Century 21 Action Topsail Island Real Estate News, Helpful Information, & Real Estate Market Trends

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!

March 10, 2023

Popular Reasons to Visit Popular Grove Plantation

The Most Popular Reasons to Visit Poplar Grove Plantation

Poplar Grove Plantation makes for a wonderful and historical day trip—and is only about a 30-minute drive from your Topsail rental. Southeastern North Carolina's last remaining plantation complexes are open to the public at this North Carolina historic site. Within the Gullah Geechee Corridor of the National Park Service, this former peanut and sweet potato plantation stands as a testament to the skills and labor of its 59 slaves. Tour the house, view the "From Civil War to Civil Rights" exhibit, watch craft demonstrations, visit farm animals, and discover the role of peanuts during your Poplar Grove Plantation experience. Here are few more of the most popular things to do while you're here. 

Highlights of Poplar Grove Plantation & Things To Do

The History

Poplar Grove was purchased by James Foy, Jr. in 1795. By 1818, the family had begun growing peanuts based upon the skills of their family slaves bequeathed through marriage and last wills and testaments. Today, the restored 1850's Manor House reflects the architectural and engineering skills of artisan slaves, from the brick foundation to the plaster of Paris ceiling medallions. Immerse yourself in the living history of 19th century life on the plantation and learn while having fun.

The Tours

Manor House tours occur throughout most of the year with days, times and availability dependent on the season. In addition to house tours, stable tours are offered during the Farmers Market season. Paranormal Ghost Tours happen on full moon and half moon nights from May through October. Candelight tours of the Manor House are also part of the December holiday season. Educational tours for school groups are available with opportunities for overnight experiences as well.

The Farmers Market

Explore this open-air market under the shade trees where local farmers provide fresh seasonal produce, meats and seafood, goat cheese, pickles, pastries and other baked goods, honey, eggs, peanut products along with a wide selection of unique arts and crafts including jewelry, scenic photography, birdhouses, fiber arts, pottery, beautiful baskets—plus plants, fresh cut flowers, NC wines, specialty foods and a whole lot more! Open Wednesdays from 8a.m. to 1p.m. from early April through the end of September.

The Stables

The Stables at Poplar Grove is home to a variety of farm animals reflective of the 19th century including sheep, goats, pigs, hens, roosters, ducks, turkeys, horses and ponies. The wool from sheep and fur from other animals, such as rabbits, was used to create fabrics for necessities like clothes and blankets. During April through September (during Farmers Market season) the grounds are open and free to the public each Wednesday. The Stables at Poplar Grove is also a foster site for neglected and abused equines. 

The Events & Festivals

Each season brings its own unique feel to Poplar Grove Plantation. With the Herb & Garden Fair in the spring, Summer Harvest Festival, October Paranormal Tours, and the Merry Little Christmas Festival in December, these are only a few of the many special events and festivals you can experience during the year. Visit the Poplar Grove Plantation event page for all of the annual activities and happenings, then plan your visit.

The Paranormal Activity

For four weekends in October, Poplar Grove presents an evening to perchance be visited by the spirits of Poplar Grove. Haunts, or haints, of all ages from 1850 through the 20th century continue to hover in and around the Manor House, Tenant House, graveyard and grounds. There are stories of Foy family household haints to share, including a murderous crime of passion. Discover who these phantoms are, and why they’re still here.  

The Abbey Nature Preserve

The Abbey Nature Preserve, owned and privately maintained by Foxneck LLC, is dedicated to the memory of Margaret Abbey Foy Moore. Though not affiliated with Poplar Grove Foundation, the trails were once a part of the “old farm road” leading down to the Intracoastal Waterway frequented by the Foy family and their tenant farmers. High and dry trails wind down toward a mill pond. A short walk takes you on a return trip up the sandy road parallel to Scotts Hill Baptist Church. A longer walk takes you across the dam to double back through the woods along the outflow stream to return along the sandy run. A wooden walkway across the pond connects with walking trails on both sides to complete a loop across the dam, through the woods, across the bridge, and through the woods once again to join the main loop.

Weddings, Receptions & More

Generations of couples have been married at this treasured family home. On the National Register of Historic Places, a wedding at one of the North Carolina’s oldest peanut plantations is an opportunity to create your vision upon a blank canvas,  whether you’re planning a rehearsal dinner, wedding and/or reception. With a stunning view of the Manor House and large oak trees, wedding ceremonies at Poplar Grove are sure to be an intimate occasion. Catering to couples who favor natural beauty, the grounds provide an amazing backdrop for your fall, winter, spring or summer wedding. Corporate events, parties, and other special gatherings can be held here too making a great venue for all occasions. Visit the Poplar Grove Plantation website for venue pricing, details and frequently asked questions.

