round when you choose homes in Oak Island.

    • Ocean Isle Beach – With beautiful beaches, waterfront views, and a relaxed seaside lifestyle, Ocean Isle Beach homes exemplify so much of what makes Brunswick County a great place to call home. Enjoy community events like the summer concert series and movies in the park, spend the day with your toes in the sand, or simply take in the scenery while relaxing on your patio.

    • Southport Homes – Established in 1792, Southport is a community with a rich history and exciting future. That history is always on display at local historic sites, special events, and in the maritime stories shared among long-time residents. Southport has also worked hard to encourage business growth within the community, which leads to the diverse local businesses and attractions that residents of Southport homes enjoy today.

    When you find your perfect Brunswick County community, the people of our area are sure to make you feel right at home. Get started by consulting the relocation guide from the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce, where you'll find contact information for local utilities, schools, town halls, and other useful information. Your real estate agent should also be an excellent source of information on Brunswick County communities and all of the little details that will make your new house feel like home.

    Looking for an experienced real estate team that knows Brunswick County communities and can help you find the ideal home for your needs? Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. when you're ready to get your home search started.


    5 Things to Know About Buying Oceanfront Homes

    Buying Oceanfront Homes
    If you have always dreamed of living on the beach and are finally ready to find your dream oceanfront property—you've come to the right place. Brunswick County offers a variety of homes that overlook the Carolina coastal waters.  

    As dreamy as coastal living sounds, beachfront properties have the potential for a variety of unique problems. Our REALTORS® have years of experience with oceanfront property and are here to help you find the beach home of your dreams. 

    Whether you're shopping for a vacation home or plan on living full-time in your beach home, here are five things you should know about buying oceanfront property. 

    1. Location, Location, Location
      So you think you've found the perfect oceanfront property where you can spend your evenings out on the balcony with a good bottle of wine as you take in the gorgeous sunset. Unfortunately, just as you've poured your first glass, you realize that your new home doesn't face west.

      While your new home may be in the right neighborhood, on the right beach, or within walking distance to amenities, you'll want to consider the details. When you're buying oceanfront property, you'll need to know important facts about weather patterns and potential storm damages. 

    2. Money Matters
      When it comes to buying oceanfront properties, it's easy to get swept away with daydreams of beach living in North Carolina. However, living by the ocean means budgeting for more than just a mortgage. You'll need to account for the constant exposure to the elements and added costs of specialized maintenance, renovations, and repairs.
    3. The Bigger Picture
      Before buying your oceanfront home, you'll want to consider the bigger picture carefully. Of course, the house is stunning and the views breathtaking—but what about the amenities, neighborhood and adjoining properties.

      It's important to know who your neighbors are and what kind of community you will be living in. Is the neighborhood comprised of full-time residents or will it be filled with vacation renters and spring breakers in during peak season? You'll also want to consider other amenities like the ease of access to the beach, swimming potential, privacy, and more. 

    4. Short-Changing Coverage 
      One of the biggest mistakes home buyers make when buying oceanfront property is coming up short on insurance coverage. It's important to note that most homeowners insurance policies doesn't necessarily cover damages from rental activity. If you're considering part-time rental of your beachfront home, be sure to talk with your agent to make sure your policy will cover any loss you might experience.

      You may also want to consider added supplemental coverage. This coverage may include flood, windstorm, and hurricane policies. While this may strain the budget, in the unfortunate event that something happens, you'll consider it money well-spent. 

    5. Agents with Expertise
      Some real estate agents won't have an in-depth understanding of oceanfront properties that other agents will have. Find a real estate agent with experience in buying and sell homes on the ocean. Their knowledge will give you the best opportunity to find the perfect beach home for you and your family.

    Your Brunswick County Real Estate Professionals

    Our REALTORS® are here to help you find the best home to suit the needs of you and your family. We have a wide variety of listings that include some of the best homes for sale in Brunswick County.

    Contact us at Margaret Rudd & Associates to start your Brunswick County home search.


    Community Spotlight: Avalon in Bolivia

    Bolvia NC Avalon Community Spotlight

    Our REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates are the local experts on Bolivia real estate and Avalon homes for sale. If you are searching for an age-restricted community where you can enjoy the best amenities in a serene, secure setting, then you won't want to overlook Avalon. 

    What is Avalon? An Active Lifestyle Community Like None Other

    Avalon is one of the newest communities of its kind here in beautiful North Carolina. Ground broke in 2017, and it has already become of the most sought-after residential options for elders.

    Avalon sits at the crossroads of amazing North Carolina sights like Oak Island's brilliant beaches. Its peace and tranquility will leave you astounded that it's just a short drive to the world-class shopping, restaurants, and culture of the city of Wilmington.

    However, whether you spend your time lounging on the shores of Silver Lake or visiting the pristine beaches of Bald Head Island to see its majestic lighthouse, you'll always find yourself happy to return to Avalon, a place designed with your needs in mind.

    Avalon sits within the boundaries of Bolivia, North Carolina, a sedate town with a permanent population of just over 100 people. The idyllic, natural setting is perfect for Avalon, which consists of a total of 166 newly-built homes in a gated community all your own.

    The Community Clubhouse is the Centerpiece of Life Here at Avalon

    Avalon provides the pace you want with all the luxuries of life close at hand.

    The center of everything is the clubhouse, slated to be filled with meetings, events, and fun celebrations for all seasons. Residents can bask in the sun by the pool – kept clean and neat at all times by professional maintenance staff – play bocce ball, or relax at the dog park.

    There will even be a fully-stocked pond where anglers can while away summer days.

    One of the most appealing aspects of Avalon is its low maintenance lifestyle. Lawn care and a variety of other issues are taken care of for you, so you never have to worry. Avalon retirees can focus on everything good about their community.

    Of course, outings are an important part of an active retirement. When you wish to leave the forested seclusion of Avalon, you'll have plenty of options for day trips as well as weekend vacations. For example, you'll find two 18-hole golf courses to choose from just a few minutes away.

    Shopping is just a quick five-minute trip – or you can visit the seaside boardwalk in nearby Southport, NC. Nearby Brunswick Community College offers a wide range of adult education classes as well as local theater productions.

    Partake in Resort-Style Amenities and Easy Living in North Carolina's Avalon

    Avalon homes are currently available on a new construction basis, with prices ranging from about $100,000 to about $200,000. Living in Avalon is an outstanding opportunity, and now is the best time to take action.

    Margaret Rudd & Associates is here to make the whole process faster and easier. No matter whether you're buying your first home or the place where you plan to relish your retirement, our team is on your side: You get our expert advice, courteous service, and a record of success.

    Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to find out more.


    5 Tips to Survive a Seller's Market

    Buy a House in Seller's Market
    You've just found the perfect home.  It's in a great neighborhood, the size is right, and its price is not beyond reach. There is one problem--everybody wants it! This is what a seller's market is like. Otherwise known as a "hot market" it is a situation where there are few highly priced houses in a market flooded by buyers. While this market favors property sellers, it can be a nightmare for home buyers. Our REALTORS® know that you should not give up on your dream home in such a market. All you need is a good strategy to beat the competition. Here are a few tips to navigate the seller's market.

    1. Get a great real estate agent
      You are capable of negotiating your own deal, but you could make mistakes that will cost you in the long run. Hiring an experienced real estate agent like ours at Margaret Rudd & Associates to represent you in a seller's market will give you a serious advantage over the other buyers.

    2. Come pre-approved
      Buying a home is a transaction between you and the seller. Give the seller confidence that you are a serious buyer by obtaining loan pre-approval before you place an offer. Pre-approval demonstrates your financial ability to afford the home. This assures the seller you are serious about acquiring the property.

    3. Be flexible
      In a seller's market, property listed today could be history tomorrow. As a buyer, you have to be very flexible. You should always make time for showings whenever listings become available. After seeing a home you think is the right one, you can make an offer on the spot.

    4. Make your offer more attractive
      An attractive purchase offer will stand out from the rest. One smart move is offering an ample deposit. This demonstrates you're serious about buying the property. You can also make it easier for the seller by agreeing to their terms. Working with the seller's schedule keeps them at ease and shows your level of interest.

    5. Work with the seller
      In a seller's market, you are not in the driver's position. Compromise is the key to success in a seller's market. It is also critical that you communicate in an open and timely manner. Communication builds rapport and trust with the seller. This can determine if you will get a great deal for the house of your dreams.

    It is easy to get caught up in a seller's market. Everything seems to move too fast. You will encounter stiff competition, but it's crucial that you exercise patience and focus on your goal. With the help of an experienced REALTOR® and great tips like these, you'll be moving into your dream home in no time at all. Contact us at Margaret Rudd & Associates to get started today.


    Buying a Home? What You Need to Know About Home Appraisals

    Buy a House Home Appraisals
    Wouldn't it be nice if buying a home were as simple as purchasing a new pair of shoes? You find a pair you love, you pull out your credit card, and take them home.

    Home buying isn't that simple. After you negotiate a deal for a home you love, you need to obtain a mortgage loan from a lender.  One of the most important steps of getting a mortgage is having an appraisal done to confirm the purchase price of the home.

    Our REALTORS® believe it's important for our clients to know and understand important home-buying steps. We've prepared this brief guide to tell you what you need to know about appraisals.

    What is an appraisal?

    An appraisal gives your mortgage company a professional opinion of your home's value.

    Why do you need an appraisal?

    When your lender finances your home purchase, they use the home as collateral for the loan. Before they sign off on your mortgage, they need to make sure your home has enough value to recover their investment if you default on your loan.

    Who hires the appraiser?

    As professional ethics dictate that lenders minimize the potential for undue appraiser influence, they hire the appraiser but rarely make direct contact. To adhere to "appraiser independence" standards, lenders work through Appraisal Management Companies. AMCs hire appraisers and monitor their performance. They receive mortgage company appraisal requests, assign them to qualified professionals and forward the finished reports to lenders.

    How much is the appraiser's fee and who pays it?

    A Home Advisor survey of 3,400 members found that appraisal prices range from $250 to $450 with a national average of $331. The lender hires the appraiser but you pay the fee. It's one of the services that make your home loan possible.

    How does an appraiser establish a home value?

    An appraiser documents a home's age, construction, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, improvements, home systems, flooring, appliances, fixtures, and more. Outside they document pools, patios, decks, doors, windows, garages, and other features specific to your home.

    The final appraisal considers damage and condition issues, public records, and comparables (homes similar to yours.) An appraisal report presents photos, sketches, and other location data. They also incorporate a list of comparables considered and their photos.

    What happens next?

    When the appraisal is in line with your contract price or higher, your lender can move forward with your loan process. If the appraised value is lower than your agreed price, your lender will decline your loan.

    If you have an appraisal contingency clause in your purchase contract, you may be able to renegotiate your sale. If not, you can make up the difference with cash or walk away from the deal.

    Your Brunswick County Home Buying Professionals

    The home-buying process will never be as simple as buying a new pair of shoes, but we can help you get through the complications. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates when you're buying or selling a home in Brunswick County.


    How Much Does Credit Matter When You're Buying a Home

    Credit Score and Mortgage
    One of the first things you have to do when buying a home is take an in-depth look at your financial situation. Since most people buying a home have to apply for a mortgage, it is imperative that you know what lenders will be seeing when they investigate your creditworthiness. Getting your credit report and knowing your score will be one of the first steps you want to take. But you might be wondering how much it really matters. The truth is it matters a lot. Here's why.

    Ways your credit score affects a mortgage

    For most people, buying a house is a really large transaction. Getting a lender to take a risk on you with that amount of money involved, means you have to demonstrate some creditworthiness. Because of the amount of money and length of the loan, it isn't as easy as getting a credit card or a car loan. Your credit score needs to at least be reasonable to get considered for a mortgage. And the actual number matters a lot more.

    • It's the main factor that determines the interest rate you'll get
    • It determines what kind of loan products are available for you
    • It may affect the amount of money lenders are willing to qualify you for.
    • It can also mean you won't have to pay points or private mortgage insurance, which will save you money.
    • It will affect the amount of down payment you're required to make.

    A lower interest rate can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your home loan. The amount of money you can qualify for can make a difference if you're looking to move to a better neighborhood or to the "hot" neighborhood before prices start to soar. Lenders usually require higher credit scores in exchange for lower down payments.

    What credit score do you need?

    Your credit score isn't the only factor considered when you get a mortgage. Lenders look at the whole financial picture, so the amount of your down payment, income, and debt to income ratio also matter significantly. So just because you're credit doesn't fall in the range that lenders consider excellent, (usually 750 and up) doesn't mean you're doomed. There are options out there, even if your credit score is in the mid to upper 500's. Different lenders and different types of loans have different requirements. The better your credit score, the more options you'll have, and the more money you can save. So if you need to work to improve your credit score, it's a good idea to do so.

    Here's an example…

    To really see how the interest rate of your loan matters, you can use an online loan comparison calculator to compare rates. For this example, we'll assume you need to borrow $200,000. At an interest rate of 4%, your base monthly payment (excluding taxes, insurance, and other fees) on a 30-year mortgage is $954.83. At an interest rate of 5% that payment goes to $1,073.64. That is an extra $118.81 per month. Which might not sound like much, but that amount every month for 30 years, means you're paying out an extra $42,771.60! Viewed this way, it's easy to see why your credit score matters and why it's important to improve it if you need to.

    Our REALTORS® can help when you're ready to start looking for a home. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. today for more information.


    Selling a Home and Buying Another at the Same Time

    Selling and Buying a Home at the Same Time
    It's time to move on. Your family has outgrown your home, you're downsizing, or maybe you're being relocated for work. Whatever the reason, our REALTORS® can help you sell your home and buy another. Buying and selling at the same time isn't always easy. But the good news is you probably learned a lot the first time you bought a house, so you can do this with the help of our real estate pros.

    First Steps

    Expecting everything to fit perfectly just isn't realistic, so careful preparation and planning is a must. You'll want to make sure you have as much equity in your home as possible. You'll also need funds available to get your home ready to sell and cover temporary rent or other unforeseen circumstances. Decide whether you want to sell first or buy first. Know the market where you live and where you're planning to move to help you strategize.

    Reasons to Sell First, Then Buy

    • You'll know exactly how much you can spend on your new home.
    • In a buyer's market, it may take longer than you thought to sell your home. If you've already purchased your new home that means you're paying the mortgage, utilities, insurance, and upkeep on two homes.
    • You can extend the closing date to allow a reasonable amount of time for you to find a new home.

    Disadvantages to Selling First

    • You have to live somewhere in the meantime. There is usually some time--days, weeks, or even a couple of months--between when you close on the sale of your home and close on the purchase of your new one. You'll have to live somewhere and plus store your belongings. This can also be an issue if repairs have to be made prior to you moving in to your new home.
    • If you have to rent in the interim, you're moving twice.
    • It may be difficult to re-enter the market. If you end up being between houses long term, you'll need to keep your eye on the markets. If you are looking to buy in an area where there's a seller's market or home prices are rising quickly, the longer it takes you to buy a home, the less you will get for your money. If housing prices are rising faster than you can keep up, you risk getting priced out of the market.

