Tuesday, December 23, 2014

7th Annual Cold Stroke Classic

Maybe if you've been really good this year, Santa will surprise you with a new standup paddleboard! Then there will be no excuse for not entering the season's premier watersport competition, the Cold Stroke Classic! With a cash purse of $1,250 for elite athletes and $5,000 in prizes for recreational paddlers, it's an enticing event!

Join watersports enthusiasts on Saturday, January 17th for the 7th Annual Cold Stroke Classic. The Blockade Runner Beach Resort is graciously hosting the event, and is looking forward to welcoming SUP participants from up and down the Eastern Seaboard. The headlining sponsor is local business, Coastal Urge.

The race will offer two options: a Recreational Division and an Elite Division. For both divisions the board lengths are:

  • Men's and Women's 12'6" and Under
  • Men's Only 14'

Registration for the 3.5-mile long Rec Division is $55 and $25 for kids 14 and under. For the 7-mile Elite course, paddlers can register for $75.

On the morning of the 17th, participants will convene at 9:30 am at the Blockade Runner for a pre-race meeting to discuss the course and safety. The race will begin at 10 am sharp. Please note that all paddlers must either wear a PFD during the event or have one that is accessible with their onboard gear.

Racers will put in on the Banks Channel side of the resort. From there, they will head slightly south before heading west towards Seapath Towers and the Intracoastal Waterway, where they will then turn sharply to the right, and head north. The 3.5-mile course continues, passing under the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge, then eastward by Channel Walk. The home stretch turns back to the south and passes under two more bridges. The race ends back where it started at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. See a map of the course, and registration details here: http://www.coldstrokeclassic.com/race---event-info.html

Proceeds from the event will benefit the organization, SUP Cleanup. Founded in 2009 by the owners of Coastal Urge, it is an international nonprofit whose goal is to, "rid the oceans, beaches and spoil island of trash and debris that washes up or gets left behind." The group cleans areas that are only accessible by boat or SUP.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Gift Ideas for New Coastal Homeowners

Is someone who is new to the area or the coastal lifestyle on your holiday gift list? This is the perfect time to introduce them to a few items that will enhance their new surroundings!

  • Oyster knives - Having their very own for whenever an invitation to an oyster roast presents itself will be appreciated!
  • Beach Toys - No, not pails and shovels-instead focus on the big kids and shop for things like boogie boards, snorkels, Frisbees, Corn-Hole sets, and a Bocce set.
  • Binoculars - New coastal residents are often shocked to discover the stunning views of nature and wildlife that are accessible just from their deck or kitchen window. Why not make it easier for them to observe those migrating dolphins, spectacular sunrises or far away sailing ships?
  • Tees from WB Merchants - They will feel like long time locals with apparel from such iconic stops as Robert's Grocery, Vito's Pizza, and Motts Channel Seafood!
  • Seafood Cookbooks - Even for the most accomplished home chefs, seafood cookery can be a challenge. Providing the new homeowners with a little guidance in the form of a cookbook or two could also be extremely beneficial for the giver, later on down the road! Here are a few suggestions: Seaboard to Sideboard (Wilmington Junior League), Mariner's Menu-30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas (N.C. Sea Grant), and The Coastal Living Cookbook.
  • More Culinary Ideas - A shrimp peeler, stainless steel fish spatula, shellfish crackers, and a gift bag filled with seafood seasonings like Old Bay and cocktail sauce.
  • Shoe rack, mat and brush - Help them keep the sand outside where it belongs with a de-sanding station. You might want to include a pair of unsex house slippers with this one.
  • Guidebooks - Introduce the new locals to topics they may be curious about, such as history, seashell and wildlife identification and coastal preservation. Audubon guides are good choices along with books from Wilmington natives, Susan Taylor Block and Anne Russell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Could Wintertime be the Best Time to Shop for Coastal Property?

The winter months are typically the slowest time of year for real estate sales. Even if your name is not Jack Frost or Elsa, they may be the best time to shop for a home, especially a place at the beach! Because the crowds are gone, listings are a bit more accessible. Also, sellers who listed properties in the spring and summer who have yet to see a serious buyer may be more interested in price negotiations. You never know until you try! Another excellent motivator for anyone considering a home purchase right now, coastal or otherwise, is the fact that 30 year mortgage rates are still hovering around 4.0 percent.

In fact as most of us were recovering from Thanksgiving, planning our Black Friday, Holiday Flotilla and Cyber Monday strategies, the Associated Press was looking into 30-year mortgage rates. According to their story, for the last week of November, rates went down for the third week in a row, from 3.99 percent to 3.97 percent.

In addition to affordable mortgage rates, the winter slow down may enable area home buyers to get more for their money. Along with motivated sellers, this is a busy time of year for impending moves or career changes. Most folks tend to put house hunting on hold for the holidays. However, a favorable combination of factors can trigger new listings that won't last until the busy spring and summer seasons. Another plus is that a wintertime home buy may include tax benefits in the form of under publicized deductions (consult a tax professional).

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in or around Wrightsville Beach, Landfall, or Figure Eight Island, please call 910-265-6998.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Give Your Listing the Wow Factor - Even in Winter

The winter months are often considered the off-season for home sales. Many hopeful homebuyers choose to bide their time until spring or summer. It happens this way for several reasons. Folks are often very busy during the holidays and resolve to get their ducks in a row after New Year's Day.

After January, chilly weather and tax time may also force potential buyers to put their plans on hold. Fortunately, there are always interested buyers looking for the perfect property in our area. Here are a few tips for bringing out the best in your listing even with Jack Frost around!

  • Prior to putting up outdoor holiday decorations, make sure to tidy up all of your property's landscaped areas and exterior. Rake, mow, blow, wash windows and pressure wash if needed.
  • Inside, before putting up the tree and decorating, make the place sparkle with a thorough deep cleaning. It's a tough balance to achieve this time of year, but try to get rid of most personal items and clutter. When a home is closed up on cold, dreary days, an excessive amount of stuff can overshadow its true appeal.
  • Avoid heavy window treatments. Achieve that easy breezy coastal feel with unobstructed windows that will create an openness especially if your home boasts any impressive coastal views.
  • No one can look at property when they are freezing and uncomfortable-so keep the place toasty warm. A good rule of thumb is to maintain a temperature somewhere between 70 and 75 degrees. 
  • On those unseasonably warm days, fling open a few windows and doors and air things out. Because beach sand and pet hair can be a problem, remember to keep carpets vacuumed and pet areas tidy. Also, be sure to change the heating and air conditioning system filters regularly.
  • By now we are all familiar with the ways enticing scents add to a listing's appeal. Avoid the temptation to overdo it with scented candles and air fresheners-keep it real! Instead of a heavily perfumed candle, fill the air with aroma of cinnamon oatmeal cookies, mulled cider, or rich, hot cocoa. Prospective buyers will likely enjoy a warming treat and appreciate how inviting your home is.
  • Create intimate settings and unexpected retreats throughout the residence. You can also incorporate the power of suggestion with a seasonal twist. For example: a bright bowl of citrus fruit or luscious holiday cake on a pedestal stand in the kitchen, a lit fire, stacks of books and woven throws in the living room, plush towels, robes, and rugs in the bath, an inviting reading nook in a window seat, or an elegant table set for a romantic dinner for two in the dining room.
  • After the holidays, and no later than January 1st, remove all of the holiday d├ęcor and replace it with a few welcoming touches. Need ideas? How about: wintertime blooms like bulbs and pansies, a new front door mat, mailbox flag or a DIY bird sanctuary with feeders and a bird bath?
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