Take a Quick Video Tour of Poplar Grove Plantation


You can learn more by about Poplar Grove Plantation and all it has to offer at or by visiting these related Facebook pages.




March 3, 2023

9 Dolphin Facts

9 Dolphin Facts That Will Fascinate You

Dolphins are some of the most majestic and most beautiful of the ocean's inhabitants. They are also quite amazing, not to mention pretty adorable. With 44 species of dolphin, 38 of which are oceanic (the rest are found in major rivers), it's no surprise that these aquatic mammals are an important part of the marine ecosystem. They're known for their friendly, happy nature, social tendencies and high intelligence. Here are 9 really fascinating dolphin facts that you may not know. Keep an eye out for these local residents during your next Topsail Area Visit!

1. Dolphins are very common on the North Carolina coast.

You may not realize that dolphins are fairly common off the North Carolina coast and can be seen swimming in pods, jumping out of the water, and frolicking with their friends along the Topsail beaches. Keep your eyes open for their tell-tale dorsal fins as they glide through the ocean waters. Go ahead and book a Topsail Island dolphin tour or sightseeing cruise while you're here!

2. Dolphins vs Porpoises: What's the difference?

Dolphins typically have a bulbous head and often a clearly-defined “beak,” or long nose that sticks out from their face. Porpoises, on the other hand, usually have a rounder face without the pronounced beak. If you can’t get a good look at the head, take a peek at the fin. Dolphins have curved dorsal fins, where porpoises have dorsal fins that are more triangular in shape. This is one of the quickest ways to tell them apart, especially if you spot one while out on the water. If you are able to see the entire animal, you can tell the two apart by their size and shape. Dolphins tend to have a sleeker, more streamlined body shape than porpoises. Dolphins are also often longer, averaging about 6 to 12 feet in length, where porpoises only reach a maximum 7 feet in length. If you get a really good look, examine its teeth. Dolphins’ teeth are cone-shaped, while porpoises’ teeth are spade-shaped. Although, if you’re close enough to see the specific shape of their teeth, you’re probably a little too close! If you’re still unsure about the difference between the two—the odds are probably in your favor that it's a dolphin since there are only 6 species of porpoises worldwide. 

3. Dolphins don't fully fall asleep. Ever.

Dolphins cannot fully fall asleep because they need to be conscious to breath. To solve this problem, they only rest one half of their brain at a time, altogether totaling about 8 hours of sleep a day. While sleeping, a dolphin must stay at the surface so its blowhole is not covered with water.

4. Dolphins can swim three different ways.

Dolphins can swim in any of three different ways, including resting at the surface with their blowholes above the water, resting on the floor of shallow water and rising to the surface occasionally, or swimming very slowly and occasionally surfacing to breathe. While dolphins can dive almost 1,000 feet deep, most dolphins do not spend much time diving very deep. The majority of dolphins live in fairly shallow water, and they spend the bulk of their time in waters less than 7 feet deep.

5. A dolphin's life expectancy depends on where it lives.

A dolphin's life span varies according to its environment and species. Although some bottlenose dolphins can reach 40 years of age, their average age is between 15 and 16 years. Forty is an old age for a dolphin—one making it to 40 is comparable to a human living to be 100. According to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, the oldest dolphin aged scientifically in the wild was 48 years old. The dolphin life expectancy in captivity appears similar, as the oldest dolphin in captivity was over 50.

6. Dolphins are the only mammal that give birth live tail first.

Dolphins give birth to a single baby; the baby is usually born tail first (unlike most mammals) to minimize the risk of drowning. The birth can take a couple of hours. On a somewhat related note, dolphins also have bellybuttons. Unlike humans, dolphins have smooth belly buttons so their bodies are streamlined. A dolphin’s belly button marks the spot where the umbilical cord connected him or her to the mother’s placenta inside the womb. When a dolphin gives birth, the umbilical cord connecting her and her baby breaks away and the baby is left with a belly button.

7. Dolphins see with sound.

Dolphins can see with sound, they use their tell-tale clicks which travel long distances and bounce off of objects. This allows them to know how far away the object is and the shape, density, movement and texture of it. Dolphin sonar is the best within nature and superior to bats sonar and man-made sonar.

8. Dolphins have a lot of teeth but they can't chew.

If you've ever watched a dolphin eat you'll notice that they seem to gulp down their food. That's because dolphins can't chew. Instead, their teeth are used to grip prey. Dolphins do not use their 100 teeth for eating, rather for catching the fish which they then just swallow whole. They actually don't have jaw muscles for chewing!