    Reasons to Buy First Then Sell

    • You won't have the hassle of renting and having to move twice.
    • You won't miss out on your dream home or an amazing deal. This may be the way to go if your goal is to relocate to a community where there is a seller's market or prices are rising quickly.
    • If it makes sense for you, you have the option of renting out your old home or your new one. You'll want to talk with an accountant or financial advisor and lawyer to make sure you understand the details and that it's feasible for you.

    Disadvantages to Buying First

    • There's pressure to sell. Financially and emotionally once you've purchased a new home. This means you may end up selling your home for less than you want to.
    • As a seller you're vulnerable if there is a sudden drastic market change. This is especially problematic if the home you're trying to sell is in a slow market to begin with.

    Ultimately, you'll have to do what makes the most sense for you. Buying and selling at the same time can be tricky but with planning and preparation it can be done. Whether you're looking to buy or sell a home, contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. today.


    What to Expect from a Home Inspection

    Home Inspections
    Whether you're buying or selling a home, it's important to understand both the benefits and the process of a home inspection. Both parties will gain clearer insight into the home's structural condition before closing the sale and therefore, be more confident with the final selling price. Our REALTORS® are eager to introduce you to so many beautiful Southport homes for sale, and once we find your dream home, here's what you'll need to know about proceeding with a home inspection. 

    Well Worth The Investment
    Many prospective home buyers don't realize that it's traditionally the buyer's responsibility to obtain the home inspection, especially if it's their first home purchase. The inspection may cost you a few hundred dollars, but it will help you determine whether what you plan to offer is in line with the home's true value. The inspection may confirm that the home is in great shape, but it can also bring to light potential problems and needed repairs. It's much better to invest in the inspection now than to be faced with unpleasant surprises after you close on the home.

    Always Go With A Pro
    The home inspection process and subsequent report are an important part of your decision to purchase a home and just how much money you're willing to offer for it. You may be able to get solid recommendations for an inspector from friends, family or colleagues, but be certain that he or she is qualified and even certified in states that require certification. Your inspector will schedule a time to inspect the home, and the process usually lasts a few hours. Their job will be to review the home thoroughly for structural integrity and to identify any deficiencies and potential problems. The inspection should be thorough, and some major areas being examined will include the home's:

    • Foundation
    • Basement and attic (if applicable)
    • Electrical system
    • Plumbing
    • Roof
    • Windows and doors
    • Heating and cooling systems
    • Floors, ceilings, and walls
    • Exterior structure

    Tag Along For The Inspection
    It's a good idea to attend the inspection in order to see any potential problems first hand. You may see something you hadn't initially noticed when viewing the home, and the inspector may be able to clarify questions that surface during the inspection. Once the inspector is finished, an inspection report will be issued. It's likely that he or she will have found several issues, but it's often the case that the majority of them are minor and either inexpensive to resolve or something that can be postponed without harming the home's value. If major issues are found, you may be able to negotiate the price with the seller with consideration for the cost of needed repairs. With the report in hand, you'll be better able to confidently make an offer to purchase and be on your way to home ownership.

    The housing market can be a maze of excitement and confusion, but our REALTORS® are here to make your experience simple and stress-free. If you're ready to buy or sell, contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc., and let us show you a new standard of excellence!


    10 Top Southport Neighborhoods to Buy a Home

    Southport Neighborhoods
    Whether you're searching for a home on the water, a great school district, or an active, outdoor community, you'll find a neighborhood in Southport, NC to fit your unique taste. Southport homes attract a wide range of residents, from families to retirees, thanks to the area's many diverse attractions. Our REALTORS® are here to help you get acquainted with the area, with a guide to ten top Southport neighborhoods to buy a home.

    Sweeter in Southport: 10 Top Neighborhoods to Call Home in Southport, NC 

    1. Arbor Creek
      With just over 300 single-family homes and ample amenities, Arbor Creek is a cozy, scenic neighborhood to call home. Spend summer days at the community pool, enjoy activities in the community clubhouse, get a great workout on the tennis courts, or spend an evening soaking in the scenery at the Arbor Creek gazebo.

    2. Cade's Cove
      Located along the northwestern edge of Southport, Cade's Cove is a small, quiet neighborhood, with easy access to all that Southport has to offer. This neighborhood is known for it's friendly, peaceful atmosphere, outdoor attractions, clean streets, and charming local businesses.

    3. Cambridge Crossings
      Are you searching for a Southport neighborhood that's big on outdoor fun? Cambridge Crossings is a great place to call home, with attractions including local golf courses, tennis, a marina, a public park, and easy access to all of the amazing beaches in the Southport area. This is a very popular community for retirees in Southport, and a great place for anyone who loves to spend time outdoors.

    4. Carolina Place
      A charming, historic neighborhood, Carolina Place is an ideal place to shop if you're looking for a historic home in a growing community. Carolina Place is located close to scenic parks and waterways, while also providing easy access to the many small businesses, services, and entertainment destinations located nearby.

    5. Harbor Oaks
      Kick back, relax, and enjoy the quiet, scenic community of Harbor Oaks, located just a few minutes from all of the great attractions in Historic Southport. Harbor Oaks is a small neighborhood, but offers many attractions including two parks, a beautiful public fountain, and plenty of great areas to have a picnic under the Carolina sun.

    6. The Hammocks at Southport
      Looking for a custom home perfectly suited to your needs? The Hammocks at Southport features some of the most impressive custom homes in the area, with seven unique floor plans to choose from and tons of options for customizing every little detail of your next home. There are also completed homes available, if you're ready to move in right now.

    7. Indigo Plantation
      With two beautifully maintained marinas and easy access to the Intracoastal Waterway, Indigo Plantation is an ideal neighborhood for anyone who loves spending time on the water. Of course, you'll also be located just a few minutes from downtown Southport, so Indigo Plantation truly offers the best of both worlds.

    8. The Landing at Southport
      Also located along the Intracoastal Waterway, the Landing at Southport offers amenities that few neighborhoods can match. The Landing features everything you need to have fun on the water, including a clubhouse, pool, boat corral, and pier, along with ferries to other nearby communities on the waterfront.

    9. Mariner's Pointe
      As you might guess from the name, the Mariner's Pointe neighborhood is located on the water. This unique community, centered around beautiful Lake Upchurch, offers elegant homes in a truly spectacular natural setting. This luxurious community offers everything you need close to home, including an excellent school district that makes Mariner's Pointe a very popular choice for families in the area.

    10. South Harbour Village
      You'll never be far from outdoor attractions when you call South Harbour Village home, thanks to the neighborhood's convenient, central location. Spend some time enjoying the community pool, tennis courts, and local golf course, or hit the docks for some fun on the water. South Harbour Village is also located just a few short minutes from some of the best beaches in the area.

    Ready to find a home of your own in your favorite Southport neighborhood? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Southport, NC area.


    Use Your Tax Refund to Buy Your First Home

    Tax Refund Down Payment
    If you've dreamed of buying a home but the down payment is a financial obstacle, now is a good time to take a second look. It's 2018 tax refund time and the average refund this year is approximately $3,000. That could be enough money to help you fulfill your homeownership dream.

    Our REALTORS® understand that a down payment can be one of your biggest obstacles to buying a home in North Carolina. It's difficult to meet day-to-day living expenses and save money too. Your income tax refund can give you a reprieve from all that scrimping and saving. Here are a few tips to make it work for you.

    Hands off the money!

    If you intend to use your tax refund to qualify for a home loan, take the auto-deposit option. From the moment the money hits your account, forget that it's there.

    When you're using your tax refund to qualify for a mortgage, your loan officer will want to confirm the dollar amount and that it's actually available. If you withdraw it for whatever reason, the mortgage company won't be able to verify your financial information. 

    Non-traditional Financing Options

    Your tax refund might not cover the down payment required for a traditional mortgage. But it's enough to give you access to several non-traditional financing options. Ask your lender about these home mortgage programs with low to no down payment requirements and reduced credit and income qualifications.

    • VA - If you're a veteran, active military, or an eligible surviving military spouse, you may qualify for a VA-backed loan with 0% payment.
    • USDA - The USDA offers no down payment, low-interest loans for rural homes in eligible areas.
    • Federal Housing Authority - The FHA loan program has mortgages with down payments as low as 3.5%.
    • Equity Boost Loans - Ask your lender about a conventional loan with an Equity Boost option. You may qualify for a 1% down payment that instantly gives you a boost to 3% home equity.
    • Fannie Mae - The Fannie Mae home loan program offers mortgage rates as low as 3%
    • Freddie Mac - A down payment for a Freddie Mac Home Possible® mortgage can range from 3% to 5% of your home purchase price.

    Down Payment Grants

    If your tax refund isn't high enough for an adequate down payment, you may qualify for a down payment grant. Search for down payment assistance programs in your city or state.

    If you qualify for a no money down loan

    If you receive a down payment grant or qualify for a no down payment loan, you should still think carefully before cashing out your tax refund. It can serve several useful purposes.

    • Pay down your debts - If you eliminate some of your existing debt, it can improve your credit score and possibly qualify you for a lower interest rate.
    • Build up your assets - If you leave it in the bank, your tax refund can become an asset that also improves your financial profile.
    • Budget for homeownership expenses - You'll need a cash cushion for moving, higher utility bills, home furnishings, and more.

    If you want to know more about meeting the challenges of buying a home, we can help. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. if you're buying or selling a home in the North Carolina communities we serve.


    What's the Catch to Fishing in Brunswick County

    Brunswick County FishingBrunswick County, North Carolina is one of the top fishing destinations anywhere in the United States. Pier fishing is incredibly popular: There are five well-maintained Brunswick Island piers to choose from.

    Many people prefer pier fishing because it's fun and convenient – you don't have to worry about chartering a boat or heading out to the high seas. Those who want to meet like-minded anglers will also find it easier to meet and mingle with others who share their passions.

    Fishing season opens in March and lasts all throughout the summer. There's no complicated licensing to worry about when you decide to go pier fishing: You can handle all the technicalities when you get your day pass, weekly pass, or season pass to the pier of your choice.

    Although the fish on offer vary by month, the area is known for some of the very best redfish and flounder fishing anywhere on the eastern seaboard.

    If you're paying a visit to the area, you won't want to miss these piers:

    1. Holden Beach Pier, 441 Ocean Blvd West, Holden Beach
      Holden Beach Pier is the family favorite thanks to amenities like a grill, snack counter, and full campground. You can get anything from breakfast to hot dogs and fries, and it's found right on one of the area's best beaches. Fish include speckled trout, flounder, king mackerel, and more.

    2. Oak Island Pier, 705 Ocean Drive, Oak Island
      Oak Island Pier is known for both its pro shop in the pier house and its welcoming restaurant: The Flying Fish Cafe. The Cafe has stayed open, offering its signature mahi-mahi taco, while the pier itself continues to undergo a hotly anticipated renovation. Some of the biggest catches around happened here!

    3. Ocean Crest Pier, 1409 E. Beach Drive, Oak Island
      Experienced anglers will love the Ocean Crest Pier approach to fishing: The pier includes its own live bait tank available to the community. There's also an on-site weather station. The almost 900-foot pier was voted most popular in North Carolina by Fisherman's Post.

    4. Ocean Isle Pier, 1 West 1st Street, Ocean Isle Beach
      Ocean Isle Pier offers a great full-service experience that has virtually everything you could want, including rentals, live bait, rods and tackle, and even a selection of fine ice cream. Fishing fees are just $9 per rod and kids under six can join in the fun for just fifty cents.

    5. Sunset Beach Pier, 101 W. Main Street, Sunset Beach
      Sunset Beach Pier features a popular snack bar as well as an air-conditioned game room where you cool off and relax. It is one of the most popular piers in summer, but it can always offer a tasty seafood meal. This is the best pier for disabled guests, as it offers accessible features and free scooter chairs.

    Brunswick County home buyers and homeowners alike love to while away a day landing great catches at their preferred pier. Our REALTORS® can help you find the best catch of them all: Your Brunswick area dream home. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to get started.


    5-Step Plan for Buying Your Dream Home

    Buying Your Dream Home
    Owning your own home has long been called a part of "American Dream."  Because it is one of the biggest financial decisions you'll ever make, planning and preparation should go into the process so your American dream doesn't turn into a nightmare. While technology plays a large part in the purchase of homes, there are basic steps that you should follow when it is time to buy a home. 

    Our REALTORS® are experts in the Brunswick County real estate area and know what it takes to purchase a home with the least amount of hassle.

    1. Research Your Choices
      You can search for homes online, in magazines, newspapers, and driving through neighborhoods. Check the number of days the houses you're interested in have been on the market and whether or not there has been any decrease in the asking price. Knowing this will give you an idea of the housing trends in your location.

    2. Finances First
      Obtain pre-approval from your chosen lending institution. Pre-approval will let you know the amount you will be able to spend on your new home. By providing your lending office with some financial information including how much is in your savings account, what investments you have and your annual income will allow them to come up with an amount you'll be able to spend on your home.

      The recommended amount you should plan on spending is no more than three to five times of your household income. Another factor you should prepare for is the down payment. A 20 percent down payment has long been considered standard; however, there is more than 2,000 down payment assistance programs available throughout the country, so do some digging to find the best one that fits your needs.

    3. A Great Real Estate Agent
      Having a great real estate agent like our team at Margaret Rudd & Associates is crucial. Your agent has access to homes for sale that will meet your criteria in matters such as the size of house, neighborhoods, costs and much more. Their knowledge is valuable when it comes to negotiating prices, familiarity with the homes on the market, and what is involved throughout the entire buying process.

    4. Your Home Search
      During the process of looking for your new home, you will tour many houses on the market. It is a good idea to keep a checklist of what you are looking for. You should also make notes on what you like and don't like about each home you go through. These notes will be invaluable when you start the final decision process and have to eliminate choices.

    5. Buying Your Dream Home
      When you get to the point of buying the home you've been dreaming about, you still have another item on your checklist to finish. You will be asked to pay "earnest money" at the time of closing. Earnest money is usually a small percentage of the selling price and will be returned to you if the financing does not go through.

    The process of buying a new home is more enjoyable when you work with professionals who understand the market.  Our team at Margaret Rudd & Associates is ready to help you through every step of the home buying process.  Contact us today to get started with your search for your Coastal Carolina dream home.


