Our Blog, Articles, and News

Coastal Dreams Real Estate Team's News, Market Trends, Research, and Articles.

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Aug. 22, 2023

How Appreciation and Amortization Benefit Homeowners.

How Appreciation and Amortization Benefit Homeowners

Owning a home is not only a place to live but also a valuable asset that can contribute to long-term wealth accumulation. Two key factors that play a vital role in increasing a homeowner's wealth are appreciation and amortization. Understanding how these factors work can provide homeowners with insights into building substantial financial equity over time.

Appreciation refers to the increase in the value of a property over time. Real estate markets tend to experience appreciation in the long run, although it can fluctuate in the short term. This appreciation can significantly benefit homeowners' wealth accumulation in several ways.

As a property appreciates, the homeowner's equity, which is the difference between the property value and the mortgage balance, increases. This equity serves as an asset that can be leveraged for future financial endeavors.

Capital Gains: When homeowners decide to sell their property, the appreciation becomes recognizable. The difference between the purchase price and the selling price results in a capital gain, which can be taxed at favorable rates. Homeowners benefit from an exclusion of up to $500,000 of capital gain for married taxpayers filing jointly.  If the gains exceed the exclusion, they are taxed at a lower capital gains rate.

Amortization refers to the gradual repayment of a mortgage loan over time. It is facilitated through monthly mortgage payments, which consist of both principal and interest. With each mortgage payment, a portion goes towards reducing the principal balance of the loan. This reduction in debt increases the homeowner's equity in the property, effectively building wealth over time.

Amortization acts as a form of forced savings. Homeowners are essentially paying themselves by building equity with each payment, rather than paying rent to a landlord. As the mortgage balance decreases, homeowners gain ownership of a more significant portion of the property, leading to increased wealth.

As equity grows, homeowners can access it through home equity loans or lines of credit, allowing them to invest in other ventures or make home improvements that can further enhance the value of their property.

Understanding the dynamics of appreciation and amortization is crucial for homeowners looking to accumulate wealth through their real estate investments whether it be a home or a rental. Appreciation allows for capital gains and the growth of equity, while amortization steadily reduces debt and builds equity over time. By leveraging these two factors effectively, homeowners can secure their financial future and take advantage of the long-term wealth-building potential of homeownership.

Aug. 18, 2023

Equity is a Game Changer for Sellers

Equity Is a Game Changer for Homeowners Looking To Sell

If you’re a homeowner, you might be torn on whether or not to sell your house right now. Maybe that’s because you don’t want to take on a higher mortgage rate on your next home. If that’s your biggest hurdle, understanding your equity may be exactly what you need to help you feel more comfortable making your move.

What Equity Is and How It Works

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And recently, that equity has been growing far faster than you may expect.

Over the last few years, home prices rose dramatically, and that gave your equity a big boost very quickly. While the market has started to normalize, there’s still an imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase. And it’s because homes are in such high demand that prices are back on the rise today. Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM, a property data provider, explains:

“Equity levels were high even during the recent downturn, and now they are going back up and better than ever.”

How Equity Benefits You in Today’s Market

With today’s affordability challenges, that equity can be a game changer when you move. Here’s why. Based on data from ATTOM and the Census, nearly two-thirds (68.7%) of homeowners have either paid off their mortgages or have at least 50% equity (see chart below):

That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.

Once you sell your house, you can use your equity to help with your next purchase. It could be some (if not all) of what you’ll need for your next down payment. It may even be enough to allow you to put a considerably larger down payment on your next home, so you don’t have to finance quite as much. And, if you’ve been in your current house for years, you may have even built up enough equity to pay in all cash. If that’s true for you, you’d be able to avoid borrowing altogether, so you wouldn’t have to worry about today’s mortgage rates.

How To Find Out How Much Equity You Have

The best way to learn how much you have is to reach out to a trusted real estate agent for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR).  Let's Talk!  Call us at 910.612.5312

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, let’s connect.

Aug. 13, 2023

Home Prices are Back on the Rise

Home Prices Are Back on the Rise [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • Looking at monthly home price data from six expert sources shows the worst home price declines are behind us, and they’re rising again nationally.
  • If you’ve put your plans to move on pause because you were worried about home prices crashing, this rebound is good news.
  • Let’s connect so you know what’s happening with prices in our area.
Aug. 11, 2023

The Dual Forces Building Homeowner's Wealth

When it comes to wealth accumulation, homeownership offers a unique advantage through the combined forces of appreciation and amortization. These two factors work hand in hand to contribute significantly to a homeowner's financial journey towards building long-term wealth.