9. Dolphins give each other names.

It has been recognized by scientists that dolphins give themselves names. They develop their own individual whistles and even after the tone of the whistle is changed, the dolphins still recognized theirs and other dolphins' names. As mentioned earlier, dolphins are highly intelligent animals with sophisticated social and communication skills. 
Feb. 24, 2023

Famous Real Estate Quotes

The Most Famous Quotes About Real Estate

The Most Famous Quotes About Real Estate | Century 21 Action

Today we've rounded up some of the best real estate quotes and sayings from famous people to help you maintain a positive perspective on a big investment such as this. Take a moment to ponder these wise words, especially if you're considering buying or selling—or if you're already in the process of a real estate transaction. Remember, if you need help navigating the Topsail, North Carolina real estate market—Century 21 Action would be happy to be your Topsail Island realty experts. We know and love the area, and you will too! Get started today by reading a few of our favorite quotes and getting in the market mindset.
Real Estate Quotes | Century 21 Action

“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” 

-Mark Twain

'Tis true that land is a limited commodity. It won't always be there for purchase, so if you're considering buying your own piece of paradise on Topsail Island, then there's no time like the present. Many people have made wise investments on Topsail through property appreciation. As coastal property becomes increasingly scarce, prices go up. But that's only one way to do it. 

Real Estate Quotes | Century 21 Action

“I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make.” 

-John Paulson

Real estate is an investment in the future whether you buy land and build on it or you decide to purchase an already constructed condo, home or vacation rental. As with any large financial endeavor, it's best to thoroughly plan ahead and enlist the advice and guidance of professionals in the field. Proceed smartly and allow the professionals to work with you when you need them. 

Real Estate Quotes | Century 21 Action

Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait.” 

-Will Rogers

Real estate investments are more often that not long-term financial endeavors. There are many factors that influence an area's real estate market growth, or lack thereof, over time. It's worth your time to research the historic real estate trends and talk to those who know the current local real estate market best. A good place to start is with our previous post on Topsail Island real estate facts to explore the market trends of the local areas of North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail, NC. Our Topsail real estate professionals are valuable resources and a wealth of information, too. Put them to work for you.

Real Estate Quotes | Century 21 Action

“Find out where the people are going and buy the land before they get there.” 

-William Penn Adair

According to a current online article by Investopedia, Topsail Beach and the neighboring North Topsail Beach and Surf City beach areas are some of the best North Carolina beach towns to invest in. You've probably read, heard, or seen with your own eyes the increasing popularity of these beachside vacation destinations year after year. It just makes sense that if people are continuing to visit and vacation here, then investing in the local area might be a smart financial move. 

Real Estate Quotes | Century 21 Action

 “Owning a home is a keystone of wealth—both financial affluence and emotional security.” 

-Suze Orman

Let Century 21 Action help you feel good about your home purchase while also giving you the feeling of safety and security that comes along with a solid investment in your future. Owning a home is most certainly a major milestone in your life and we'd love to help you on your journey to home ownership. Contact our sales office today and we'll get you started on the right path. Century 21 Action Topsail realty agents are the local experts you need and want with you every step of the way.

Real Estate Quotes | Century 21 Action

“The best time to buy a home is always five years ago.” 

-Ray Brown

You know what they say: Hindsight is 20/20. It's so easy to look back in time and feel regret that you didn't act when it was a good time to buy, sell, build or invest. You can't go back in time, but you do have the present day to make good financial decisions for your future. Are you going to look back in the next 5 years and feel a similar regret? Weigh your financial factors and if you feel like you are in a good place to commit to a new real estate endeavor that will benefit you in the years to come, then maybe it's time to take the next step. 

Real Estate Quotes | Century 21 Action

“If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.” 

-Jim Rohn

Are you unhappy with your current location? Perhaps it's time to make a move. It's good to evaluate where you are and compare it to where you want to be. How's your quality of life? Your job? Are your family's needs being met? Could they be better met somewhere else? What would make your day-to-day life better? These are hard questions sometimes. If you find yourself feeling unhappy, discontented or not as satisfied as you want to be, then maybe you are ready to make a change. 

Real Estate Quotes | Century 21 Action

“When one door closes, buy another one and open it yourself.” 


Sometimes life forces changes upon us that we're not quite ready for, but in the long run they end up being catalysts toward bigger and better things. If you've had a door close in your life lately, you can choose to buy another one and see where it leads you. You don't have to feel alone in the process. We have plenty of new doors for you to open and explore—and we'll be by your side whenever you need or want us to be. Check out these Topsail, NC real estate listings and let us help you open some new doors today. We have the keys!
Posted in Topsail Home Tips
Feb. 17, 2023

Explore the Battleship North Carolina

How to Best Explore the Battleship North Carolina

How to Best Explore the Battleship North Carolina | Century 21 Action

The Battleship USS North Carolina in Wilmington, NC is an awesome adventure that's not far from Topsail Island. Majestically moored in downtown Wilmington, the Battleship North Carolina is under an hour's drive making it an ideal Topsail day trip that's well worth your time. The battleship played a huge part in our country's military history and was once considered the world's greatest sea weapon—later becoming one of the most highly decorated American battleships of World War II. The Battleship North Carolina is also ranked the #1 attraction in Wilmington by TripAdvisor. This family friendly, hands-on historical adventure is definitely one to put on your Topsail, NC bucket list. Here's what you need to know!