    Best Wedding Venues in Ocean Isle Beach NC

    Ocean Isle Beach Wedding Venues
    Spring is just a romantic whisper away and couples are already planning their springtime fantasy weddings. When you live in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, you don't have to leave home to find the perfect fantasy wedding venue. The blue ocean water and white sandy beaches offer a beautiful backdrop for a perfect wedding. If a new home is in your future and you plan to tour Ocean Isle homes for sale, remember to check out local wedding planning options.

    Our REALTORS® believe that Ocean Isle Beach is a remarkable place to live, work, play... and to tie the knot, of course. To familiarize you with local wedding traditions, we're sharing our information on the Best Wedding Venues in Ocean Isle Beach, NC.

    Beach Wedding Venues

    The Winds Resort Beach Club, 310 E 1st St, Ocean Isle Beach

    If you want your wedding day to begin and end at the beach, The Winds offers the guest rooms, dining options, and all the amenities you'd expect from a beachfront resort. Wedding professionals will assist you with important wedding details.

    They'll help you arrange your marriage license, deejay, flowers, wedding cake, photographer, and more. The Winds offers eight beachfront wedding packages with the options you need for the wedding you desire.

    Ocean Isle Inn, 37 West First St, Ocean Isle Beach

    Ocean Isle Inn gives your wedding party a beach backdrop by day and a beautiful sunset by night. The Inn offers seven wedding packages with graduated pricing from the economical "Elopement or Vow Renewal" to the "Ultimate Beach Wedding." You may upgrade your package to include additional guest rooms, a photographer, deejay and other optional features.

    Brick Landing Plantation, 882 Goose Creek Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach

    When you're planning your wedding, you want it to be a day you and your guests won't soon forget.  Brick Landing Plantation is located just two miles from Ocean Isle Beach with romantic, panoramic views of the Intercoastal Carolina Waterway. Brick Landing's facility offers a variety of event rooms for your big day with catering services from ART Catering to delight your family and friends.

    Wedding Planning Services

    Oceanfront Weddings Of NC

    If you need help planning your wedding from beginning to end, Oceanfront Weddings can manage every last detail. Their wedding planners will arrange a ceremony and reception with your choice of beachfront venues and banquet rooms.

    The staff can arrange guest lodging for your party. They can also recommend deejays, photographers, videographers and other key vendors.

    Ocean Isle Beach Weddings

    When you need help planning the destination wedding of your dreams, the Ocean Isle Beach Weddings staff can put it all together for you. They'll help you choose everything you need, from a bridal gown to beach wedding jewelry.

    Their planners work with the premier event venues and services in the area to give you a choice of ceremony and reception options. Their extensive registry of beach wedding vendors ensures you have the wedding of your dreams.

    Your Real Estate Professionals

    When you visit Ocean Isle Beach, you'll want to make it your home. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to buy a home or if you want more information about our romantic beachfront wedding traditions.


    Southport Spring Art Show at the Franklin Square Gallery

    Southport NC Art Show
    Southport, North Carolina has so much to offer for both residents and visitors. Our real estate agents live and work in Southport so we believe our city is just about perfect.  Southport is a small seaside town and has the historic feel of a pirate destination with a side of southern charm. It's a great place to live for so many reasons. Along the coast and beyond, you'll find art galleries, restaurants, and boutique shopping, all within a walkable distance. The weather is great year-round. And if you're thinking about relocating, you'll find homes in Southport, NC that perfectly match your sense of style. 

    If you're considering a move this spring and are interested in local events, we recommend the Southport Spring Art Show on your list of things to do. This premier art event is a great way to get to know Southport and to meet some of the community's talented local artists.

    Southport Spring Art Show - Franklin Square Gallery

    Southport's Springs Art Show runs from February 26 until March 17, 2018. 

    This annual, juried event showcases recent creative works by local painters and potters. To ensure the best creative representation, each potential art show entry is judged by an area professional.

    • Gina Strumpf: International Golden Artist Educator, Impressionist Painter
    • Brian Evans: Coastal Carolina Clay Guild President, owner Orange Street Pottery

    Works accepted into the show will compete for $1000. in cash awards. The awards will be presented during a reception on Final Friday, March 2, 5 and 7 pm.

    Franklin Square Gallery

    Franklin Square Gallery, 130 E. West Street in Downtown Southport, is located behind Franklin Square Park in Southport's historic district. The building was originally built as a school in 1904. It now houses the Associated Artists of Southport, a local non-profit which runs the gallery as a cooperative.

    The gallery regularly showcases and markets paintings and pottery from over 100 area artist-members. Works from painters include originals in oil, acrylic, and watercolors, also note cards and prints. Potters exhibit bowls, vases, jewelry and other decorative functional art pieces.

    Gallery Schedule

    In addition to the annual spring show, the Franklin Square Gallery is part of the Southport First Friday Gallery Walk. Participating art venues open up their spaces and entice art lovers with appetizers, wine, and beautiful art.

    The gallery calendar lists seasonal art shows, special events, workshops, lecture series, and holiday gift boutiques. They also host events for the local high school and other organizations.

    Your Southport Real Estate Professionals

    When you visit Southport, NC, we'll be happy to show you why we believe it's a fabulous place to buy a home. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. when you're considering a relocation to Southport and the Coastal Carolina real estate market.


    The Local's Guide to Dining Out in Ocean Isle Beach

    Ocean Isle Beach Restaurants
    Nothing helps you feel at home in a new location like checking out some of the best local dining spots. The Coastal Carolina area is known for its incredible and unique cuisine. So while you're checking out Ocean Isle homes for sale, why not stop in for a wonderful meal at one of these restaurants with local flair.

    • Causeway Gourmet, 100 Causeway Drive, SW, Suite 7, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469.
      Causeway Gourmet has an extensive menu. Salads, hot and cold sandwiches and wraps are the perfect choice when you want a lighter meal. Entrees include steak, chicken, pasta, and of course plenty of seafood. The delectable house made desserts are a delicious ending to your meal. Catering and evening delivery are available. 

    • Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille, 14 Causeway Drive, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469.
      Located right on the water, Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille has some amazing views to accompany your meal. The seasonal menu features a large selection of seafood dishes and a raw and chilled seafood bar. Outdoor dining and banquet rooms are available.

    • The View at Brick Landing Plantation, 1882 Goose Creek Rd, SW, Ocean Island Beach, NC 28469.
      Sunday brunch is the star of the show at The View at Brick Landing Plantation. Excellent food, lovely water views and live entertainment combine for an enjoyable and relaxing experience. Don't forget to play a round on the championship golf course while you're there.

    • Castaway Grill, 112 Causeway Drive, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469.
      It's all about casual and laid back at Castaway Grill. There are plenty of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers and seafood fill the daytime menu. Steak, chicken, seafood and pasta entrees for dinner mean there is something for everyone. The shrimp and fried pickles are popular choices, and a carryout window means you can dine anywhere you like.

    • Roberto's Ristorante, 6737 Beach Drive SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469.
      The warm and inviting Roberto's Ristorante has all your Italian favorites with an emphasis on seafood. Not in the mood for seafood? No problem, the homemade gourmet pizza will definitely satisfy.

    • Sharky's Waterfront Restaurant, 61 Causeway Drive, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469.
      The oldest restaurant on Ocean Isle Beach, Sharky's Waterfront Restaurant has indoor and outdoor dining with water views, There's even a boat dock for convenience. Fresh seafood is the star of the menu, but there are also a few traditional Southern dishes and standards like burgers and wings.

    Whether you're looking to buy or sell your home in Ocean Isle Beach, Our REALTORS® can help. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. today.


    Is Home Buying Going to the Dogs?

    Pets Play a Big Role When You're Ready to Buy a House

    Buy a House with Pets

    Millennials inspire a lot of headlines these days, but one trait no one can knock is their love for their pets. If you belong to this infamous generation, you and your peers are as known for your sensitivity in addition to your tech-savvy nature. So as more millennials reach that final adult milestone--buying a house for the first time--it's not surprising that many of you are doing it for your dogs.

    Of course, millennials aren't literally buying houses for their pets. But according to one mortgage company's survey, more than a third of today's twenty- and thirty-something homeowners are actually buying a house because of their dogs. Some want to improve their current pets' lives with more outdoor and indoor space, while others hope to finally get a dog once they have a house with a yard.

    Buy a House with Pets
    Are you thinking of buying a house because you want a more pet-friendly life? Whether you're a millennial or a baby boomer, our REALTORS® know how important it is to accommodate your animals as you plan your future. But buying a house is a huge decision, especially if it's your first time. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you look at Southport, Holden Beach, and Sunset Beach homes for sale.

    • Be Realistic About Your Monthly Budget
      How much house can you afford? Your pet should be part of that decision too. Your mortgage payments, utility bills, and general maintenance will take up a sizable chunk of your monthly budget, so it's important to account for every expense and make sure you have a little left over. Start with one non-negotiable part of your budget: pet care. How much does it cost to feed your dog? What about day care, pet-sitting, dog-walking, toys, medicine, veterinary appointments, and other pet costs? Consider these as you decide how much you can afford to spend. Your lender will pre-approve you for a certain amount, but that doesn't mean you should buy a house at the top of your price range, especially if you want to be prepared for veterinary costs and other unexpected pet-related expenses.

    • Check Homeowner Association Rules About Pets
      Buying a house gives you more freedom – and more responsibility – than renting, but it doesn't mean you get to make all the rules. Are you considering Southport or Holden Beach homes in communities with homeowners associations? Make sure you know the neighborhood rules before making an offer on a home. Some HOAs restrict the number or type of animals you can own, and you don't want to have to choose between your home and your dog if someone finds out you violated the guidelines. Make sure your dog complies with any neighborhood, city, or county breed restrictions too, because the results ofa violation could be heartbreaking for your family.

    • Help Minimize Stress During the Move
      Moving creates many new risks and stressors for pets, so it's important to consider their needs throughout the moving process. As you move from your current residence, make sure you have a space set aside for your pet, preferably enclosed to prevent the chance of an escape. Surround them with familiar blankets and smells, and help them readjust to the new space as gradually as possible. You may want to ask your veterinarian for advice on minimizing stress during relocation. If you're moving far away from your current veterinarian, make sure you have a new pet clinic lined up before you arrive.

    Buy a House with Pets

    Our REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. understand that pets are part of the family too. Your house should be the perfect home for your whole family, so your agent will help you narrow your search to pet-friendly homes that meet everyone's needs. Contact us for help buying a house that you and your pets will adore for years to come.


    Best Things to Do in Coastal Carolina - Ocean Isle Beach Run 2018

    Ocean Isle Beach Run 2018Are you ready to put your running shoes on, see the sights, and raise money to benefit a great, local cause in the process? Every year, the Ocean Isle Beach Run is one of the best winter events in Coastal Carolina, and this year's event takes place on January 13, 2018. Whether you're an experienced runner or simply someone looking to join the fun for the first time, there's a race in the Ocean Isle Beach Run for you. Enjoy a leisurely 5K walk/run, or put your training to the test and participate in the half-marathon. Our REALTORS® have their running shoes on and are all ready to tell you about Ocean Isle Beach Run 2018. 

    Ocean Isle Beach Run 2018: Everything You Need to Know about the Big Event

    The Ocean Isle Beach Run is an annual event, which regularly draws hundreds of runners from throughout North Carolina. Every year, the event is put on by the South Brunswick Interchurch Council (SBIC), a non-denominational organization which brings together people of many different faiths. Sign-ups for the event are open online, and there is a discount available for registering three or more people at a time. The event is open to all, whether you're an experienced runner or simply looking to participate in a good cause.

    • Ocean Isle Beach Run Half-Marathon – Are you the type of runner who's always looking to tackle the next big challenge, and looks forward to those early morning training runs every day? The Ocean Isle Beach Run Half-Marathon is the perfect place to test your skills, with varied terrain, a challenging incline/decline over the Odell Williamson Bridge, and a scenic stretch along the Intracoastal Waterway. This is a great opportunity to put your training to the test, and raise money for a good cause.

    • 5K and 10K Walk/Runs – Looking to get into the action, without training for a half-marathon? No problem! The Ocean Isle Beach Run also includes both a 5K and 10K walk/run, ideal for runners of every skill level. You can choose to run ahead to push for your best time, or take a nice, leisurely walk while enjoying all of the gorgeous scenery. Choose the distance that's right for you, then enjoy a day of fitness and fun.

    • Run for Food – The SBIC is an organization dedicated to bringing people together, and supporting those in need throughout Coastal North Carolina communities. Every year, the proceeds from the Ocean Isle Beach Run benefit the SBIC Food Pantry, which provides food to those in need. The event is entirely supported by volunteers and is now entering its 14th year.

    • Get Your Ocean Isle Beach Run Gear – You'll make plenty of memories at the Ocean Isle Beach Run, and you'll even have the opportunity to bring home a few souvenirs. Every year, the SBIC offers clothing to take home for all participants, as well as a delicious meal when you're finished with your run.

    • Seeing the Sights in Ocean Isle Beach – Would you like to experience a truly unique way to scout Ocean Isle Homes for sale? The Ocean Isle Beach Run takes you to some of the most scenic places in the community, with ample opportunities to soak in the waterfront scenery and natural beauty of Ocean Isle. Perhaps you'll even spot the home of your dreams.

    Are you excited to run the scenic streets of Ocean Isle Beach throughout the year, and searching for a home of your own? Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to buy and sell homes throughout Coastal North Carolina.


    Buying a House in Brunswick County? Ask These Questions First

    Whether you're buying a home for the first time or you've done the dance before, knowing which questions to ask will make life much easier. The most important questions to ask come from a few key categories, including location, home maintenance, and the price of the house. Our REALTORS® are here to help you ask the right questions, and find the answers you need to be confident in your next real estate purchase.

    Real Estate Q&A


    1. Where am I going to buy groceries, run errands, and find the services I need?
      Can you take care of your daily needs close to home or will you have to leave the neighborhood to run errands? Scout out the businesses and services in the area to make sure that you can take care of business close to home.

    2. How is the school district rated?
      Even if you don't have children, the school district where a home is located will often have an influence on the cost of homes in the area. Living in a great school district may cost more up front, but it's typically also good for resale value. So if you're shopping for Southport homes for sale, for example, be sure to learn all you can about the school district.

    3. Where will I go for fun?
      Sure, taking care of business is important, but where will you go when you simply want to have a good time? Homes on Bald Head Island are perfect if you love learning more about local history, while Sunset Beach homes for sale offer an ample supply of outdoor fun.

    Home Maintenance:

    1. Are there any maintenance issues with the home, and who's paying for them?
      It's always best to learn about any maintenance issues before you purchase a home, so that you can factor them into your offer accordingly. If there are any issues that need to be addressed, then you'll also want to know who's paying to have them fixed.

    2. How old is the roof?
      The roof is one of the most important parts of the home when it comes to maintenance and an older roof is more likely to have issues than one that has been replaced more recently. Ask how old the roof is, and whether the home has had any issues with leaks.

