Saturday, February 28, 2015

Interesting Real Estate Apps

Late winter and early spring may seem like a slow and sleepy time of year for real estate in southeastern North Carolina. However, thanks to the Internet, smart phones and cloud-based technology, it is actually a whirlwind of activity! Of course we strive to cover all of the bases through our informative and detail oriented website, however, when it comes to buying and selling property, the right app can help us all stay one step ahead! After a quick check of reviews on the Internet, here's a look at some of the most popular real estate apps.

Home Buying Power

This app is for iPhones, iPads, and the iPod Touch and comes from NotTooShabby Software for $1.99. This is an excellent tool for anxious house hunters. All too often when looking at several homes, things can get confusing. Geared at keeping track of what the buyer can afford, this app calculates which properties are within reach, based on financial data the prospective buyer inputs. It also analyzes considerations such as current interest rates, if the desired monthly payment will work, estimated closing costs, and provides an amortization table for the monthly mortgage payments.

Dictionary of Real Estate Terms

This app is a wonderful tool for first time home buyers who would like to bone up on terms they may not be 100 percent clear on, such as CMA, HOA, MLS, earnest money, equity, or full disclosure. The app features over 3,000 examples of real estate terminology. Many are further illustrated with easy to use charts and graphs. Even better, it does not require Internet access to use, plus it has a 1 letter search function, e-mail and saved search function.


Designed especially for busy house hunters, this app helps keep all of the properties organized. CrumbTracks makes a running list of which homes have been seen and creates separate files for photos, videos, and notes on points like square footage, amenities, and fixtures. There is also a mapping function that zeroes in on prospective properties and shows neighborhood features that are synced to the user's needs, such as public transportation, schools, parks, or medical facilities.

Photo Measures

It happens all the time-house hunters think they can remember minute details, like basic dimensions of rooms, doors, or windows, but when push comes to shove, it's not clear if that new sectional or Aunt Martha's baby grand will fit in the chosen corner. Big Blue Pixel has come up with the perfect solution to ensure that you'll get measurements. Simply snap photos with your iPhone or iPad and place the arrows from the app on top of the photo and viola! Instant dimensions! At 6.99 it's pricier than most, however, users seem to love it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Off-Season Home Improvement and Maintenance Ideas

Since we are sandwiched right between post-holiday bills and impending tax time, let's consider a few ways to spruce up a home without breaking the bank.

The off-season is the perfect time to do a little home maintenance, especially for those with vacation rentals or anyone who wants to list a property in the spring.

Here's a look at three inexpensive ways to make home improvements without spending a fortune.


Whether you want to make some dramatic changes or to simply perk things up, painting is one of the most rewarding choices. Doing it yourself will save hundreds of dollars and the sense of accomplishment you'll feel for a job well done is priceless!

If you are not an experienced painter start this project with a visit to your local paint store and get a little guidance. The key to achieving excellent results requires attention to detail when prepping the areas to be painted, investing in some good brushes and learning a few tricks of the trade. You can discuss your plans with a pro or check out one of hundreds of DIY lessons online. Along with tutorials on YouTube, Lowes and Home Depot have several excellent DIY videos on their websites. The cool thing about many of the online resources is that they are frequently job specific, such as, "How to Paint a Door", "How to Paint Trim", or "No-Mess Masking Techniques".

Improving your home with paint can be as involved as completely painting your home's exterior, redoing every room with the latest trendy colors or just touching up the trim.

Fixtures and Hardware

Another way to make frugal yet effective improvements to your home is to track down your screwdriver and upgrade cabinet hardware, drawer pulls, switch plates, and outdated light fixtures. Replacing tired showerheads and faucets is another frugal fix that can breathe new life into a tired bathroom.

Believe it or not, you can also track down new and like new hardware and fixtures for a fraction of the cost at a few places you may not have considered. Frequently builders and other homeowners have things left over from construction jobs or renovations and donate them to Goodwill, The ReStore, or post them on Craigslist. Those spots are where you may be lucky enough to find some vintage pulls, doorknobs, or hinges. Who knows? You may find just what you're looking for and save quite a chunk of change in the meantime.

In the case of pulls, doorknobs, hinges, and certain lighting fixtures, sometimes just cleaning and polishing them can make a world of difference. If you want to change their color, or bring a metallic finish back to its previous luster, there are new spray enamels in every shade imaginable including oil rubbed bronze and polished nickel!

Curtains, throw rugs, towels, table linens, decorative pillows - These household mainstays get lots of use and should be replaced every few years. Incorporating a few carefully chosen pieces is a nice, yet inexpensive way to update a room or even change the color scheme. If you're the crafty type, stitching up a new beachy table runner or pretty pillows for the porch rockers can be a rewarding wintertime activity!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Upcoming Outdoor Events Around Wrightsville Beach

It has been a little cold the past few weeks. Don't let the weather stop you from getting out and enjoying all that Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington have to offer. Here are some upcoming outdoor activities in the community....

Wintertime Half Marathon-Race 13.1, Sunday February 22
What a great opportunity to see how those New Year's resolutions are working out! The race starts nice and early at 7 am at Lumina Station. This is the first year for this event which will begin and end at Lumina Station on Eastwood Road. Events will include a half marathon, a 10K and a 5K. The course will take runners along the new Cross City Trail and parts of the UNCW campus. Get all of the details here:  Phone: (866) 561-5651 or Email:

Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours (ongoing) 

Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours has several different programs to choose from including a trip to Masonboro Island, the History Harbor Island Cruise and its Winter Birding Nature Cruise. Hitting the water in the off-season can prove to be an unforgettable experience. Just bundle up and bring your binoculars and a camera! When things are quiet, you're more likely to have some awesome photo opps. Blue herons, snowy egrets, and shearwaters tend to spend these late winter days fishing and roosting. And…with less foot traffic, just imagine the treasures that await you along Masonboro's pristine strand!

Get all the details here.

The U.S. Fatbike Beach Championships-Saturday, March 14th

Perhaps you've seen the fatbike enthusiasts pedaling along the beach on their pudgy modes of transportation? These bikes have oversized tires and were especially designed for cycling on soft, unstable terrain such as snow or sand. Hopefully there won't be any snow, just plenty of sand for this inaugural event! The action will get underway at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort on Saturday morning with 3 divisions: beginner, sport and expert. For more information please
e-mail: or call 910-256-2251.
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