Here are a few of our favorite ways to make the most of your visit to the USS North Carolina. It's time to start planning your battleship adventure!


Visiting the battleship for yourself is the best way to explore it. Explore 9 levels of the ship, including the mess decks, berthing areas, engine room, bridge, Combat Information Center (CIC), and much more. Feel free to play with the guns, relax in the mess decks, and even take a nap in a berth. See who can spot the Battleship’s resident alligator, Charlie, from the bow first. Since the battleship is a memorial, it's open 365 days a year including holidays so any day is a good day to visit. Plan your visit here.


There’s always something happening at the Battleship North Carolina. They have behind the scenes tours, in-depth programs of the inner workings of the ship, reenactments and fireworks just to name a few. Consider planning your own special event. Yes, you can rent the ship and/or Battleship Park for weddings, birthday parties, receptions, corporate meetings or any occasion. It's a unique venue with fabulous views of downtown Wilmington. Check out the special events here.


The Battleship North Carolina is a self guided tour. Follow the arrows and enjoy climbing ladders to explore up to 9 levels. The ship is huge and not air conditioned, so be prepared to savor her as the sailors did. Visitors spend about 2 hours touring, on average, but many visitors stay longer. It's up to you how long you want to explore. The ship is yours for the day! Boost your learning to the next level by taking a guided tour. Friends of the Battleship provide public guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays (subject to guide availability). All tours begin at 9a.m. and there are several types of tours to choose from depending on your interests. Learn more about guided tours here.


The Battleship North Carolina now has their archives and collections online for you to explore. Whether you're a history buff, a homeschool parent, a teacher, a veteran or family of a veteran—there are plenty of resources for you to explore including archives, photographs, artifacts and more. New records are continually added to the database so you'll want to check back often. You can explore the online archives here. (The battleship does not keep official military records. The US National Archives and Records Administration maintains all official military records. Military veterans or next-of-kin of a deceased veteran may order a copy of the records here.)


Posted in Topsail Home Tips
Feb. 10, 2023

Parks and Playgrounds on Topsail Island

All the Best Parks and Playgrounds on Topsail Island

Topsail Island, North Carolina is known for its family-friendly beaches and kid-friendly atmosphere. Part of the reason for that is the number of playgrounds and parks on the 26-mile-long island that includes the towns of North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach. Here are all the best Topsail parks and playgrounds for you and your family to enjoy—including the newly renovated Soundside Park pirate ship playground. No matter which Topsail property you choose, you're always close to at least one of these local parks. They're all pet-friendly parks, too, as long as you have your dog leashed (the Surf City Bark Park allows unleashed dogs; you can read more about that below). 


Kenneth D. Batts Family Park & Playground

911 S Topsail Drive

Park Amenities:


  • Basketball Court
  • Boardwalk
  • Playground
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Public Parking 
  • Restrooms



Nelva R. Albury Recreation Area & Playground

101 Broadway Avenue

Park Amenities:


  • Playground
  • Public Parking



Soundside Park & NEW Pirate Ship Playground

517 Roland Avenue

Park Amenities:


  • Amphitheater
  • Fishing Pier 
  • NEW Pirate Playground
  • Picnic Shelters 
  • Public Boat Ramp
  • Public Parking
  • Restrooms



Surf City Community Center & Bark Park

201 Community Center Drive

Park Amenities:


  • Community Center
  • Disc Golf Course
  • Dog Park
  • Programs & Events
  • Playground





Town Center Park & Playground

624 S Anderson Blvd

Park Amenities:


  • Events Field
  • Game Court
  • Lawn Games
  • Parking
  • 2 Picnic Shelters
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Volleyball Court


Posted in Topsail Home Tips
Feb. 3, 2023

What you Need to Know about HOAs.

What You Need to Know About HOAs

What You Need to Know About HOAs | Century 21 Action

Whether you're looking at Topsail Island real estate or anywhere else in the country, you'll encounter HOAs in some communities. Homeowners association (HOA) fees serve to bring structure, cohesiveness and a standard to a neighborhood. By definition homeowners associations are formed by communities with single-family homes or multiple-unit buildings, such as condominiums. As the name implies, the HOA is comprised of, and run by, the community's residents. Membership in an HOA is usually a requirement to buy a home within the community. An HOA is typically established to make and enforce rules regarding the properties within the jurisdiction. While the HOA will at times spare the homeowner from some responsibilities, it can also come with some homeowner obligations. Before you buy a home that makes you part of an HOA, here’s what you need to know so you can ask yourself if it's the right fit for you and your family.