    3. Is the attic insulated?
      A well-insulated home goes a long way toward keeping heating and cooling costs down, so always make sure to check whether the whole home is properly insulated, including the attic.

    Picking a Price:

    1. How much have comparable homes sold for in the area?
      The asking price and sale price of a home can be very different, and it's a good idea to understand exactly what other comparable homes are selling for in the area. So if you're shopping for homes in Holden Beach or Ocean Isle homes for sale, be sure to ask your REALTOR® about relevant comparable sales.

    2. How long has the home been on the market?
      Knowing how long a home has been on the market will give you a better idea of demand, and help you make a competitive offer. A seller with a home that's been on the market may be more motivated to make a deal, while a new home in a hot neighborhood may require you to move quickly with an offer.

    Shopping for a home, and searching for the team that will help you find answers to all of your key real estate questions? Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to buy and sell homes throughout Coastal North Carolina.


    Best Neighborhoods in Brunswick County to Buy a Home

    Best Neighborhoods in Brunswick County to Buy a Home

    One of the most important things to remember when buying a house is that you're shopping for the right neighborhood just as much as you're shopping for the right home. Having the right services, amenities, attractions, and recreation options close to home will ultimately have a big influence on how much you love your location long-term. The key to finding the right location? Become a local expert and understand exactly what you're looking for from your ideal neighborhood. Our REALTORS® are here to help you get started, with a guide to finding the right Coastal Carolina neighborhood for you.

    Tips for Finding the Right Neighborhood to Call Home

    The first step to finding the right neighborhood for your home is understanding what you need, what you want, and what priorities matter most. If that sounds a lot like what you do when buying a home, it is! By understanding what's most important to you, it's much easier to narrow down your list to the best potential fits.

    • Services and Amenities Close to Home – Having the services you need close to home makes a big difference, so make a list of what you need and search for neighborhoods that fit the bill. Be sure to consider entertainment and recreation options, too, so that you won't have to travel far to have fun.

    • School District and Commute – If you're a parent, then finding the right school district might be a huge priority when shopping for a neighborhood. Your daily commute to work is also a big factor, so make sure you're comfortable with how far you have to travel.

    • The Right Home – No matter what else a neighborhood has going for it, it's crucial that your target neighborhood has homes that fit both your budget and your preferences.

    • What Don't You Want – Are there certain traits of neighborhoods that would be a deal-breaker for you? While there will always be compromises when finding the right location, a neighborhood of deal-breakers probably shouldn't make your short list.

    Coastal Carolina Neighborhoods for Your New Home

    • Bald Head Island - When your lifestyle leans more towards laid back rather than fast paced, buying one of the homes for sale on Bald Head Island may be the right choice for your new home.  Some people consider Bald Head Island as small and remote.  Others consider this Carolina neighborhood as ideal because no cars or passenger vehicles are permitted on the island.

    • Holden Beach - When you buy a home in Holden Beach, you'll be joining one of Brunswick County's stand-out communities.  Ranked by National Geographic's TRAVELER Magazine as one of the country's top 10 family beaches, Holden Beach offers South Brunswick locals serene beaches and a long list of things to do for locals.

    • Oak Island - Most people buy an Oak Island home for sale because this beach community offers fourteen miles of uncrowded beaches and quiet streets dotted with cottages, dining, pier fishing, parks, two marinas and breathtaking sunsets.
    • Ocean Isle BeachAre you interested in a quiet, peaceful seaside community, with a small population and plenty of room to enjoy the outdoors year-round? Ocean Isle Beach homes offer everything you could ask for from a waterfront community, with relaxing winters and exciting summers. Enjoy some of the best golf in North Carolina, or head over to the fishing pier to spend an afternoon with lines in the water.
    • SouthportThe city of Southport, NC was first established in 1792, and Southport homes for sale are as popular as ever. Enjoy a scenic, historic community, filled with beautiful sunsets, great dining spots, and a friendly population that loves calling this seaside community home. The Southport Pier and Riverwalk are always alive with excitement, and the North Carolina Maritime Museum is a great place to learn more about life on the water.

    • Sunset BeachIf a fun, family-friendly community is what you're after, Sunset Beach homes for sale should be near the top of your list. This exciting beach-front community is home to nature sanctuaries, birding trails, a pontoon bridge, and a host of historic locations. Fun is never far from your front door when you call Sunset Beach home.

    Finding the right real estate team makes it much easier to identify your dream neighborhood, and our experienced team is here to help. Contact us at Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to buy and sell homes in Coastal North Carolina.


    Is Retiring in Place or Relocating to the Carolina Coast Right for Me?

    Retire to the Carolina Coast
    Do you dream of spending your retirement on sandy shores with mornings at the beach, afternoons of great shopping, and evenings spent around a table with your favorite people? Choosing where to spend your retirement is one of the most important decisions you'll make, whether you choose to stay close to your current location or move to a new community to maximize your enjoyment of retirement. There are many factors to consider when deciding where to live in retirement, and our REALTORS® are here to help find a retirement solution that works for you. 

    Retirement Planning 101: How to Choose a Community that Fits Your Retirement Needs

    Whether you're looking at Southport homes for sale or homes for sale in Sunset Beach, you'll quickly find that North Carolina communities are a great place to enjoy your retirement. However, it's also important to consider all of the factors that impact your decision on where to retire and reach a decision that works best for your needs. 

    • Do you have an active social life in your current community, and want to make sure that your new home offers ample opportunities to make new friends? If so, be sure to look at social activities, clubs, volunteer organizations, and any other activities you might enjoy.

    • Will your retirement income and savings be enough to cover your financial needs in your retirement destination of choice? Create a clear, detailed retirement budget to help reach an informed decision on your financial needs.

    • Have you dreamed about spending your retirement in a community that maximizes all of the things that you love about your lifestyle? Retirement should be enjoyable, and choosing the right community with activities that you enjoy can help you make the most of your time.

    • Do the perks that drew you to your current home have less value now that you're retired? If you previously payed a premium to live in a great school district for the benefit of your children, for example, then moving to a new location may save you some money once the kids have graduated.

    Tips for Finding the Right Community to Retire along the Carolina Coast

    Deciding to move during retirement can be a great choice, and coastal North Carolina is a fantastic place to spend your retirement. There are many unique communities along the coast, and finding the right match will help you make the most of your retirement.

    • Ocean Isle homes for sale offer a quiet, small-town lifestyle during the winter months, and plenty of excitement during the summers. Enjoy fishing piers, beaches, festivals, golf, great food, and cultural destinations like the Museum of North Carolina. This is a great place to retire if you lead an active lifestyle. 

    • Looking for a slightly larger community, with a busy year-round lifestyle? Check St. James Plantation homes for sale to explore a vibrant town with world-class golf, an active social schedule, tons of entertainment options, and all of the services you need to make the most of your retirement.
    • Winding River Plantation homes for sale are perfect for anyone who loves the outdoors and wishes to preserve the natural beauty of North Carolina. This environmentally-friendly community features an Audubon-certified golf course, ample outdoor spaces, and a vibrant nature preserve where you can observe local wildlife while helping to preserve local ecosystems.

    There are so many great communities to call home during retirement on the North Carolina Coast, and our team is here to help you find the right match for your needs. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates to buy and sell homes on the North Carolina Coast.


    5 Must-Know Tips for Buying a Home in a Hot Housing Market

    Hot Housing Market
    Buying a home can be a stressful undertaking under the best of circumstances, but when you're looking for a home in a competitive seller's market, it can be downright agonizing.  

    Our REALTORS® understand the local Brunswick County real estate market is hot and want to do our best to turn the tables in your favor. These tips are your ticket to closing on your Carolina Coast dream home in today's competitive market.

    1. Get your finances in order first.
      Months before you start looking at homes, take the time to check your credit report and make sure you're in a good financial position to buy. Knowing your credit score—and understanding how it affects your buying power—is a crucial first step to buying a home. If your score isn't all that you hoped it would be, spend some time rebuilding your credit before you start your home search. Then, it's time to get pre-approved for a mortgage, so you will have a good idea of what you can afford, and how much a lender will be willing to offer. 

    2. Move quickly, but do your homework.
      Homes often sell in a heartbeat in a competitive market, which means you need to be on your toes. Check listings frequently, and visit newly-listed homes as soon as possible. You should also be willing to make an offer quickly, but be careful—the biggest mistake you can make is jumping too soon at a house that isn't really right for you. The key is to be efficient but thorough, and not to make snap judgments without having all the information.

    3. Make a list, and check it twice.
      You can streamline the home search process by making a list of all your "must-haves," "like-to-haves," and "dream features." Once you have your checklists handy, you can quickly evaluate every home you visit. These lists will also help you avoid falling for a home that doesn't really fulfill all your needs.

    4. Make a solid offer.
      There's a time and a place for negotiation and lowball offers, but a competitive market is not that time and place. When you're facing stiff competition from other potential buyers, it's important to make a good offer right off the bat so that the seller knows you're serious. You don't necessarily have to start by making your maximum possible offer, but it should be pretty close.

    5. Work with a trusted real estate agent.
      Having a knowledgeable agent on your side is one of the best ways to stay ahead of the competition. Find an agent who has an intimate understanding of the local market and knows the neighborhood you're looking at inside and out. Just be sure to avoid agents who also represent the seller; it's important to know that your agent is working solely for you, and has your best interests in mind.

    Don't let the whims of the housing market determine your future. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. today to get a knowledgeable real estate agent in your corner, and make your dream home a reality.


    Celebrate the 37th Annual NC Oyster Festival in Ocean Isle

    Ocean Isle NC Oyster Festival
    Ocean Isle Beach, NC is a small seaside town on a quiet stretch of coastline. It's a perfect place to relax and enjoy the ocean breeze. That said, it's also a place where there's always something going on, and the upcoming 2017 North Carolina Oyster Festival is one that you won't want to miss.

    Read on to learn more about all the upcoming festivities, and be sure to check with the REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. for more information on life in Ocean Isle Beach.

    Oyster Festival in Ocean Isle Beach

    A mainstay of the Carolina coast for more than 35 years, the NC Oyster Festival is a little bit of everything—food festival, craft show, music fest. Most of all, it's an opportunity to enjoy the bounty of Ocean Isle's abundant oyster fishery by eating your weight in oysters. The event draws thousands of tourists and locals every year, and the 2017 festival promises to be no different.

    The 37th annual North Carolina Oyster Festival is a two-day event that kicks off on Saturday, October 21, 2017. You can expect plenty of food and entertainment, and can even participate in the annual oyster eating contest if you think you've got what it takes!

    2017 Oyster Festival Events

    There will be a lot to take in at this year's Oyster festival, which will be located a stone's throw from the beach near the Ocean Isle Beach Pier. Be sure to get there bright and early to catch all the festivities:

    • Food and Drink: It goes without saying that there will be plenty of oysters around—steamed, fried, you name it. But there will be lots of other food as well; including pizza, barbecue and crab cakes from some of the best local food vendors around. Plenty of beverages and tasty desserts will be available too.

    • Arts and Crafts: Dozens of vendors will be on location showcasing an unbelievable variety of unique, hand-made goods, including furniture, stained glass, wood carvings, sculpture, pottery, leather goods and jewelry.

    • Live Music: Live musical entertainment will take place throughout both days of the festival, starting bright and early Saturday morning. Performers include the Tim Clark Band, Blackwater Rhythm & Blues, and The Embers.

    • Contest Events: It wouldn't be the Oyster Festival if you didn't have a chance to compete in the oyster eating contest. But that's not the only competition taking place over the weekend. You can also find out who walks away as the champion of the oyster shucking contest, shag dance competition, and oyster stew cook-off.

    Admission to the festival is just $5, and kids 12 and under can get in for free. A free shuttle will be provided for those who choose to park on the mainland instead of driving to the island.

    Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. today to learn more about life in Ocean Isle Beach, NC. Our team has the knowledge and experience to help you find the best Ocean Isle Beach homes for sale.


    Just a Bit Obsessed with Living in Oak Island NC

    Oak Island Living
    Perhaps you've traveled Oak Island for a family beach vacation, heard about the community from friends, or simply stumbled upon one of North Carolina's best beach communities while surfing the Internet.

    No matter how you find Oak Island, you certainly won't be the first to become... just a bit obsessed with living in our community. There is so much to love about living in Oak Island that our real estate agents just can't wait to tell you more about why the community is such a great place to call home.

    What So Many Love About Living in Oak Island, NC 

    • 14 Miles of Sandy, South-Facing Beaches
      When you want to learn more about Oak Island, there's no better place to start than at the waterfront. Oak Island is home to more than 14 miles of warm, inviting beaches on the coast, with a whopping 65 beach access points throughout the community. The clean, family-friendly beaches of Oak Island, NC have been drawing visitors to the community for more than a century, so why not make quick sunset strolls and long beach days a constant part of life by owning a home of your own here? The island's beautiful beaches also attract plenty of visitors, which is great for the local economy.

    • Every Home Has a View in Oak Island
      The natural beauty of Oak Island is one of our area's major attractions, and fantastic views are simply one of the perks when you buy one of our Oak Island homes for sale. Enjoy a brilliant, waterfront sunset from the comfort of your own patio, or set out to explore the island's natural areas, wildlife, and classic beach-front scenery. When you live in Oak Island, there's never a bad time to stop and enjoy the view.

    • Enjoy Living Every Day in a Vacation Destination
      It's no secret that Oak Island attracts is share of visitors, and living here allows you to enjoy all of the attractions that make the community so popular among travelers. Head out for a fresh, fabulous seafood dinner at one of many local hot-spots, explore local waterways by kayak, or drop some lines in the water to wrangle up your own catch of the day. No matter how you like to enjoy your time by the water, you'll find plenty to do in Oak Island.

    • A Historic North Carolina Community
      An obsession with Oak Island is certainly nothing new. Oak Island, NC has a long, interesting history with many local residents working to preserve that history today. The Oak Island Lighthouse is central to local history, and has been maintained for more than 50 years so that you can still visit today. Everywhere you travel on the island, you'll find nearby historic sites and living memories of days gone by.

    • Get in Touch with Nature on Oak Island
      History and natural beauty go hand-in-hand in Oak Island and the community offers many opportunities to get in touch with nature. Visit the Oak Island Nature Center to learn more about local ecosystems, explore natural areas, and discover the natural beauty that you can only find in Oak Island, NC.

    Sure, you could keep dreaming about all of the perks that come with living on Oak Island, but there has never been a better time to turn those dreams into reality. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to buy and sell homes throughout Oak Island, NC.


    Sunset at Sunset Beach

    A Sunset Beach Community Event

    Sunset Beach Community Guide
    Imagine an island with a sunset so unforgettable, it inspires a celebration. You can see it for yourself at Sunset at Sunset Beach, the annual Sunset Beach, NC community event held the first Saturday of each October. You'll enjoy this daylong festival where families and friends gather to enjoy food, music, crafts, and block-party style fun.