Appreciation refers to the increase in the value of a property over time. While real estate markets can experience fluctuations, historically, properties have shown a tendency to appreciate over the long term. Homeowners enjoy the benefits of appreciation, which directly impacts their overall wealth accumulation.

As property values rise, homeowners build equity, which is the difference between the home's market value and the remaining mortgage balance. This equity can serve as an asset which can be tapped into for various purposes, such as funding education, starting a business, or investing in additional properties.

Amortization refers to the process of gradually paying off a mortgage loan over time. Each monthly payment made by a homeowner consists of both principal (the amount borrowed) and interest (the cost of borrowing). As time goes on, the proportion of each payment dedicated to the principal increases, while the portion allocated to interest decreases.

This gradual reduction of the mortgage balance is a significant advantage for homeowners. With each payment, equity in the property grows, and the homeowner's wealth increases. Additionally, the principal payments made towards the mortgage are essentially a form of forced savings, allowing homeowners to accumulate wealth in the form of home equity.

One of the primary advantages of homeownership is the ability to leverage home equity for financial opportunities. As mentioned earlier, appreciation and amortization work in tandem to build equity in a property. Homeowners can utilize this equity through various means, such as home equity loans or lines of credit, cash-out refinancing, or selling the property altogether.

These options allow homeowners to access their accumulated wealth to invest in other ventures, pay for major expenses, or consolidate high-interest debt. By leveraging home equity strategically, homeowners can further expand their wealth accumulation and achieve their financial goals.

Understanding the dynamics of appreciation and amortization is vital for homeowners seeking to accumulate wealth. Appreciation builds equity by increasing property values over time, while amortization allows homeowners to steadily pay down their mortgage and build home equity. By harnessing the power of these dual forces, homeowners can leverage their accumulated equity for financial opportunities and enjoy the long-term benefits of wealth accumulation.

Aug. 7, 2023

Market Forecast

Housing Market Forecast for the Rest of 2023 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Call Us to find out EXACTLY how the current Market is affecting your Real Estate Needs.  910.612.5312


Some Highlights

  • Want to know what experts say will happen in the rest of 2023? Home prices are already appreciating again in many areas. The average of the expert forecasts shows positive price growth.
  • Where mortgage rates go for the rest of the year will depend on inflation. Based on historical trends, rates are likely to ease as inflation continues to cool.
  • Even though low inventory continues to be a challenge, experts project 5 million homes will still sell this year. That pace should pick up if rates come down.
July 28, 2023

Key Housing Market Trends

Key Housing Market Trends [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights

  • If you’re considering buying or selling a home, you’ll want to know what’s happening in the housing market.
  • Housing inventory is still very low, prices are climbing back up, and homes are selling fast when priced right.
  • If you want more information about our local area and what the trends mean for your plans to buy or sell, let’s connect.
July 19, 2023

Expert Insights for the Rest of the Year in Housing

Expert Insights for the Rest of the Year in Housing



Here’s what experts have to say about what lies ahead for inventory, mortgage rates, and home prices. Let's connect so you know what to expect in the housing market for the rest of the year.




Sources Used for data:



July 14, 2023

Renting or Selling Your House: What's the Best Move?

Renting or Selling Your House: What's the Best Move?


If you’re a homeowner ready to make a move, you may be thinking about using your current house as a short-term rental property instead of selling it. A short-term rental (STR), or Vacation Rental (VR) is typically offered as an alternative to a hotel or resort, and they’re an investment that’s gained popularity in recent years.

While a short-term rental can be a tempting idea, you may find the reality of being responsible for one difficult to take on. Having managed 100's of short term rentals for several decades myself; I can assure you that there is more to it than a lot of beginners realize.  Here are some of the challenges you could face if you rent out your house instead of selling it.

A Short-Term Rental Comes with Responsibilities

Successfully managing your house as a short-term rental takes a lot of time and effort. You’ll have to juggle tasks like dealing with reservations, organizing check-ins, and tackling cleaning, landscape, and maintenance duties. Any one of those can feel demanding, but all together it’s a lot to handle.

Short-term rentals experience high turnover rates, as new guests check in and out frequently. This home traffic can lead to increased wear and tear on your property—meaning you may need to make more frequent repairs or replace your furniture, fixtures, and appliances more often. 