First things first: how much? You'll want to know right away what the HOA fees are and how much you're going to have to pay each month. The number and size of the development’s amenities affect rates. For example, a development that’s guarded by a gate, and has a clubhouse and golf club is likely to levy higher fees than one that offers minimal security and only a modest common area. Fees can differ even within a development, due to variations in square footage, location, and orientation, all of which can affect how much upkeep the property will require. Most multiple listing services (MLSs) include HOA fees in the property listing so be sure to look for that in the property description and confirm it with your agent. Just because it may not be listed doesn't mean there isn't one, so be sure to ask if that home or community has an HOA.


Look at what is included (and not included) that will affect your household finances. Will you have to pay for garbage pickup, for example? Are utilities included? Which ones? What about cable and/or internet service? Keep in mind you’ll pay for perks, such as recreational facilities, whether you use them or not. Find out the hours for amenities, such as pools and tennis courts, to determine if they’ll work with your schedule. If you’d think you'll want to share these facilities with friends or family, check the rules and fees that pertain to guest use. Line up the fees—and their inclusions and exclusions—against those of other developments in the area, especially those that are already on your shortlist.


An HOA may adopt one of several approaches to financial management. These choices especially affect how it funds unexpected expenses. Some associations prefer a large cash reserve on hand to meet maintenance, legal, or management obligations as they arise. Others have lower fees and rely on special assessments—funds levied outside of HOA fees­­­­­­­­—for repairs and maintenance. Here's how the assessment route works: When a major expense, such as replacing a roof or elevator, comes up—and the HOA’s reserves lack the funds to pay for it—the association may charge each homeowner a special assessment. These levies can run into thousands of dollars. 


Since the rules and regulations of any particular HOA may be unique, don’t rely on second-hand information or past experience at other developments to learn what an HOA’s rules and covenants are. And think hard about whether you’ll be able to live with them. If you can’t find the CC&Rs online, at the HOA’s website, ask your real estate agent to acquire them for you or obtain them through contacting the HOA directly. You could find you’re restricted in more ways than you might assume. In addition to governing door color and the like, CC&Rs may limit how tall your grass can grow, whether you can plant or remove trees, which types of vehicles you can park on the street or in your driveway (bans on parking RVs are not uncommon, for example), how high fences can be, and whether you can rent out your property—just to name a few.


When contemplating a property purchase in a planned development, you'll of course factor the impact of its HOA dues into your overall finances. So, too, will prospective mortgage lenders. As they do with property taxes (which, by the way, are not included in HOA fees at most developments), banks will consider your monthly HOA fees when deciding how large a mortgage you’ll be able to afford. As a result, you may wrestle with vexing tradeoffs as you decide among properties. Higher HOA fees could leave you with a smaller approved amount to spend on your house compared with choosing an alternative property with low or no fees.


Living in a planned development—and being governed in part by the rules of an HOA—can be a mixed blessing. It offers the prospect of exchanging some control over your home for the reduced responsibilities of maintaining it, and for the benefit of enjoying shared amenities and security. It can, however, also trade the diverse look of a typical neighborhood for a more uniform appearance, albeit one with a lower chance of a neighbor's decorating taste or sloppy maintenance habits becoming a problem for you. It's always best to enlist the help of a local real estate agent who is knowledgeable about the area's HOAs and how they compare. 

If you're looking at Topsail Island real estate, Century 21 Action's professional agents are here to help and would be happy to give you more information on our local Topsail communities' HOAs.
Feb. 2, 2023

Questions to Ask when Moving

Moving, whether across town or out of state, can be stressful and overwhelming. Knowing some important questions to ask can help to alleviate your concerns and stress level as you deal with all of the details involved in moving.

Before you begin looking for a moving company make sure you know what you are looking for based on your needs and wants for a successful move. Do you already know the dates of your move and can your dates be flexible or are they set in stone? Do you need the movers to pack for you or is this something you prefer and have the time to do yourself. What items would you prefer to move yourself and what is your plan for doing so. Do you need to find childcare for the time that the movers will be in your house so you can assist with answering questions and providing directions. These are just a few of the questions you may need the answers to before you begin calling different moving companies.

When picking a moving company make sure you research and interview several companies to help ensure you have found a moving company that fits your needs and wants.

Some of the important questions to ask begin with knowing if your move is an intrastate move or an interstate move. Some moving companies only provide local service, while others specialize in long distance, interstate moves.

Now onto some of the questions you want to ask as you research and decide what moving company is best suited to meet your needs.

1.       Does the company have a registration number. For companies that only provide service within one state, they may not have a registration number. A moving company’s identification numbers are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and information can be found at their website  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (

2.       It is always good to ask the company to provide an estimated cost for the move and inquire about any additional fees that you may be required to pay and what the fees cover.