    Our REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates live and work in the area. We believe the Sunset at Sunset Beach town festival offers the perfect opportunity for you to get to know the community. Here's some additional information about this fun-filled day.

    A Beach Town Block Party

    The 11th Annual Sunset at Sunset Beach Festival takes place on October 7, 2017. The event is conveniently located just beyond the entrance of Ingram Planetarium on Sunset Boulevard. It's a family-friendly day of fun activities which features over 100 food, art, and craft vendors and outreach from local nonprofits. Activities begin at 10:00 am and end at 5:00 pm. Admission is free.

    You can spend the whole day at the festival or check out a few local attractions. Nearby sites of interest include the Sunset Beach North Carolina Birding Trail, Bird Island, the decommissioned Pontoon Bridge, and the Ingram Planetarium.


    Come prepared for a day-long eating adventure. Independent restaurants and food vendors will serve entrees and fun treats to please every taste. You can enjoy a variety of foods from uniquely prepared seafood entrees to Deep Fried Oreos.


    The Paul Grimshaw Band, a regional favorite, will entertain you with covers from your favorite artists. The group keeps audiences in the mood for fun with oldies, blues, country/southern, and crowd favorites from a variety of music genres.


    When you stroll the vendor market, you'll find a creative mix of paintings, jewelry, and original arts and crafts. You'll have the opportunity to meet artists or artisans. You can view and discuss their creative process and purchase the items they've created.

    2017 Photo Contest

    Don't forget to bring your camera to capture your favorite festival moments. You'll have an opportunity to submit your best photo to the annual Sunset at Sunset Beach Photo Contest.

    Three winners will take home a cash prize. All submitted entries will be posted on the event website and there is a special page devoted to current and past winners. There's no entry fee for the photo contest, but there are a few rules.

    Get to Know Sunset Beach

    As your local real estate professionals, Margaret Rudd & Associates is pleased to keep you updated about the Sunset Beach, NC community. Contact us for help buying a house or selling your home.



    Southern Living Builds Bald Head Island Dream Home

    Bald Head Island Dream Home
    Millions of people love Southern Living magazine, a trusted Birmingham-based publication that has some of the best recipes, gardening information, and house plans especially for the South. Since 1966, its house plans have been a mainstay in the region.

    Some of them have become so popular that they turned into sweeping trends for years.

    So, it's no surprise that our REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. were truly delighted to see the magazine's newest adventure: A true island dream home located right on picturesque Bald Head Island. Bald Head Island homes have never looked more amazing than they do today!

    Bald Head Island NC--the Epitome of Island Charm

    Even before Bald Head Island drew the attention of Southern Living editors, it was one of the most unique places to live anywhere in North Carolina. With just 158 residents (159 if you count legendary historic lighthouse "Old Baldy") it is a village like none other.

    Now, it is the site of one of the most gorgeous island dream homes in America.

    The Southern Living house is one of a kind, but draws its inspiration from the top trends in interior design, architecture, landscaping, and much more. In case you missed the magazine spread, here's what this island escape has to offer its guests:

    • The Living Room
      The living room features a warm palette created by gorgeous deep chocolate floors. A set of glass lanterns adds a touch of class sans chandelier, while the bronze windows and doors radiate subtle luxury. A big, welcoming sofa sits amidst charming vintage rattan and brass accessories.

    • The Dining Room
      The dining room features an open floor plan offset by a British-style faux-antique rectangular table set upon a traditional Oriental-style rug. Sitting beneath one of the matching lanterns helps tie the kitchen and living room decor together. In contrast to the living room, dark wooden window frames are used.

    • The Master Bath
      Sharing an aqua palette and pattern with the master bedroom, the master bath features cheery cement tile in an on-trend look. With subdued color combinations and a matte finish, the cement tiles benefit from the quiet elegance of their grout-free styling.

    • The Kitchen
      The kitchen features a free-flowing, open space that's as inviting for guests as it is for the cook, The 4-by-8 island is the defining feature. Clever touches like an energy efficient opening in the ceiling (which allows hot air to escape) speak to its sophistication.

    • A Peek at Other Features
      Some of the other perks of the island cottage include a butler's pantry, spacious back porch, eye-catching powder room, a sleeping porch, and even an upstairs lounging porch. When you visit, you'll want to spend the whole day drinking in the many touches and surprises!

    Did we forget to mention? Yes – you can come see the Southern Living island cottage in all its splendor. It's for a good cause: A portion of all ticket sales will go to maintain Old Baldy. At 200 years of age, he could use a little help now and then!

    What's more, you can have a gorgeous Bald Head Island home all of your own. Yes, the Southern Living home is off the market – but it's sure to inspire you.

    Can you imagine basking in the unspoiled charm of a pristine island all your own? Our team can make it easier than you might imagine. We have helped people from all over the country find their very own dream home. Yours might be right here waiting.  Contact us today to learn more.


    Foodies Rejoice in Holden Beach

    Holden Beach Restaurants
    There's nothing quite like sitting down with a few of your favorite people at a dockside table, soaking in the scenery, and enjoying some of the finest food that Holden Beach, NC has to offer. Our REALTORS® in Holden Beach love sampling the local dining scene, and sharing our favorite spots with anyone looking to enjoy this wonderful community. Homes in Holden Beach come with perks, and fun, flavorful food certainly ranks near the top of the list. Enjoy our list of favorite Holden Beach restaurants, and be sure to add your own.

    Fantastic Seafood, Fine Restaurants & Seaside Sunsets

    • Castaways Raw Bar and Grill – 112 Ocean Blvd. West, Holden Beach
      Looking for a fun, laid-back restaurant that serves some of the best food in town? Castaways Bar and Grill is a favorite stop, thanks to its extensive menu, long list of craft beers, and fresh seafood. Stop by during the summer for live music, or any time of the year to catch the a game on one of the big-screen TVs. Enjoy a menu that features seafood, unique salads, and all of your favorites from the grill.

    • Captain Pete's Seafood Restaurant – 103 South Shore Drive, Holden Beach
      Tucked away on the waterway in an unassuming building, you will find one of the true gems of the Holden Beach dining scene. Captain Pete's Seafood Restaurant is unique because the menu changes by the day, and by the season. The crew in the kitchen is constantly working to concoct fresh flavors, and when you visit Captain Pete's you can always expect to find something new and exciting on the menu. This is a great place to stop for a light lunch or delicious dinner.

    • Provision Company Holden Beach – 1343 Cedar Landing Road, Holden Beach
      With a prime location along the intracoastal waterway, Provision Company Holden Beach features beautiful views and a fun, casual atmosphere. Don't feel like making the drive to Provision Company in your car? No problem! Boats are welcome, too. As for the menu, you'll find all of your steamed seafood favorites, along with an extensive beer and wine list, tasty appetizers, and daily specials.

    • Mermaid's Island Grill – 102 Jordan Blvd., Holden Beach
      Hoping to enjoy your favorite food, but don't want to take your toes out of the sand? Mermaid's Island Grill has you covered, with outdoor seating, an indoor bar, and plenty of fun in between. Enjoy karaoke every weekend night, and a family-friendly setting every day of the week. Mermaid's offers an extensive kids menu, along with finger food, full dinners, and all of your favorite drinks. Be sure to sample the dessert menu while you're here, and try some of that homemade key lime pie.

    • Inlet View Bar and Grill – 1800 Village Point Road, Shallotte
      Every restaurant on our list features truly stunning views, and the Inlet View Bar and Grill is certainly no exception. In addition to serving some of the finest lunches and dinners that Brunswick County has to offer, this is the perfect place to start your day with a full, delicious breakfast. No matter when you stop by for a visit, you'll find a friendly staff, extensive menu, and some of the most beautiful scenery that the intracoastal waterway has to offer.

    Still searching for the perfect home-base to enjoy all of the food, fun, and sun in Holden Beach? Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates to buy and sell homes in Holden Beach, NC.


    Bald Head Island September Events

    Summer Isn't Over on Bald Head Island

    Bald Head Island Community Events

    You may be planning for sending the kids back to school, but that doesn't mean summer fun is over. The first day of fall isn't until the end of September, so you have plenty of time to enjoy summer still, and on Bald Head Island, you will find a number of late summer activities to allow you to do so. Here are some that you will want to check out.

    Labor Day Cookout

    It may be the signal of the end of summer, but Labor Day weekend is packed with fun. One of the best events is the Bald Head Island Labor Day cookout. From Friday September 1 to Monday September 4, the Shoals Club hosts the cookout, with everything from camps for the kids to end-of-summer sales at Coastal Urge. Themed runs throughout the day are great for those who have worked to keep in shape all summer, while beachcombing, birding and sailing expeditions are available for people all ages and abilities. At night on Friday the fire pit will be lit!

    Southern Living Idea House

    Bald Head Island has some stunning architecture, and at the end of summer you can tour one of the most beautiful. The 2017 Southern Living Idea House, located at Cape Fear Station, is now open for tours.

    The Idea House is a great place to get design and decor inspiration for your own Bald Head Island home. It was built under the direction of Bald Head Island Limited and Whitney Blair Custom Homes, and Southern Living brought in interior designers and residential designers to make the house a stunning representation of what is possible in the island lifestyle. It will be open for tours through October, so there's still time to see it!

    Shoals Club Special Events

    The Shoals Club is filled with late summer events for you to check out. The Bald Head Island Then and Now tour is one of these. See what life on the island was like in the past, and then contrast that with the modern lifestyle. This free tour is held on September 2.

    On September 3, head to the pool for the Shoals Club Pool Party. Pool games with prizes for people of all ages will keep the entire family entertained at this fun and low-key event.

    Finally, on Wednesday September 6 the fun continues with Howl at the Moon. Hosted by Maritime Market, this is the area's largest beach party. When the full moon rises over the Atlantic, you can enjoy soup and appetizers with your friends, coming together to literally howl at the moon around the bonfire. Bring your own appetizer to share.

    As you can see, for those who own Bald Head Island homes, summer is still very much underway. Even if the kids are heading back to school, you can enjoy plenty of fun on the island. If this type of island lifestyle appeals to you, the realtors at Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. are ready to help you make it yours. Contact us to get started on finding your own Bald Head Island home.


    3 Brunswick County Communities You Don't Want to Miss

    Discover Ocean Isle Beach, Winding River Plantation & St. James Plantation

    3 Brunswick County Neighborhoods

    Who wouldn't love living in a community where there are beautiful beaches, towns filled with Southern charm, championship golf courses, and year-round mild temperatures?  With all of this, it comes as no surprise Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing communities in America drawing singles, growing families, and retirees alike to our Carolina coast.  

    Each local community offers its own distinct personality, so it can be difficult for newcomers searching for a home to find "just the right" neighborhood to make their own. Our real estate agents at Margaret Rudd & Associates wanted to call special attention to three Brunswick County neighborhoods you don't want to miss.

    1. Ocean Isle Beach
      Ocean Isle Beach
      , often called the Gem of the Brunswick Islands, is a quaint island community located midway between Wilmington, NC to the north and Myrtle Beach, SC to the south.  Much smaller and quieter than its neighboring tourist communities, Ocean Isle Beach is perfectly suited for family interested in moving to Coastal Carolina.

      During the day, locals spending can spend their days at the beach, fishing at the nearby pier or chartering a boat into open waters. Other attractions include Museum of Coastal Carolina, Ingram Planetarium and the Shallotte River Swamp Park & Outdoor Center.

      Seafood really is the main attractions at local eateries given the area's location.  The Causeway Gourmet, Isles Restaurant & Tiki Bar, and Sharkey's Waterfront Restaurant & Marina are three local favorites.

      Whether it's a year-round home or vacation property you're in search of, Ocean Isle Beach has a variety of real estate properties for nearly every taste and budget.  Home buyers can expect to find everything from oceanfront cottages to single-family homes, condos and townhouses.

    2. St. James Plantation
      St. James Plantation
      is a relatively new gated community along the Intracoastal Waterway of North Carolina.  Just a five-minute drive from Southport and Oak Island, about 4,500 people call St. James Plantation home.

      With eight distinct neighborhoods plus award-winning golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, an outdoor amphitheater, walking and biking trails, private waterway marina, and beach club, everyone from active retirees to young families is moving to St. James Plantation.  

      Recently voted "Best of the Best" by Ideal Living Magazine, St. James Plantation residents enjoy a mild southern climate with four distinct seasons perfect for outdoor adventures, shopping, restaurants and culture.  Here you'll find all types and styles of homes from condos to spacious custom-built homes starting in the mid-$200 price range.

    3. Winding River Plantation
      Winding River Plantation
      is a gated community located in Bolivia, NC just minutes from Southport and Oak Island. If you're searching for an active lifestyle community in the heart of Brunswick County, then Winding River Plantation may be for you.  It offers residents access to the amenities similar to that of a luxury, resort community. Here you'll find easy access to golf, tennis, swimming, walking and biking trails, and pristine beaches.

      Winding River Plantation features a variety of single-family homes and condominiums as well as home sites with gorgeous views in an environmentally friendly setting are available for custom-built homes.

    If you're relocating to North Carolina and dreaming about a home in one of our Brunswick County communities, contact our real estate agents. We live and work here and have the inside scoop on the best neighborhoods and latest listings to hit the local real estate market.


    Provision Company - Waterfront Dining In Downtown Southport

    Southport Provision Company Restaurant
    Are you searching for homes for sale in Southport, NC?

    Southport is a maritime haven with a historic flair that attracts visitors from all over the US. Inhabited continuously since 1792, but known to explorers far longer, its sea breezes and ancient oak trees give its downtown district a charm like nothing else in the region.

    Not surprisingly, it also has its fair share of culinary delights to enjoy!

    Although people typically think of North Carolina as being part of "the South," its many seaside communities boast delicacies that will give any New England locale a run for the money. Of all the great fishing ports in the area, Southport stands head and shoulders over the rest: Fresh fish, crabs, and lobsters are available through most of the year.

    A Hidden Gem in Historic Downtown: Provision Co.

    Downtown Southport will refresh and revitalize you with some of the best shopping and dining options around. Visitors enjoy exploring the area for its many small museums, antique shops and other hidden treasures.

    Hungry? No matter what seafood tempts your palate, you'll be able to find it here.

    Want to start with a local favorite? One of the top spots in Southport by far is Provision Co. With an unassuming name and a logo that harkens back to the era of sea exploration, it's the best-kept secret around – called "Provisions" by the locals, who visit regularly.

    Established 1993, Provisions makes great use of its location – giving you a view of the mouth of the Cape Fear River that invests the city with so much of its charm. You'll also enjoy other splendid scenery, including Southport Yacht Basin and the Intercoastal Waterway.

