The Bluewater Real Estate Blog covers everything you need to know for buying or selling your home or property on the Crystal Coast. We’ll also share helpful home improvement tips, local events and so much more and you’ll get it all straight from the locals at Bluewater Real Estate who live and play here along the coast.

We’re covering Emerald Isle to Beaufort and everything in between to ensure you make the most out of the time you spend with us right here in coastal North Carolina. Can’t find what you’re looking for? No worries, just reach out to our Guest Relations team by phone or send us a message on social media. We’re always happy to help!

parks we love, nc coastal parks, family-friendly parks on the crystal coast

Spotlight on our Favorite Parks Along The Crystal Coast

Spotlight on our Favorite Parks Along The Crystal Coast

Today, we’re sharing our favorite parks on the Crystal Coast.

We all know that location plays a major part in your search for the perfect home. You might think the closer you are to where you work, go to the gym, or buy your groceries would be the best option, but something else to consider is how close you are to your local parks and recreation centers. You might want to focus on things you and your family will want to use for many years to come. Parks are not only a great place to meet new neighbors, but they can also increase property value in the long run.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Of all the favorite parks, this one is THE most favorite for many.

There may not be any swings or playgrounds at arguably the most famous park along our coast, but there is plenty of thrills for those who dare climb to the top of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. The Island Express Ferry Service has boats departing from Harkers Island and Beaufort that you can take to reach the destination. When you reach the island, you can pay the per person fee to venture to the top and take in the incredible views from atop the 12 story lighthouse. There are over 200 narrow steps that lead you to the light at the top of the tunnel, and some rules that you must follow in order to be allowed entrance to climb.

Even if you’re not planning on climbing the lighthouse, be sure to stop in the old lightkeeper’s house! You can learn all about how the operation was handled before electricity was available on the island. Try to pick up the oil can and imagine lugging it up those steps a few times a day!

Senator Jean Preston Playground

Photo of the Playground Equipment is Courtesy of Playworld, the designers and builders of the park.

Tucked away in the far corner of the Emerald Isle Boat Ramp Parking Lot, sits a beautiful playground designed for all kids to enjoy. It’s the newest park to make our Favorite Parks list!

The park is named after late Senator Jean Preston, an EI local, former teacher, and NC General Assembly Member. A majority of the playground equipment is designed for the accessibility of children of all abilities. This is definitely a must-stop park for families with kids who like to roam and explore, as there are tons of different activities and places to explore.

The safety-surfacing allows people of all ages to walk with ease and doesn’t leave a mess behind to find in shoes and socks later. After playtime, you can walk down to the end of the pedestrian dock along the boat ramp canal for a picnic with a perfect backdrop for a family photo opportunity. Throughout the summer, the town of Atlantic Beach hosts weekly concerts and movie nights- so be sure to check the schedule and plan ahead!

Atlantic Beach Town Park

Make sure to stop for a family photo at the Custom-Painted hole in the wall mural, created by our very own Stephanie Ross

The Atlantic Beach Town Park has something for everyone in the family. Amenities at the park include an 18 hole mini-golf course, a concession stand, splash pad, playground, basketball court, and skate park. A trip here can be a great way to end or begin any beach day.

The park is located right across from the Atlantic Station Shopping Center, where there’s a Move Theater, Lazer Tag Arena, Bookstore, and Toy Store, so if a sporadic summertime thunderstorm pops up, there are a few options to hunker down close by.

If your family is up for some wooded adventure, the Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail can be found on the Eastern edge of the shopping center parking lot, across from Bojangles. Mini Golf and Concessions do cost money, so save up the change in those piggy banks and cash in on some fun in the sun!

Shevans Park

Photos of Shevans Park courtesy of

Located just a few blocks away from all the excitement at the Morehead City Waterfront, stands a few unique family gathering places at Shevans Park. Four full-size Tennis Courts are available for those looking to volley, and a large wooden castle-themed playground is the main attraction for children. There’s also a covered gazebo area with restrooms.

The unique design of the playground area is captivating for kids used to the typical plastic/metal structures. Just make sure to watch out for splinters! Two of the tennis courts are lighted, for those looking to volley after dark to avoid the heat of the summer. Picnic Shelters can be rented out for Birthday Parties or special events, for just $25 and there are two charcoal grills on-site for easy cookouts!

Reservations are required for groups wishing to reserve the playground and picnic shelter. Picnic shelters are available for birthday parties, and events. The picnic shelter rental fee is $25. Please contact Morehead City Parks at Recreation staff at 252-726-5083, ext. 1, or the Recreation Center (1600 Fisher Street) to complete the rental application and provide rental payment.
A young couple diligently evaluates real estate options while creating their dream house wish list.