3.       Does the moving company have movers on staff or do they use subcontractors.

4.       Does the moving company offer insurance? You can also check with your current insurance company that provides your home or car insurance to see if moving is included in your current plan or can be added for a specific time to ensure your prized possessions are insured during your move.

5.       Does the moving company provide packing or storage services? If you are strapped for time or just don’t want to deal with packing, will the moving company provide this service. Storage service may be needed if you are moving to a home that will not be ready for several days after you arrive in town or other delays, planned or unplanned.

6.       How does the company handle complaints and claims should an issue arise. No one wants an unplanned event while moving, but it is good to know up front, just in case the unwanted happens.

7.       Can the company provide referrals and recommendations for you to review.

Whether you are moving across town or across the country, these questions are a good starting point in helping you find a moving company that meets your needs.  We are also available to provide some local recommendations for movers; we tend to see a lot of them.  Let us know how we can help and; Welcome Home.

Jan. 27, 2023

10 of the Best Benefits of Retiring to the Topsail Area

10 of the Best Benefits of Retiring to Topsail, NC

10 of the Best Benefits of Retiring to Topsail, NC

Have you ever wondered if retiring to Topsail Island, North Carolina might be the place for you? You're not alone. There are plenty of reasons people choose to relocate here, but today we're focusing on it from a retirement perspective. Here are 10 of the best benefits of retiring to this 26-mile barrier island off the NC coast. It's certainly not a comprehensive list, so we'd love to know what you would add to it. Let us in know in the comment section below!

1. Lower Than Average Cost of Living

North Carolina has a lower cost of living than the national average. Housing, utilities, and transportation costs all fall below the national average while health care is one of the few categories that comes in slightly above the national average. Overall, the cost of living in North Carolina ranks below the national average anywhere from 1 to 10 points, depending on the category. You can view the chart that compares North Carolina's average cost of living with the national average here.

2. Great Tax Breaks for Seniors

In North Carolina, there is no tax on Social Security Income, income taxes have been lowered with a flat rate (and that rate has been decreasing), there is no State Estate Tax, and a there is a low corporate income tax. Retiring in North Carolina brings tax benefits, which means that the state is considered pro-business, with a great outlook on jobs for seniors looking to start their own business or begin a second career. (Source)

3. Barrier Island Beauty

What's not to love about living on a barrier island where residents are perfectly nestled in between the ocean and the sound—each with a beauty all its own? Barrier islands contain some of the most diverse and unique coastal life from the waters to the shorelines and everything in between. Think of how many ways you can explore and how much you can learn about the coastal ecosystems. Conveniently located near to the mainland of North Carolina which also contain the bigger urban areas including Wilmington and Jacksonville, NC—you're always close to city life and off-island opportunities and experiences.

4. Laidback Lifestyle

Island life and beach living combine into one beautiful way of life here. There's not too much hustle and bustle in day-to-day life, except for the peak of the summer beach vacation season. Things do get a little busier, traffic gets a little heavier, and the island teems with visitors and vacationers traveling to and fro over the bridges and onto this little piece of paradise that many are lucky enough to call home all year long. But most of the year you'll find that Topsail Island is a little more laidback than most places and certainly when compared to the bigger, busier beach destinations on the East Coast. It's very different here!

5. Southern Hospitality

You are in the south now, so you can expect a good dose of southern hospitality on the island and off. Whether it's with the interactions with your neighbors, in your frequenting of the local businesses, or just with passersby on the beach, you'll find warm smiles and friendly faces that make your days better. You'll feel a sense of belonging and community pretty quickly making you feel right at home. You might want to get used to saying "y'all" in the meantime. Oh and one more thing, remember it's pronounced "Topsul" not "Topsail".


6. Abundance of Activities & Things To Do for All Ages

There is so much to do here no matter what your age or interests, are so whether it's just you and your loved one or your entire family is coming to visit, you will find plenty of things to do for everyone to enjoy. From on-the-water activities and outdoor adventures to beachcombing and sunbathing, to sports fishing, pier fishing and surf fishing—and oh so much more—there are a lot of fun ways to fill your days. 

7. Family Friendly

Topsail Island is known for its family-friendly beaches, atmosphere and attitude. There is a focus on families since they are the foundation of our neighborhoods and communities all along the island. Get to know your neighbors and the community at large better and you'll see what we mean. Your family will definitely want to come and visit you when you make the move to Topsail Island, so no worries there!