Think through your ability to make that level of commitment, especially if you plan to use a platform that advertises your rental listing. Most of them have specific requirements hosts must meet. An article from Bankrate explains:

"Managing a rental property can be time-consuming and challenging. Are you handy and able to make some repairs yourself? If not, do you have a network of affordable contractors you can reach out to in a pinch? Consider whether you want to take on the added responsibility of being a landlord, which means screening tenants and fielding issues, among other responsibilities, or paying for a third party to take care of things instead."

There’s a lot to consider before taking the leap and converting your house into a short-term rental. If you aren’t ready for the work it takes, it could be wise to sell instead or at least hire a professional, licensed Manager.

Short-Term Rental Regulations

As the short-term rental industry continues to grow, regulations have increased. Legal restrictions commonly include vacation rentals in a particular neighborhoods.  HOA rules and restrictions may not allow them.  

Many cities, counties and state also require homeowners to collect, account for, and submit sales and use taxes, accomodation taxes, or other taxes/fees when renting out their properties. Nick Del Pego, CEO at Deckard Technologiesexplains:

Renting short-term rentals is considered a business by most local governments, and owners must comply with specific regulations and business tax rules established in their local communities.”

It is important to thoroughly check whether short-term rentals are regulated or prohibited by the local government and your homeowners association (HOA) before even considering renting out your home. 

Don't Forget the Obvious

A short term rental also means completing furnishing and outfitting the property down to the forks and spoons.  It means carrying all of the utilities (including television and Internet services).  And don't forget about departure cleaning after each stay and fresh linens for each new guest.

Bottom Line

Converting your home into a short-term rental isn’t a decision you should make without doing your research. If I can help answer further questions about what it takes have a successful short-term rental, please reach out.  If you decide selling your house is a better alternative, let’s connect today.

Posted in For Sellers
May 19, 2023

Top 10 Reasons that Topsail Island is the Best Memorial Day Fun!

Topsail Island NC for Memorial Day

May comes around quickly each year and before you know it, bam!  it's Memorial Day. Don't let the Memorial Day holiday sneak up on you; start planning ahead! It's the perfect long weekend for a beach escape, and we have just the place for you: Topsail Island. Why? Here are ten of the very best reasons to make the trip to North Carolina's coastline and plan a Memorial Day weekend on Topsail Island.

1. Beautiful, uncrowded beaches

With 26-miles of sprawling coastline from end-to-end, Topsail Island's main attraction is the beach, and for very good reason. Pristine sand, sparkling blue-green waters and panoramic coastal views are just the beginning of the authentic beach experience to be found on Topsail. Let's not forget the blazing Carolina sunrises and sunsets, rich and diverse wildlife for your viewing pleasure, and plenty of fun in the sun to be had. What's not to love? It's easy to see why people quickly fall in love with our little piece of island paradise. We did and so will you!

2. Great selection of local restuarants.

Another big benefit of planning a beach vacation to Topsail Island is the great selection of restaurants available to you. Choose your location; North Topsail Beach, Surf City or Topsail Beach, and then think about the style of of food you're in the mood for.  Seafood, Southern BBQ, International, Steakhouse?. It's that easy! 

3. Laid-back island vibe

Ah yes, the quintessential beach experience always has a carefree, laid-back feel to it. Isn't that what we love about the beach? Take that up another level to the laid-back island vibe you'll find on our shores and in our communities, and you'll notice that your worries are washed away almost instantly. There's no hustle-bustle here; no rush, rush, rush. We're on island time, and we like it that way. Won't you join us?

4. Friendly, safe, welcoming beach community

Families love Topsail Island for all of the reasons mentioned above. Southern hospitality abounds and you'll find our local residents and businesses ready to welcome you to the island. Unlike other popular, more crowded East Coast beaches, you won't find the safety concerns here like you would there. Nope. One less worry, one less stress. Done!

5. Pet friendly

We love families and that includes pets! Topsail Island offers pet-friendly parks, a Surf City dog park, pet friendly restuarants and businesses, and more for you and your beloved companion to enjoy.  Just be sure to consider the heat, hot sand on tender paws, extra hydration, and don't let your fur baby drink the saltwater.

Topsail Island Beach Vacation

6. Family-friendly attractions

In addition to the beach, Topsail Island offers abundant family-friendly attraction for all ages. We highly recommend the Belle of Topsail, the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, Soundside Park, the Missiles and More Museum and the Surf City Pier. Feel free to read more about the family-friendly activities and attractions on Topsail Island in our Blog. It will help you with your trip planning.

7. Awesome fishing

Yes, yes, yes. Whether fishing from the pier, taking a chartered fishing excursion, or casting a line off right into the surf; fishing is big here on Topsail. Try your hand and see what you reel in! 