    Provisions are a relaxing and welcoming spot where you can pull up by car or boat. Orders are taken at the counter and guests can help themselves to beverages on the honor system. It's a great place to meet new friends: Locals swear by it, and out-of-town visitors quickly fall in love.

    Menu is a Perfect Taste of Southport

    What will you find at Southport? Along with a complete selection of sandwiches, you'll enjoy your choice of the freshest local seafood. A full selection includes favorites like grilled yellowfin tuna, steamed shrimp, conch fritters and crab cakes a la carte.

    As for specials, the restaurant is best known for its grilled yellowfin tuna dinner and its crab cake dinner featuring cucumber and potato salad. Lots of care is poured into the desserts as well: You can have rich, creamy Key Lime pie or bourbon pecan pie.

    Beverages include soft drinks, tea, wine, and domestic or imported beer.

    With plenty of room for walking and free parking on all streets, downtown Southport makes it easy for you to enjoy an excursion your way. Although Provisions is often the first place visited by those checking out the real estate market, there are many other terrific options.

    Stay a while and you're sure to find enjoyable meals at local favorites like Atlantic Seafood and Steaks, Bella Cucina, Big Al's Slam Dunk Cafe, and the Bouncing Log. Dozens of restaurants are available, most of them locally owned and operated.

    Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates and this seaside paradise could be your new home. Find out more about Southport by working directly with our Southport real estate agents.


    Best Shopping in Southport Includes Homes

    Start Your Southport Home Shopping

    Shopping in Southport Includes Homes
    Great shopping makes any hometown more convenient – not to mention much more fun!

    When it comes to shopping, Southport, NC won't disappoint. You'll find world-class shopping options here for everything your heart desires, topping off the many other amenities that have attracted so many people to make this place their new home.

    Why Southport NC Shopping is Second to None

    Southport is a town of just about 3,000 people, so you might not expect it to have all the high-end boutiques of a larger city. However, this town right on the mouth of famous Cape Fear is more than meets the eye – and shopping is one of its unexpected treasures.

    Southport has long been known far and wide thanks to being featured prominently in a range of television and film productions. Within the state, it's the site of the North Carolina Fourth of July Festival, which hosts about 50,000 visitors each and every year.

    Maybe it's not so surprising, then, that this classic fishing village has a lot to offer.

    Discover a Haven of Shopping Delights

    Downtown Southport offers a historic waterfront shopping district that epitomizes the classic charm of this seaside gem. The main shopping area is shaded by the canopies of centuries-old oak trees and the refreshing sea breeze follows you throughout your journey.

    Sumptuous restaurants, classy shops, and welcoming hotels are abundant.

    Here, you'll find jewelers, photography, handicrafts, art, and much more. The vast majority of the businesses are locally owned and operated, representing a true taste of the spirit of Southport.

    Southport is also well known for its marinas, and anywhere you wander in the Old Downtown area, you'll be within earshot of warbling birds and the whisper of the sea. The town is known for its seafood restaurants, with seasonal menus based around local fish and crabs.

    One thing visitors continually comment about is the welcoming atmosphere local business owners always strive to create. Visit Southport now and then and you'll soon find yourself being treated like a cherished regular. Decide to stay and you're sure to meet many new friends.

    As enjoyable as the shopping is, that's not all you'll find Downtown. It also has an assortment of galleries and museums paying homage to the local area's unique maritime heritage. History buffs will see the past come alive ... both on display and in the many antique shops.

    Southport's Real Estate Market is Another Shopping Pleasure

    Buying a home is exciting, but it can also be a challenge. Choosing to relocate to Southport can make things easier. At any time of the year, you're likely to find an assortment of classic and modern-style homes to meet the needs of virtually any family.

    True "seaside property" may go fast here, as it does in most other places – but it's hard to find better bargains on homes right within reach of the salty tang of the sea. Southport is truly unique for the many opportunities it affords young families, established professionals, and retirees.

    For homes in Southport you'll be glad to call your own, contact our Southport real estate agents. Learn more about Southport or contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to get started.

    Our team has years of experience helping home buyers and sellers in beautiful Southport and its surrounding communities. We'll help you narrow down the right options for you and accelerate the process of moving into your Southport dream home.


    Best Golf Courses in Ocean Isle Beach

    Ocean Isle Beach Golf

    With over 100 golf courses in a 40-mile radius, Ocean Isle Beach offers some of the best courses in the country. If you love hitting the links, our experienced REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates can help you find the ideal place to perfect your swing and explore a variety of Ocean Isle Beach homes to fit your lifestyle.

    • Brick Landing Plantation Golf Club
      1882 Goose Creek Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

      The Brick Landing Plantation features a championship 18-hole golf course that challenges players of all levels. A spectacular course that weaves through marshes and the intercoastal waterway, its layout was designed to take advantage of the terrain's natural beauty. The experience of golfing with the Atlantic Ocean breeze gently swaying is one that is not soon forgotten.

    • Brunswick Plantation & Golf Resort
      330 S Middleton Dr NW, Calabash, NC 28467

      This spectacular 1,700-acre gated condo golf resort offers three challenging courses:

      Reminiscent of the links of Scotland where golf was born, the magnificent Magnolia/Dogwood course features extensive mounding, large sand and grass bunkers.

      The Dogwood/Azalea course ambles along the waters of the Caw Caw Creek and features majestic, dense hardwood trees and natural coastal terrain. Its open design provides stunning landscapes, and affords golfers the opportunity to hit every club in the bag.

      The Azalea/Magnolia course offers a peaceful setting nestled in thick Carolina woodlands. Water is the dominant theme for many of these holes, presenting challenges that require thought and strategy on every shot.

    • The Big Cats Golf Courses of Ocean Ridge Plantation
      351 Ocean Ridge Pkwy SW, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469

      Ocean Ridge Plantation is home to the award-winning and nationally-recognized Big Cats Golf Courses. It also offers the opportunity for fun-filled days at the beach, fine dining and a variety of exciting entertainment venues.

      The Big Cats feature challenging courses for all levels, stunning landscapes, thrilling elevation changes, a variety of fairways and pitched greens. All of the courses have been designed to take advantage of the landscape's natural terrain.

      Leopard's Chase Covering over 220 acres of coastal land, Leopard's Chase features breathtaking landscapes covered with native grasses and plants, natural wetlands, and panoramic vistas.

      Tiger's Eye These challenging and abundant rolling greens that resemble warped plywood, feature plenty of pin placements that are obscured from view and guarded by water and/or sand hazards.

      Panther's Run Undulating, wooded land with rambling creeks and ponds test your ability to tackle hitting over water. Panther's Run also features numerous large tee areas, to give golfers of all skill levels a fair shot at making par.

      Lion's Paw is an open, hilly course that boasts spectacular views of a gorgeous creek valley and its adjoining wetlands. Seemingly untamed, Lion's Paw also features deep sugar-white sand bunkers and bent grass greens.

    • The Pearl
      1300 Pearl Blvd SW, Calabash, NC 28467

      The East and West golf courses of The Pearl provide magnificent views overlooking the Calabash River and the Intracoastal Waterway. These beautiful and challenging courses are known for their attention to detail and meticulous grooming.

    Whether you're addicted to golfing or just want to enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the North Carolina Coast, Ocean Isle Beach has something for everyone. If you're looking to buy or sell a home, contact Margaret Rudd & Associates to learn more about our services and the advantages of coastal living.


    Coastal Carolina 4th of July Festival and Fireworks

    Have a Blast in Brunswick County 

    July 4 Coastal Carolina

    Who doesn't love the thrill of watching colors of red, white and blue stream through the sky on the Fourth of July?

    Our Brunswick County beach communities promise a stunning spectacular this Independence Day.  To make it easier on you, our REALTORS® have compiled a list of their favorite places to spend Independence Day.

    Ocean Isle Beach
    Ocean Isle Beach
     starts the celebration with a bang on Monday, July 3 at 9 PM.  Watch our fireworks display from the Ocean Isle Beach Pier, beach or anywhere on the Island. (In the case of rain, fireworks will be rescheduled for July 6 at 9 PM).  Our annual July 4 parade begins at 10 AM--decorated golf carts and bicycles are welcome!

    Oak Island
    As our nation prepares for its 241st birthday, Oak Island is preparing for its own Independence Day celebration.  The annual Oak Island Beach Day will be held on Saturday, July 1 beginning at 9 AM and is sponsored by the Oak Island Parks & Recreation Department.  The day will be filled with live entertainment, family fun and inflatables from 9 AM - 9 PM at Middleton Park.  Don't miss our corn hole, bocce, sand castle, and volleyball contests. A skate boarding contest continues the fun at the skate park. The fun continues with a live beach band and shag contest.  Due to damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, there will not be a fireworks display on Oak Island in 2017.

    Sunset Beach
    Start your day full of fun and festivities with a parade over the Old Bridge. This will involve patriotic music and flags waving. Sunset Beach has July 4 activities planned that are kid-tested and approved. You are encouraged to bring your decorated wagons, sneakers, strollers or bicycles. This will be followed by other games and activities. The pyrotechnic fun starts at 9 PM and you don't want to miss the spectacular show.

    Holden Beach
    The patriotic spirit is alive and well at Holden Beach. This residential community has always celebrated our nation's independence in a big way. Thousands flock the Holden Beach during the Independence holiday to bathe in the richness of spirit commemorating Old Glory. Some of the fun activities include firefighter's competition, children' entertainment, and games, arts/craft, parade, live entertainment, flag raising ceremony veteran's recognition ceremony and more. Colorful fireworks will then light up the sky to crown the day.

    Bald Head Island
    Join the Bald Head Island community in celebrating America's birthday with the signature Golf Cart Parade. It's always a spectacular experience having the island decorated with elaborate golf carts floats. The parade is, even more, fun since participants get a chance to decorate their golf carts for awards. There's even a Bald Head Island Conservancy picnic and at the end of it all, people get to enjoy spectacular pyrotechnic fun before they call it a day.

    You can enjoy what Brunswick Isle has to offer every day by finding a home in the wonderful islands. Simply contact our team at Margaret Rudd & Associates to buy a house in Brunswick County.



    Pet-Friendly Places in Brunswick County

    Pet-friendly Locations Brunswick County

    Any pet lover will confirm, pets are family--only with four legs and waggly tails.  So, it's only natural, we search for places where they can enjoy the same quality of life as we do.  Fortunately, Brunswick County has "gone to the dogs" with a number of county parks, beaches and green spaces with pet-friendly policies in place.  Our REALTORS® have unleashed this list of pet-friendly places in our community because...every dog does have its day.

    Dog-Friendly Parks for the Family to Enjoy

    Community parks add green space to city living and gives Fido a place to romp and play. Check out these favorite parks for you and your dog in Brunswick County.

    • Leland Municipal Park
      Updated in 2006, this park includes a playground for kids and a .6 mile walking loop with waste stations for pets.

    • Westgate Nature Park
      Still expanding, this 150 acres preserve features forests and wetlands. 2013 updates included a 10 foot wide paved walkway for .3 miles that features pet waste stations and a pet water hydrant too.

    • Winnabow Parks
      Offering a little something for everyone, Winnabow Park provides soccer and baseball fields, playground, outdoor exercise obstacles, and a picnic area. Dogs will love the miles of walking and off leash park area too.

    • Brunswick Nature Park
      Brunswick Nature Park spans over 900 acres, so there's a lot of walking paths to explore. This pet-friendly area is a favorite of hikers and horseback riders, as well as offering plenty of opportunity to watch wildlife in its undeveloped areas.

    Beaches on Brunswick for You and Your Pet

    Residents frequently take advantage of the picturesque North Carolina sand to walk, wade, and of course spend time with their four-legged friend.

    While the beach is always fun for you and your pet, not all areas welcome animals. Here are some rules and information for six of the best beach locations below.

    • Sunset Beach
      Sunset Beach changes the rules based on the season. Dogs are allowed on-leash during the summer only after 6 PM and before 8 AM. During fall and winter dogs are allowed all day (with a leash less than 10 feet).

    • Ocean Isle Beach
      Like Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach limits the hours when dogs can roam between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Dogs are prohibited from 9 AM to 6 PM, and allowed on leash only the rest of the time.

    • Caswell Beach
      A special treat for well-behaved pups, Caswell Beach offers both leashed and unleashed opportunities. Leashed dogs are welcome on the beach year round. Unleashed dogs can run before 9 AM all year, and also after 3 pm from October through the end of April. At this beach the emphasis is on canine manners, so only controlled and friendly pets allowed.

    • Holden Beach
      Dog restrictions begin May 20 and end September 10 on Holden Beach. Pets are banned during this time from 9 AM to 5 PM. Leashed pets are welcome at all other times.

    • Oak Island
      Leashed dogs are welcomed year round on Oak Island. Unleashed dogs are also allowed to run in specific marked locations (check for signs) from mid-October through mid-March from 8 AM to 6 PM.

    • Bald Head Island
      Bald Head Island
      values all its animal visitors including both canines and turtles. Due to turtle breeding season, dogs must be leashed from sunset to sunrise, May through November. Well supervised dogs may enjoy off-leash play at all other times.

    When you're making a move to Brunswick County, contact our REALTORS® from Margaret Rudd & Associates to find the right home for you.


    Life is Sweeter Living at Holden Beach

    Living at Holden Beach NC
    The sun is shining, the sand is heating up and the ocean is at just the right temperature to leave you feeling cool, refreshed and ready to spend a few more hours soaking in the rays. Summer has arrived in North Carolina, and there are few traditions more enjoyable than spending a day around the sandy beaches of Holden Beach, NC. If you're new to the area or just looking for a quick refresher on some of the best beach spots to enjoy, we've got you covered. Our REALTORS® in Holden Beach have the inside scoop on everything you need to enjoy the sand and sun in our corner of North Carolina.

    Best of the Beach: Why Summer Is Sweeter by the Sea in Holden Beach, NC

    Have you been searching for a big, crowded beach, where there's little room to move and you get to spend the afternoon dodging flying beach toys? Yeah, we didn't think so. Holden Beach is beloved in part because this is a community that keeps things simple, with a focus on the beach, entertainment, and family fun. It's a very popular spot to visit, but you still don't have to worry about the overwhelming crowds that come with many East Coast beaches.