8. Strong Community

If there's one thing you should know about our community, it's that we're Topsail Strong. This rings true over the years as we meet challenges and accomplish goals that make Topsail Island, its communities, and its people better than ever. There is a tight-knit community that is woven together through its experiences over time and in all seasons. You'll recognize the sense of pride and protectiveness of this place that many call home, and why many are loyal to maintaining and protecting all it has to offer. You can be part of that by supporting a local cause, volunteering in the community, or just by being a good neighbor and conscientious resident. 

9. Four Seasons

North Carolina is making headlines as an up-and-coming place to retire, even earning some retirees moving here the nickname “halfbacks” as retirees from Florida move halfway back home to the mid-Atlantic and mid-South states. Why? When it comes to weather, North Carolina has the best of both worlds. The state has a moderate climate while still offering four distinct seasons. Summers on the beaches, comfortable winters, breathtaking views in the fall, and beautiful blooms in the spring—Topsail, North Carolina has it all. The moderate temperatures mean that the outdoors can be enjoyed year-round, keeping retirees active and engaged. 

10. Best Little Beach Town in the USA

Last but certainly not least, you shouldn't just believe what we say. Discover it for yourself! You can also read what others have to say about Topsail Island and its beach communities that include North Topsail Beach, Surf City, and Topsail Beach. This collective area of Topsail Island was recently named as the Best Little Beach Town in the country. Why? For many of the above-mentioned reasons and more. Check out this news article to read more about it. 
Jan. 20, 2023

7 Secrets of the Most Successful Vacation Rentals

7 Secrets of the Most Successful Vacation Rentals

7 Secrets of the Most Successful Vacation Rentals

If you are the owner of Topsail, NC real estate, or hope to be soon, and have decided that your beach house would make a great vacation rental, then this blog post is definitely for you. Today we're talking about what makes a vacation rental rise above the rest in a very competitive market. Here are some of the secrets of successful vacation rentals and what you can do to level up your Topsail beach house to its fullest rental potential. Century 21 Action Topsail Real Estate would be honored to help you find the perfect Vacation Rental Property.  Contact us today! 

1. A Business Not a Hobby

Successful vacation rental owners think of their rental as a business endeavor and not just a hobby. That translates to having a marketing plan, being professional and consistent, meeting financial goals, and having a reliable booking system in place. If that feels like a lot for you to manage on your own, that's where an experienced local property management company can step in and help lighten the load until you are ready to take on the day to day responsibilities yourself.  It's best to think about your rental as it's own little resort and make decisions from that perspective.  If you were the General Manager of a Resort, how would you manage it?  If you the guest of the Resort, what are your expectations?

2. Responsive Communication

Communicating with your vacation rental clients clearly and in a timely manner is crucial to managing a successful rental. In this technological age, we are a society that has grown accustomed to instant gratification. That means potential guests expect vacation rental inquiries and bookings to be expedient. Otherwise, they'll quickly move on to the next vacation rental site or booking. Responsive communication in all areas of the vacation rental process—from start to finish—is vital.  Developing an automated system for delivering information to your guests can be a real time saver and demonstrate outstanding service (check-in/out information, trash days, things to do, property instructions, etc.)

3. Guests Feel Like They Matter

Guest satisfaction is a huge factor in the success of your vacation rental. Repeat business and positive reviews are going to make your rental stand out among the vacation rental crowd of competition. Valuing your guests and understanding their needs and wants is important, as is being responsive when things may not go as smoothly as you'd like. Vacation rental guests are part of your rental's future legacy, so treat them as such.  Guests are also a great source of suggestions for enhancements to your property.

4. Well-Marketed & Well-Managed

Making your vacation rental visible to your potential guests is the first step in attracting bookings, so that's why it is really important that you have a professional marketing system in place. A well-marketed vacation rental is going to have the advantage in a very competitive market. A well-managed vacation rental should already include this—so if your property management company doesn't, it's time to make a change.  Other marketing channels include Airbnb, VRBO,, etc.

5. Most Wanted Vacation Rental Amenities

Amenities matter! Part of the draw of one vacation rental over another is the amenities that are offered. Vacation rental amenities are part of what your guests are searching for when selecting a rental that best suits their needs and wants. You definitely want to make sure that your amenities are highlighted in your vacation rental listing with photographs or video and clearly noted. Pools, fireplaces, outdoor decks and patios, spa tubs, outdoor showers, and pet-friendly accommodations are some of the many popular amenities that are highly sought after.  Allowing Pets, even with a pet fee, can result in 5-8 extra bookings per year.

6. Luxuries of a Vacation Plus the Comforts of Home

One of the driving reasons that travelers opt for a vacation rental over a hotel/motel stay is for the added comforts of home. Let's face it, it's really nice to have a vacation rental kitchen for your convenience, more room and privacy for all the members of your family, and a stay that is more customized and personalized to what you really want on a vacation. It's those little touches that mean a lot, so making your vacation rental feel both luxurious and like home is the perfect balance that will have your guests wanting to come back year after year.  Make sure the kitchen is well stocked to provide that comfort of home, and with enough utensils, plates, glasses, etc. for at least 1.5 times the maximum occupancy.