8. Tons of on-the-water fun

It wouldn't be a beach vacation without some on-the-water fun. Kayaking, surfing, wind surfing, scenic boat tours, jet ski rentals, and offshore fishing charters are some of the aquatic adventures available to you. 

9. Beat the summer rush.

Well, the summer rush really isn't so bad here, but planning a Memorial Day beach trip to Topsail is a wonderful time to enjoy our beaches nonetheless. The water's heating up, the crowds are minimal, and the Carolina sun is warm and inviting. The summer haze hasn't yet arrived so the vibrancy of colors is stunning this time of year. Come and see for yourself!

10. Close to the cities of Jacksonville and Wilmington

It is Memorial Day, so what better way to honor the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for us than to visit some of North Carolina's famous historic and military sites? Both Jacksonville and Wilmington are under and hour's drive from Topsail and are rich with military history and experiences. Both cities offer a large variety of shopping and restaurants from locally owned gems to nationally recognized choices.  Make it a day trip!

Well, what are you waiting for? Start your Topsail Island Memorial Day planning now. We've given you ten good reasons why you should, but there are plenty more. We'd love to see you. We'll even give you a glimpse into our island paradise.
April 21, 2023

All You Need for an Awesome Day of Surf Fishing

All You Need for an Awesome Day of Surf Fishing

From beginners to experts, surf fishing provides a day of fun for everyone paired with the anticipation of what you might reel in during your time on the shoreline. Topsail Island, North Carolina is known for its excellent and abundant fishing opportunities—surf fishing included. Have you wanted to try surf fishing but you're not quite sure how to get started? Well, we've got you covered. Check out these expert tips on surf fishing basics and other helpful resources to ensure you have a successful surf fishing adventure during your Topsail, NC beach vacation. It all starts with being on the beach as often as you can.  Read on to learn more!

1. Know the surf fishing basics.

We really love the quick, concise material covered in this video by takemefishing.org. It gives you a helpful overview of what you need to know before starting your surf fishing adventure on Topsail Island (or anywhere). 

Take a few minutes to watch this and get yourself familiar with what you need, when the best times to surf fish are, and what equipment you'll need to get started. 

This video gives you 8 surf fishing tips to get you ready for the day and help you know what to expect. Surf fishing is a great activity for the whole family, and we really hope you try it during your next Topsail beach vacation.

2. Make sure you have these surf fishing necessities.

In surf fishing there is minimal expense, no boat to drag around, easy access to good conditions, and plenty of fun and action. Every angler is different and may have specific preferences when embarking on a surf fishing endeavor, but there are some common surf fishing necessities that are generally used by anglers of all skill levels. Here's the short list. 

Saltwater Fishing License

Yes, you need an NC saltwater fishing license for surf fishing, so this is your first step. Once you have it, you're good to go! You can buy it locally at an outfitter like East Coast Sports, or you can purchase one online.

Surf Fishing Rod & Reel

Get started with just a few surf fishing rigs, some natural saltwater bait, and a surf rod and reel combo. You can use lighter gear and shorter rods for smaller species or heavier gear and a longer rod for larger species.

Bait & Tackle

Use natural baits like squid, shrimp, or mullet to start out with. They are effective and work well for several different species of fish. When it comes to surf fishing tackle, here are a few recommendations for you.


Best Surf Fishing Times

Saltwater tides and weather play a major role in determining the best times to surf fish. The optimal time to surf fish is when the tide is either rising or falling. During summer, try fishing in the early morning or late afternoon. 

Bait Bucket & Cooler

You want to keep your bait cool and your catches, too! Keep your baits out of the sun by placing them inside of a cooler or bait bucket. The beach sun can get really hot really fast, so don't let it ruin your bait or your catch. 

Surf Fishing Extras

Other helpful surf fishing items include a standard fishing kit, a cart to move everything in, rod holding spikes, and something to sit on. Sunscreen is a necessity, and polarized sunglasses will help you see what's in the water. 

3. Watch Topsail Island surf fishing tips.

If you would like some bonus surf fishing tips and tricks, as well as some beautiful Topsail Island scenery, this video shows you some typical catch you might reel in on any given day.

Sometimes just watching someone else out there doing it will be enough to inspire confidence that you can get out there, too! 

Don't forget that there are plenty of local experts you can chat with including the staff at Topsail bait and tackle shops, sports outfitters, and yes, the local anglers who are out there doing the same thing as you. 

Don't be afraid to ask questions, strike up a conversation, or just sit back and observe for a little while. 



Happy Surf Fishing!
Posted in Topsail Home Tips