    • Toes in the Sand – Naturally, the fun in Holden Beach starts at... the beach! On the sandy shores of southern North Carolina, you'll be free to enjoy the pristine, white sand, cool, clean water, and scenic views of Holden Beach, NC. There is plenty of room to play your favorite beach games, lounge in the sun, and of course to build a big, beautiful sand castle with every member of the family. This stretch of sand and sea consistently ranks as one of the best family beaches in the country.
    • Sampling Seafood – Fair warning, you may find that a full day at the beach leaves you feeling ready for a big meal in the evening. The good news is that you won't have to go far to sate your hunger with some of the best seafood that North Carolina has to offer. Holden Beach is loaded with great dining options, from formal, sit-down spots with gourmet seafood to fun, casual dining by the beach.
    • The Sounds of Summer – One of the perks of Holden Beach homes is that you'll never be far from another fun community event on the calendar. Throughout the summer, you can enjoy a free concert series by the beach, with performances every Sunday evening. Every week brings a new performer, with bands from nearly every genre gracing the summer stage. Food and refreshments are also available for purchase during every summer concert series event.
    • Fantastic Fishing – For many residents, a day at the beach doesn't really start until their fishing line hits the water for the first time. Whether you're an experienced angler or just looking for an afternoon of fun, there are plenty of great spots to fish around Holden Beach. The Holden Beach Pavilion and Fishing Pier is one popular fishing destination, allowing you to drop a line in the Intracoastal Waterway and catch a beautiful seaside sunset in the background.

    No matter how you like to spend your summer days, there really is something for every member of the family to enjoy in Holden Beach, NC. When you're ready to start shopping, our team is here to help you find the perfect home base close to the sand and sun. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates to buy and sell homes in Holden Beach, NC.


    2017 Ocean Isle Beach Free Concert Schedule

    Ocean Isle Beach Concert Series

    One of the best parts about owning a home in Ocean Isle Beach is the many community-sponsored events that happen throughout the area. The Ocean Isle Property Owners Association's Summer Concert Series is one of those events. From the Friday night before Memorial Day to the Friday night after Labor Day, the oceanfront comes alive with the sounds of local musicians. The summer concert series has been released, and it's a great one.

    Summer Concert Series Lineup for 2017

    So who can you expect to see on the beach this summer? Here's the announced lineup:

    • May 26 - Gary Lowder & Smokin' Hot
    • June 2 - Bailout
    • June 9 - North Tower
    • June 16 - Carolina Breakers
    • June 23 - Blackwater Rhythm & Blues
    • June 30 - Band of Oz
    • July 7 - The Embers featuring Craig Woolard
    • July 14 - Continental Divide
    • July 21 - The Legacy Motown Revue
    • July 28 - Jim Quick & Coastline
    • August 4 - The Attractions
    • August 11 - Holiday Band
    • August 18 - Steve Owens & Summertime
    • August 25 - Too Much Sylvia
    • September 1 - The Entertainers
    • September 8 - Blackwater Rhythm & Blues

    Do you see a band or performer that jumps out at you? If so, then make plans to attend!

    How to Attend

    The Ocean Isle Beach Free Concert Series is completely free. Simply bring your blanket or lawn chair to the parking lot of the Museum of the Coastal Carolinas at 6:30, and sit back and enjoy the festivities. Be sure to bring plenty of drinks and snacks, because the concert will run until 8. Also, bring your dancing shoes, because you'll find your friends and neighbors are enjoying the festivities by dancing to the tunes.

    Donate to the Local Food Bank

    The concerts are free, but the Ocean Isle Beach Property Owners Association uses the opportunity to collect donations for the local food bank. The association will have collection bins to your non-perishable food donations. Enjoy some free music and fun, and use the opportunity to give back to the local community.

    Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates to Join the Ocean Isle Beach Community

    If community-sponsored events like the free summer concert series have made Ocean Isle Beach an appealing option for buying a home, partner with one of our local REALTORS® to start your search for Ocean Isle Beach homes for sale.  Our sales associates know the local area well and can help guide you to the right home. Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates to start your search for the perfect home in beautiful Ocean Isle Beach.


    The Best Part About Living in Boiling Spring Lakes

    Living in Boiling Spring Lakes Subdivision

    Curious about Boiling Spring Lakes? With our REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates, you can find homes in Boiling Spring Lakes that will live up to your wildest dreams. Boiling Spring Lakes is one of the most beautiful and welcoming communities in Brunswick County, North Carolina. If you haven't taken a closer look yet, it's about time you did!

    Let's zoom in on some of the top reasons why people love Boiling Spring Lakes:

    The Fifty Lakes

    Boiling Spring Lakes is truly North Carolina's lake country. It features a stunning array of 50 lakes of all shapes and sizes. You can enjoy fishing, boating, waterskiing, and all kinds of other pastimes. With a cozy community of just 6,000 residents, the lakeside is never completely full.

    Beautiful Beaches and Islands

    From Boiling Spring Lakes, you can easily catch a relaxing ferry ride to Bald Head Island or Fort Fisher. Bald Head Island is home to the state's oldest lighthouse, while Fort Fisher is a National Historic Landmark where you can see the carefully-preserved remains of the original camp.

    Great Amenities for Families and Retirees

    Boiling Spring Lakes is perfect for any stage of life. Housing prices are economical, while the quality of the local schools is top notch. The community benefits from great healthcare despite its relatively small size. And the commercial district is accessible, but always growing.

    An Incredible Real Estate Market

    There has perhaps never been a better time to purchase a home in Boiling Spring Lakes. Homes of all sizes are now available at attractive prices. Prices range anywhere from $64,500 fixer-uppers to stately properties offering substantial acreage.

    The Best Part About Living in Boiling Spring Lakes

    This community is convenient to anything you need without being stuck in the middle of everything. No matter whether you feel like indulging in signature retail and dining or losing yourself in the midst of miles of unspoiled wilderness, it is ideal.

    This close-knit, unpretentious community offers some of the most breathtaking and unspoiled nature to be found anywhere in North Carolina. It is surrounded by miles of hiking trails. The Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve is filled with rare flowers, trees, and animals – including some of the best birdwatching in the continental United States.

    When you choose Boiling Spring Lakes, you'll be living shoulder to shoulder with the best of both worlds, in a special kind of paradise many people believe has already been lost. And it can all be yours for a lifetime.

    Contact us today to find out more about one of Brunswick County's favorite communities.


    Run Sunset Beach Saturday, May 20

    Run Sunset Beach to Get Your Chance at the World's Largest Race Series Medal

    Run Sunset Beach May 20

    Lace your tennis shoes and hit Sunset Beach on May 20 for a chance to win one of the world's largest race series medals.  Hosted by Coastal Race Productions, the "Run Sunset Beach" event is now in its fourth year.  All finishers will receive a BAM! medal. Individual Half Marathon medals measure seven inches tall and 5K medals measure four inches tall--now that's some noteworthy Bling!

    "Run Sunset Beach" will begin at 7:00 AM on Saturday, May 20; the Run kicks off with a half-marathon. After the half-marathon gets underway, there will be a 5K starting 15 minutes later, and a 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk that kicks off at 8:30 AM. The Run Sunset Beach event offers something for everyone, no matter their fitness level. Here's what to expect when you attend.

    Taking place on a USATF-certified course, the half-marathon will be getting started at the Sunset Beach Park parking lot. From there, runners will cross over the Sunset Beach Bridge and run through the Sea Trail Golf Resort. You'll see some of the best sights Sunset Beach has to offer as you make your way around the fast, flat course back to the starting point. This race is part of season's second BAM! Race Series event. Registration is open and costs just $75 for the half-marathon portion when you register before May 19th. Registration can also take place the day of the race for just $10 more.

    The 5K gets its start in the Sunset Beach Park parking lot 15 minutes after the half-marathon gets underway. The course is USATF-certified, and runs along part of the same route as the half-marathon. Also part of the second event of this season's BAM! Race Series, registration is open and just $40 before May 19th. If you're registering the day of the race, expect to pay $45 instead.

    1 Mile Fun Run/Walk
    While not part of the BAM! Race Series, the 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk does a big service to one of Sunset Beach's favorite non-profits, the Sunset Beach Turtle Patrol. The route takes advantage of the beautiful new Sunset Beach Park and lets participants take the course at their own pace. Registration is open and runs just $25 before May 19th. Registering for the run/walk the day of the event carries a price tag of $30.

    Then, it's Party Time!
    During the events and following their completion, family-centered entertainment will be available, as will music and food. The awards ceremony will take place during the celebration, which will be held after the races at Sunset Beach Park. Winners of the 5K and half-marathon can expect to be awarded the biggest bling on the race circuit, with BAM! Race Series medals that connect to measure more than two feet when you win one for each of the four Series events.

    Get ready to attend by registering here.

    More than Just a Beach
    Sunset Beach is one of the most beautiful settings in North Carolina. Gorgeous beaches are, of course, only part of the attraction.  There's a sense of community and kinship in Sunset Beach. Not only is it the home of events like Run Sunset Beach, it offers some of the best outdoor activities anywhere in the US. When you're ready to start living life beyond your expectations, our REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd & Associates are ready to help. Contact us for more information about homes in Sunset Beach.


    Sunset Beach NC Fun-Filled Days

    5th Annual Strawberry and Wine Fest

    Sunset Beach Strawberry & Wine Fest

    There's always something going on at Sunset Beach, one of the most beautiful seaside towns on the North Carolina coast. Our homes in Sunset Beach, NC put you within reach of all of the area's best festivals and events, like the annual Strawberry and Wine Festival, which is coming right up!

    An Annual Tradition

    Now in its 5th year, the Strawberry and Wine festival has become a favorite event on the Carolina coast, bringing attendees from all over the region to the cozy town of Sunset Beach. This year's event takes place on April 30th, and promises to offer a fun-filled day of sun, live music, and of course, strawberries and wine.

    Look for the festival in a new location this year, the beautiful Sunset Beach Town Park. It's the perfect spot to sit back and relax alongside the calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway.

    Fun Event for All

    Music will be provided by Mike's Garage Band, a local favorite that plays classic rock and soul songs perfect for dancing. Local artisans and other vendors will be set up on the festival grounds, and a wide range of mouth-watering food will be available, including hot dogs, fried chicken and barbecue.

    Of course, the main attraction at the Strawberry and Wine fest is right there in the name. Rest assured, you'll have ample opportunity to sample some local wines courtesy of Silver Coast Winery, along with ripe, chocolate-dipped strawberries. Waterline Brewing Co. from Wilmington will also be on site to offer up some tasty craft brews, including a festival-themed strawberry wheat beer. This is an all-ages event—non-alcoholic beverages including water and soda will also be provided—making it great for the entire family. Pets are welcome as well!

    Old Bridge Preservation Society Hosting

    Hosted by the Old Bridge Preservation Society, the festival kicks off at noon on April 30, 2017 and will go until about 5:00 PM. Admission as $5. You're invited to bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket as well, though the organizers of the festival ask that you not bring outside coolers or beverages. With all the great local wines to be tasted, chances are you won't miss them! All proceeds go to benefit the nonprofit Old Bridge Preservation Society.

    Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates today to learn more about life in Sunset Beach, NC. Our REALTORS® have years of experience in Brunswick County, offering some of the most beautiful homes in Sunset Beach and the surrounding area.




    5K Color Run Holden Beach NC

    Holden Beach Family Fun Run

    Holden Beach Fun Run

    Nestled on an 8-mile-long barrier island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Holden Beach, NC is a quiet seaside town that offers stunning scenery and a laid-back, family atmosphere.

    An abundance of fun, family-friendly events throughout the year is one of the reasons Holden Beach has been nationally recognized as one of the premier family Beaches in the United States. And one of the best events of the year is coming up soon—the Holden Beach Free 5K Color Run.

    Free for the Whole Family

    The Holden Beach Free 5K Color Run takes place on April 1, 2017, and all are welcome to enjoy the race, either as a spectator or as a participant. There are no age restrictions, and kids under the age of 5 are even allowed to ride their bikes. The whole idea is to get as many members of the community as possible in a fun-filled day that raises money for a good cause. So whether you want to walk, run, or just cheer from the sidelines is up to you!

    The race starts right under the bridge at 123 Jordan Boulevard in Holden Beach, NC. Registration is at 9 AM on the morning of April 1, and the race kicks off at 10 AM.

    Fun for a Good Cause

    T-shirts for the race are available for $10, though you don't have to purchase one to participate. Just wear a white T-shirt of your own and be prepared to be showered in a burst of bright-colored powder as you pass by the crowd—that's the "color" part of the color run! It's a good opportunity to show off your colors, so to speak. If you plan on watching the race from the sidelines, you can still participate by dousing color on the runners. Color will be available for free on the day of the race.

    All the money raised by the Holden Beach Free 5K Color Run goes toward supporting programs that help keep kids active and fight childhood obesity. One lucky school gets a hefty $500 prize.

    Learn More about Holden Beach

    Holden Beach homes offer access to some of the most beautiful scenery and pristine beaches on the coast of North Carolina, along with great family events like the Holden Beach Free 5K Color Run. It's a great place to live, work and call home.

    If you're thinking about buying a home in the Holden Beach, contact our team of Holden Beach REALTORS® to learn more.


    6 Reasons to Move to Southport

    Southport, North Carolina - America's Happiest Seaside Town

    Move to Southport NCSouthport, North Carolina is a unique, historic seaside community that of serves a huge helping of beauty and charm to both long-time locals and newcomers.  It's no surprise that Southport topped the list of America's Happiest Seaside Towns.  Located near the southern end of the Carolina coast, several towns make up this area:  Caswell Beach, Oak Island, Bald Head Island, Boiling Springs Lakes and St. James. Sail from the Southport Marina, go fishing in the coastal waters of the Atlantic, take advantage of some of the best walking trails in the state and relax in a small-town atmosphere over two centuries in the making. Cozy antique shops nestle together with excellent restaurants, a plethora of shopping options and all the modern conveniences. This quaint community is an excellent place to live--no matter what your interests. Here are six reasons to make Southport your new home.

    1. Small-Town Atmosphere, Old-Time Charm
      White picket fences and towering old trees bracket homes from another era, giving many of Southport's neighborhoods a turn-of-the-century feel that hearkens back to a simpler time. Combined with a thriving downtown that's home to locally-owned art galleries, fresh seafood eateries, and tons of places to find uniquely perfect treasures, Southport offers more than just a place to live; it offers a lifestyle that's getting harder to find.

    2. Sandy Beaches, Salty Air, & Boiling Lakes
      The beaches in and around Southport boast more than 28 miles of shoreline and some of the most breathtaking lighthouses the state has to offer. Southport's fastest growing area, Boiling Spring Lakes, has more than four dozen spring-fed bubbling lakes. There are few areas that can match the beauty of Southport's natural bubbling lakes, wild dunes and beaches.

    3. Local Art Displays and Workshops
      Local artists have an excellent opportunity to fine-tune their crafts while also taking part in local exhibitions. The Oak Island Art Guild offers:

      - Local artists displaying their work at the Recreation Center
      - Monthly workshops from guest instructors
      - Annual Arts and Crafts Festival on Labor Day weekend
      - Three-day art show called Arts by the Shore during November

      In addition, the Brunswick Concert Band and Big Band give free concerts throughout Brunswick County, and the Sea Notes Choral Society, consisting of 100 vocalists, performs at various local events and festivals. If theater is more your style, you can catch off-Broadway musicals and comedy performances at the Brunswick Little Theater.