Creating Your Dream House Wish List

A young couple diligently evaluates real estate options while creating their dream house wish list.

Creating Your Dream House Wish List

So you’ve just gotten pre-approval and have finalized your budget. Congratulations! Now it’s time to find a new place to live! If you’re trying to narrow down your search for the ultimate dream house, it’s crucial to specify which amenities you can’t live without and those you can. Often we hear people make broad statements when it comes to finding new digs, but buying a house is far more significant than deciding what to eat for dinner on a Friday night. Here, we’ll consider a few things when creating a wish list.

Be Specific, Realistic, and Open-Minded

Before scheduling walk-throughs and realtor meetings, you’ll want to dig into the nitty-gritty. Defining characteristics of a dream house are different depending on who is buying, so there is a wide range of questions. What constitutes a large home? What’s the oldest house you’re willing to call home? Rural, suburban, or urban location? The possible inquiries are seemingly endless. Still, it’s critical to answer these questions before making such a life-changing commitment. 

Creating your dream house wish list should be a dynamic process that helps you learn about yourself. Keep an open mind, be realistic, and try not to think in generalizations. Your wants and needs will likely evolve as you know more about the available options.

Assess Your Life | Today and Beyond

Whether you can easily envision the perfect abode or don’t know where to begin, the first things to think about after your budget are basic needs and deal-breakers. Consider where you are in the game of life today and where you see yourself in 20 to 30 years. For example, some homebuyers will be expanding their families; others may be anticipating an empty nest. Here are a few things to get you started.

  • Present and future family size
  • Pets or no pets
  • Accessibility
  • Automobiles and other transportation

A bowl of fruit and two flower vases rest upon a welcoming kitchen table.

Architecture and Design

Taking a glance into your future is integral to deciding what kind of house you want. So after peering into the long-term outlook of your family and lifestyle needs, it’s time to get creative! These questions will help you put pen to paper.

  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • What’s the ideal age of your home?
  • Will you need a guest room?
  • How much outdoor space do you want?
  • What kind of floors?
  • Is your dream house eco-friendly?

Where to Live

The community you live in is an extension of your dream house. And unlike your potential new home, making changes to your neighborhood or city can take decades or generations. It’s easy to become enthralled with the features of your dwelling, but you’ll also want to take your location into account. Property taxes or homeowner association fees are also affected by where you live.

Take Notes While Touring Prospective Homes

Now that you have a workable dream house wish list, bring it to every showing. You’ll also want to take notes to compare and contrast all of your options. Once you determine what you’re looking for in your next home, find a dependable and trustworthy partner like Bluewater to assist with the final leg of your journey. Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation home or a long-term living arrangement, the Crystal Coast, North Carolina, real estate market is extensive and intriguing. Thankfully, our agents know the region inside and out and will go above and beyond to help you search. For more information about our beloved coastal communities, please take a look at our Crystal Coast Relocation Guide today!

What are you looking for in a dream house? Let us know in the comments below!

A top-down view of two women taking notes and doing research while using several real estate acronyms.

15 Real Estate Acronyms Every Homebuyer Should Know

A top-down view of two women taking notes and doing research while using several real estate acronyms.

15 Real Estate Acronyms Every Homebuyer Should Know

Buying a home for the first time presents many challenges. The whole process can seem confusing and daunting, especially when you hear real estate acronyms like FSBO, PITI,  and APR. It can be impossible to understand all the acronyms your agent throws at you if you don’t do your research beforehand. Luckily, we are here to help you start your research with 15 helpful real estate acronyms every homebuyer should know. 

15 Helpful Real Estate Acronyms

1. MLS: Multiple Listing Service – The Multiple Listing Service is a database used by real estate agents and brokers to list and discover properties in the local area. 

2. HOA: Homeowners Association – It is common for condos and townhomes to be part of a homeowners association with set rules, regulations, and HOA fees. These fees are used to contribute to the basic maintenance of the community.

3. CCR: Conditions, Covenants, Restrictions – The rules for HOA properties are known as conditions, covenants, and restrictions. 

4. ABR: Accredited Buyer Representative – An accredited buyer representative is a specialized education for real estate agents awarded by the National Association of Realtors.

5. APR: Annual Percentage Rate – An essential aspect of the home buying process is deciding which loan is right for you. APR offers fixed interest rates throughout the life of a loan.

6. ARM: Adjustable-Rate Mortgage – Unlike APR, the adjustable-rate mortgage is a loan where the interest rate fluctuates over the life of the loan.

7. PITI: Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance – The principal, interest, taxes, and insurance make up the majority of loan payments. These elements are what you will pay to your lender each month.

8. FSBO: For Sale by Owner – When a property has the real estate acronym FSBO, it means For Sale by Owner.  Need help with an FSBO? Our agents often assist buyers with negotiating and the paperwork with home sellers. 