7. Leave a Lasting (Good) Impression

Your goal is to have your vacation rental guests feeling like they don't want to leave. Ever. In the very least, you want them coming back for more as a repeat renter—and booking their next year's vacation in your rental right away. It's also nice when their family and friends ask for rental recommendations that they immediately think of your vacation rental and its amenities. That means that the big things and the little things matter, so be sure that you're constantly looking at your rental from a guest's perspective and making necessary changes and improvements along the way to ensure that your rental stays competitive—and memorable.  Make replacements and repairs as quickly as possible.  Every year be sure to scope out your competition and make sure your property shines above most of them
These are just a few tips to make sure your vacation rental is one of the most successful.  Call the author for a deeper conversation about vacation rental advice.
Scott Erickson, author, is the Owner/Broker of Century 21 Action, Inc. and Founder of Sweet Dreams Linens and Rentals, Inc.  He recently sold the Rental Division of Century 21 Action and also Sweet Dreams Linens and Rentals in a separate sale.  In these capacities, he has helped 100,000's of guests vacation on Topsail Island in 1000's of vacation homes he either managed or serviced.  Scott is considered a leading expert nationally with vacation rental property success and is a seminar speaker, writer, and consultant for the vacation rental industry.
Jan. 13, 2023

How to Decide if Renting or Buying is Best for You!

How to Decide if Renting or Buying a Home is Best for You

How to Decide if Renting or Buying a Home is Best for You | Century 21 Topsail

To rent or to buy a home? That is the question. There are a lot of factors in play when it comes time to make this decision, but the biggest driving factor is whether or not you can afford to buy a house. So let's find out if you are. Read on and ask yourself these questions to see if it's the right time in your life to buy, or if renting is really the best option for you right now. 



How much debt do you have?

Ideally, you don't want to owe on any consumer debt or be paying off a student loan. If you do, it's prudent to focus on paying those things off first and then you can turn your financial attention to buying a home. Home ownership comes with expenses beyond just the purchase of the house. You want to be financially ready to handle them without overextending your means.


Do you have an emergency fund?

Having an emergency fund of 3-6 months of your expenses saved in advance is optimal. If you lost your job today, could you pay your current bills? What if a mortgage payment was added to that? That's your goal here. Some experts recommend that you get a mortgage payment that’s no more than 25% of your take-home pay. With a mortgage you can afford, you’ll have less stress and more room in your budget. 


Do you have enough cash for a down payment?

A 20% down payment when buying a house is ideal, and you can avoid having to pay PMI insurance if you put that percentage down. Saving at least 10% down is the recommended minimum for the average loan customer, though there are some other options depending on your circumstances. 




How long have you worked there?

If you've started a brand new job, you want to give yourself a few months to settle in and make sure it's the right fit for you before committing to any big financial commitments, such as buying a house.


Do you expect to have longevity and stability?

You also want to feel secure and settled in your current position with your current company. Sure things can change, but overall do you see yourself staying employed there in the long run? Do your coworkers have longevity with the company or is there a high turnover rate? It helps to know the answers to these questions before making any big financial decisions.


Do you make enough in your current position?

As mentioned earlier, it's best to spend conservatively. If you do decide to go with a mortgage, make sure the payments are comfortably within your spending range. It's recommend that you keep your payments to no more than 25% of your take-home pay on a 15-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage (to avoid paying on interest). 





Are you planning on staying in the location for at least 3 years?

Beyond the financial commitments of buying a home, you're also making a commitment to staying in one area for an extended period of time. If you're not in love with where you're living and working right now, then you probably wouldn't want to purchase a home there. Renting is a great option that gives you flexibility until you know where you want to be long term.


Are you willing and able to commit to one house and one place?

Piggybacking on the question above, you want to make sure you are ready to commit to living in one place for an extended period of time. With renting, you have the freedom to move as you please. If you're not happy where you are, it is a fairly simply process to end your lease and move into another place. With a house? Not so much.




Are you able to manage the upkeep that a home requires?

With renting, you call the landlord when maintenance problems arise. With home ownership, you either fix it yourself or you pay someone to fix it. Then there's the routine maintenance that a home requires just to keep it ship-shape such as mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges that will be your responsibility. 


Have you considered the extra costs including taxes, insurance, and homeowner association fees?

The financial aspects of home ownership don't end when you make the downpayment and commit to a mortgage payment each month. There are extra fees that you'll be paying beyond just those basics. Closing costs, taxes, insurance and homeowner association fees among them. Plus you're likely to have unexpected surprise costs along the way. It's really important to know as much of this information as you can before you buy, so you are prepared and ready.