    4. Mild Weather, Great Climate
      More than 100 days every year are clear and sunny in Southport. In the winter, temperatures are mild and rarely fall below the 40s; the rest of the year, the mercury hovers between the high 70s and low 80s. The summer months bring a fair amount of heat and humidity.

    5. Sailing & Other Outdoor Activities
      Southport offers an excellent array of options for sailing, surf and deep sea fishing, golfing, swimming, hiking and off-roading. Golf can be played at a number of courses--whether you prefer private, semi-private or public courses. The Fort Fisher State Recreation Area has areas for picnics, hiking and beaches open to off-road vehicles.

    6. Shopping, Dining & More
      Whether you prefer to shop at local boutiques or big box stores, Southport offers a variety of choices that are sure to please. Locally-owned retailers include cozy antique shops, stylish salons and boutiques stocked with unique offerings to please any taste. Top-rated restaurants and "Mom and Pop" eateries offer lots of choices for discerning palates, no matter what you're in the mood to eat.

    Finding the Perfect Place to Call Home

    If you want to find some of the most beautiful homes in Southport, look no further than Margaret Rudd & Associates. Our local REALTORS® have been helping people find their perfect place to call home for more than three decades, and we look forward to helping you. Contact us for more information about finding a great home in Southport.


    Why So Many Love Caswell Beach

    Living Caswell Beach NC
    Most beach towns are busy, boisterous places during the summer months, so what do you do when you want to spend time at a more peaceful, tranquil beach-front setting? Head to Caswell Beach, NC, of course! Caswell Beach is one of Oak Island's best kept secrets – a beautiful, secluded beach town that still puts you in very easy driving distance to all of Oak Island's luxurious amenities. The local Brunswick County real estate market features homes that will make any beach-lover swoon and for those interested in a shorter stay, there are appealing rental properties throughout the community.

    Caswell Beach - One of North Carolina's Best Kept Secrets

    Caswell Beach, NC is the classic beach town without the classic beach crowds. The community is primarily residential with the exception of the gorgeous Oak Island Golf Club. There are still plenty of great dining, shopping and entertainment options nearby since Caswell Beach is only about a mile away from the commercial heart of Oak Island. The fishing community of Calabash is also very close by.

    • A Pristine Beach – Toes in the sand, a cold drink in hand and beautiful scenery as far as the eye can see, the secluded beaches of Caswell Beach are spectacular and waiting outside your door. If you're simply looking for a little break from life on the mainland, rent a Caswell Beach home to relax, recharge and take a break from the daily grind.
    • Unique Transportation – The daily commute around Caswell Beach is the perfect example of the community's unique nature. Golf carts are a favorite method of transportation around town--so grab a golf cart, fill out the registration form and travel in true beach-front style.
    • Delightful Dunes – Dunes play a very important role in coastal ecosystems and create some truly beautiful scenery in the process. The sand dunes around Caswell Beach both set the scene and protect the island from erosion.
    • Lighthouse Tours – Visit Oak Island Lighthouse for a bird's eye view of Caswell Beach and a fun lesson in local history. The lighthouse has witnessed many stories over the years and you're sure to enjoy adding your own to the list.
    • Oak Island Amenities – Enjoying the peaceful, private nature of Caswell Beach does not mean you'll have to sacrifice when it comes to dining, entertainment or unique shopping experiences. When you buy a Caswell Beach home, you certainly won't have to worry about running out of things to do. From the Silver Coast Winery to the Ingram Planetarium, Oak Island's attractions offer something for the whole family.
    • Fantastic Fishing – The town of Calabash, NC, also located in Oak Island, is one of the hottest fishing spots in the area. That's great news if you like to fish, or if you simply enjoy the flavor of fresh seafood. In fact, Calabash, NC bills itself as the "Seafood Capital of the World" and backs up that bold claim with fresh, delicious meals.
    • Special Events – A short drive (or golf cart ride!) will get you a front-row seat to all of the excellent events throughout the Oak Island calendar. The North Carolina Oyster Festival is famous throughout the country, and takes place annually just a few miles from your home in Caswell Beach, NC.

    Our REALTORS® are here to help you find the perfect vacation rental or permanent home in Caswell Beach, NC. Contact us to shop for homes.


    Historic Homes in Oak Island NC

    Oak Island Homes for SaleOak Island, NC is full of history, intrigue and fascinating stories that stretch back centuries to the earliest communities that called the area home. The history of Oak Island begins at the waterside and meanders through the coastal towns with plenty of stories to tell along the way. Whether you like nautical history, local legends or tales of heroism, you're sure to be delighted by the island's historic locations. Our real estate agents love exploring the communities of coastal NC. We've assembled some of the most interesting destinations around Oak Island to start your historical journey.

    The Must-See Historic Sites Around Oak Island, NC

    • North Carolina Maritime Museum – Southport, NC – The Maritime Museum tells the many stories of the coastal waters around Bald Head Island. And we're not just talking about sunlit sailing trips. The history of the lower Cape Fear River includes pirates, sea battles, coastal storms and lost shipwrecks. You'll find historic artifacts, maps and an endless supply of stories within this museum.
    • The Old Jail, Southport, NC – Homes for sale in Southport, NC are located in the heart of a very historic town, and the Old Jail is one of Southport's most historic buildings. The small, brick building has been beautifully preserved and is overseen by the Southport Historical Society. In addition to its importance to local history, the jail served as a filming site for the 1980s film Crimes of the Heart.
    • Old Baldy Lighthouse, Bald Head Island, NC – As North Carolina's oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldy marked the entry to Cape Fear for more than a century before transitioning into a local historic hot-spot. While it is no longer an official navigational aid, Old Baldy has been lovingly maintained over the years by volunteers. Pick a clear, sunny day and climb to the top of Old Baldy for a view you'll never forget.
    • Old Smithville Burying Ground, Southport, NC – Established shortly after the first English settlers came to the area around 1750, the Old Smithville Burying Ground tells tales from every era of local history. You'll find both marked and unmarked graves around the burying ground--each with its own unique story. There are memorials to veterans of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War in addition to many local residents. It's a peaceful, profound place to reflect on the past.
    • Oak Island Lighthouse, Oak Island, NC – Shop homes for sale in Oak Island and a view of Oak Island Lighthouse is likely to be part of the package. The lighthouse is a mix of newer technology and classic building style overlooking the coastal waterways around Oak Island. Ever wonder how the lantern of a lighthouse reaches the top after the rest of the building is in place? Let's just say that it involves helicopters, a few brave souls and some very strong rope. You can find out the rest of the story by visiting Oak Island Lighthouse.

    Oak Island is truly the kind of community that celebrates the past while making the most of the present. Contact us at Margaret Rudd and Associates, Inc. to buy and sell homes in the historic communities around Oak Island, NC.


    Celebrate Inaugural Lighting of Old Baldy Lighthouse

    Historic Homes Bald Head Island, NC 

    Old Baldy Lighthouse - Bald Head Island NC
    Bald Head Island, NC
    is anything but your average community thanks to its gorgeous scenery, pleasant pace of life and fascinating local history. There is no better example of that history than Old Baldy--the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina. The lighthouse has been maintained as a labor of love by various Bald Head Island groups and residents over the years with excellent results.

    The latest addition to Old Baldy is a brand new set of ground lights which are scheduled to be inaugurated with a celebration on January 27, 2017--it's 200th birthday.  Best of all, the whole community is invited to join the celebration.

    New Lights for Old Baldy: Enjoy the Celebration on Bald Head Island

    • The Event: Inaugural Lighting of Old Baldy's New Ground Lights
    • The Place: Bald Head Island, NC
    • Date and Time: The Evening of January 27, 2017
    • Entry Cost: Free!

    The story of Old Baldy begins in 1817 when the lighthouse was first built to mark the entrance of Cape Fear. Old Baldy served as a nearly constant beacon for more than 100 years with a brief break in the middle of the 1800s. While Old Baldy saw the end of its working life in 1935, the lighthouse still stands strong today as a beautiful reminder of Bald Head Island's history.

    • Old Baldy was built from soft brick which was then covered with stucco. During the early years, the lighthouse got a fresh coat of stucco every two years giving it a bright, white appearance.
    • Maintenance became less frequent over the years and eventually the job fell to local enthusiasts who patched the stucco wherever damage was present. Since different colors of stucco were used by different volunteers, Old Baldy now has a unique, patchwork appearance.
    • The original light fixture in Old Baldy was made from 15 lamps, powered by whale oil, but the lighting system would undergo quite a few changes over time. The lighthouse went dark in 1935, but was lit once more in 1988. It no longer serves as an official navigational aid.
    • Old Baldy stands at 110 feet tall, and it takes exactly 108 steps to reach the top. It was also built to last, with five-foot thick walls at the base. Safe to say those walls have more than stood the test of time!

    If historic buildings could speak, Old Baldy would surely have quite a few tales to tell. The lighthouse has been a constant presence on Bald Head Island, and during that time the island has become one of the most unique communities on the North Carolina coast. You can arrive by ferry, travel the island by golf cart, and of course make the pilgrimage to Old Baldy yourself.

    In between, make time to visit Bald Head Island's unique restaurants, enjoy an afternoon of unmatched scenery at the local golf clubs and spend some time at one of the many local fishing spots. The Inaugural Lighting of Old Baldy is sure to be spectacular, and we have a feeling you'll find plenty of reasons to stick around after the celebration is complete.

    Our REALTORS® at Margaret Rudd and Associates are happy to help you find the Bald Head Island home of your dreams. The history of Old Baldy is just one example of what makes life on the island so special. 


    Buying a Smart Home in 2017

    Home Automation Makes Your Life Easier

    Technology has made huge headway over the past few decades, and what once seemed like science fiction is now a reality. People are able to take phones with them everywhere they go, and you can control your North Carolina home systems from around the globe. Buying a house is a big endeavor—there are several things to consider before making a purchase. One aspect many potential homeowners are looking for these days are smart home capabilities.

    What is a Smart Home?

    If you're looking at buying a house advertised as a smart home, it's important to understand what a smart home actually is. The best description of a smart home is home automation or the ability to control your home from devices and apps. Smart homes encompass everything from the heating/cooling system to your lights, security and more. A smart home is one where one or more of these "smart" features have been added.

    Top Smart Home Features

    • Thermostat. Several companies make smart thermostats with a wide range of options. Imagine you're going to be on vacation for an extra day, or home much later than expected—a smart thermostat lets you program from your phone, computer, or tablet. Some of the top brands include Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell. Some are smart enough to adapt to your home's needs, and will have your home warm when you get up, cool when you go to bed, and adjust for the seasons.

    • Lights. Maybe you're someone who rushes out the door and forgets to turn off the lights, or perhaps you worry if you're out too late it will be obvious no one's home and invite trouble. Today's home can incorporate home automation devices that allow you to control lights from wherever you are. Not only that, you can use bulbs that save money if you forget to turn a light off while out and about.

    • Security and cameras. Do you ever wonder what your pet is up to during the day, or want to arm the home alarm system from work? Smart security is available, and you can invest in everything from cameras you can view from your computer to systems that can lock and unlock your doors from your phone.

    • Cleaning. Most people wish they had a maid to clean, and while it's true that robots aren't available to cook and clean for you yet, there are still smart devices like Roomba or Samsung POWERbot. Schedule cleanings while you're gone and come home to a freshly swept or vacuumed room.

    • Cooking. New smart appliances are appearing every day. Imagine having the prep done, and simply having to turn on the oven from an app to have a warm meal waiting when you get home.

    • Shades. Automate your shades to let light in or shut it out throughout the day. Some of the smart shades even include monitoring and adaptation, so if your home needs more or less protection, they'll do the job for you.

    • Full connection capabilities. System's like Amazon's Echo or Samsung's SmartThings Hub can tie all of your automated home systems together.

    Use a Real Estate Agent Who Knows What's Smart

    Staying up to date with the newest home technology takes work, and when buying a house, you already have enough to focus on. Our real estate agents at Margaret Rudd & Associates stay on top of smart home trends that save money and make life a little easier, and can help you find a house that embraces the latest technology. Contact us to get started with your home search.


    6 Things to Know Before You Buy a Vacation Home

    Should You Buy a Vacation Home?

    Buy a Vacation House

    Buying a vacation home may sound like the ultimate luxury.  While owning a vacation home can be a great investment, both through potential rental income and through your own family memories, it's not a decision to be entered into lightly.  Our real estate agents at Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. have created this list of six things to consider before you start shopping for a vacation home.

    1. Count the Costs
      Before buying a vacation home, make sure you understand all the costs and can afford them. In addition to the obvious costs of the mortgage, you are going to need to pay for utilities, HOA or condo association fees, taxes, insurance and even furnishings for the home. In some areas you will want to add recreational equipment so you can rent the property as a fully equipped vacation home. Make sure these are all costs you can afford.

    2. Choose the Right Location
      If you are ready to buy a vacation home, make sure you choose the right location. First, look for a location that is convenient for your own vacation needs. You may not want to jump on an airplane every time you want some time away with the family, so buy somewhere that you can drive to. Consider transportation before buying a vacation home, and make sure the vacation property is located somewhere you will want to visit over and over.

      Second, make sure the home is in a location others want to visit, with a high potential rent income. When you're not at home, you're going to want to be able to rent out the home to improve your income.

    3. Have an Emergency Contact
      Sometimes, emergencies are going to happen at your home. Have a local contact or property management company you can trust to check on the property and take care of any maintenance emergencies. This is particularly important if you are a long drive away from your home, or if you are buying in an area prone to storms.

    4. Have a Protection Plan
      No matter how popular your area may be, there will be times when the home sits vacant. Make sure you have a plan to protect your home. In addition to security systems, consider putting lights on a timer to make the home look occupied, or ask neighbors to park in your driveway when you know the home will be vacant for a while.

    5. Understand the Taxes
      Vacation properties are not as tax-friendly as your primary residence. Not only will you lose some of the tax benefits you gain with your primary residence, but if you make significant rental income, you might have to pay taxes on that income. This is not necessarily a reason to avoid buying a vacation home, but talk to an accountant so you can understand all of the ramifications.

    6. Understand Your Financing Options
      You are not going to have as flexible of financing when buying a vacation home as you did when buying your primary residence. You are going to need a 20 percent down payment in most situations in order to get a mortgage. Talk to your lender before you start shopping for a vacation home to make sure the financing will be there.

    If you decide that owing a vacation home is right for you, the North Carolina real estate market offers a number of beautiful communities for you to consider.  Contact Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. to get started with the process of buying a vacation home.

    Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 02/06/2023. The listing information on this page last changed on 02/06/2023. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of NCRMLS (last updated Mon 02/06/2023 10:09:35 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Margaret Rudd & Associates, Inc. may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved.

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