9. REO: Real Estate Owned – Real estate-owned properties are owned by lenders instead of homeowners, also referred to as foreclosure. These properties are usually offered at a discount, but keep in mind that they are sold “as is” and can present unique challenges.

10. LE: Loan Estimate – After you complete a mortgage application, you will receive a loan estimate that includes the estimated interest rate, how much you will pay monthly, and closing costs. Your LE is an essential part of choosing the right mortgage lender.

11. LTV: Loan to Value – The loan to value ratio is the amount of a loan divided by the home’s value. Lenders use LTV to calculate the mortgage they will offer to a borrower.

12. FHA: Federal Housing Administration – The Federal Housing Administration offers loans for homebuyers with a smaller down payment for buyers with lower credit scores. 

13. PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance – If a down payment is less than 20%, lenders may ask borrowers to apply for private mortgage insurance. PMI will require a fee to protect the lender from a defaulted loan.

14. CMA: Comparative Market Analysis – A comparative market analysis is a tool used to evaluate the value of a home based on other properties that have sold in the nearby area.

15. FMV: Fair Market Value – Fair market value is the price a property may sell for in an open market.

An inviting front porch with blue decking and white rails.

Are you ready to start your search for the perfect home on the Crystal Coast? Contact one of our Bluewater Real Estate agents, and we’ll help you navigate the nuances of the coastal North Carolina market.

Need more real estate tips? Read How to Buy a House in a Seller’s Market and 5 Major Mistakes Buyers Buyers Make in a Seller’s Market.

Empty Bowls Fundraiser

19th Annual Empty Bowls Event

Empty Bowls Fundraiser

19th Annual Empty Bowls Event

We are excited to be a part of the 19th annual Empty Bowls event at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City, NC. We look forward to this community fundraiser year after year as it aids our local non-profits Hope Mission and Martha’s Mission Cupboard, to fight hunger, promote rehabilitation from drug addiction, and offer supportive and safe housing assistance to those in need.


19th Annual Empty Bowls Event

This year’s contributions will benefit the mission’s men’s and women’s homeless shelters, as well as the expansion of the Meals on Wheels program. Our local craftsman, high school students, and volunteers inspire us by creating such beautiful handcrafted bowls. Visitors who purchased a ticket were given a bowl of their choice and treated to lunch. Carteret Community College culinary students prepared delectable soup, bread, dessert, and a drink for everyone to enjoy.

We look forward to participating again next year and hope to see you there as well!

19th Annual Empty Bowls Event


19th Annual Empty Bowls Event

Giving Back

To learn more about how we serve in our community please take a look at the Community Outreach articles on our blog.


Photo of houses on the Crystal Coast with the text overlay: warning! 5 major mistakes buyers make in a seller's marker

Warning! 5 Major Mistakes Buyers Make In A Seller’s Market

Photo of houses on the Crystal Coast with the text overlay: warning! 5 major mistakes buyers make in a seller's marker

Warning! 5 Major Mistakes Buyers Make In A Seller’s Market

In our last blog post, we covered How to Buy a House in a Seller’s Market. We’re continuing this series with more helpful information for potential home buyers. Today, we will be sharing the major mistakes buyers make in a seller’s market and how to avoid them. We are here to help you navigate the Crystal Coast market and prepare you for what to expect. Here are five things to avoid when you’re buying in a seller’s market. 

1. Choosing an Inexperienced Real Estate Agent

Choosing the right real estate agent is imperative when buying a home in a seller’s market. Experienced agents know the ins and outs of the local market and help you save time and money. With nearly four decades of experience, Bluewater has been a top company on the Crystal Coast for the last 35 years. Choose a Bluewater real estate agent before you start the search for your coastal home.

2. Not Being Pre-Approved for a Loan

Not being pre-approved for a mortgage loan is one of the most common mistakes buyers make in a seller’s market. A pre-approval letter determines how much you can borrow after submitting your financial information like income and credit. Getting approved ahead of time is the best way to show the seller that you are serious and ready to buy now. 

3. Not Making your Best Offer First

Typically you can submit an offer below the asking price and negotiate with the buyer, but a seller’s market works a bit differently. The shortage of inventory in this market means that buyers must act fast and put their best offer first. An offer that is too low may not even be considered, and if you wait too long to make an offer, the house may already be off the market.

4. Being Unprepared or Unavailable

When we say homes go fast in a seller’s market, we mean it. It’s not unheard of for people to make offers on a home before they even see it in person. So, if your real estate agent cannot reach you when a home comes up, it may be gone by the time you reach out. The main takeaway is to be ready and prepared to make an offer fast.

5. Unprepared for Negotiations or Bidding Wars

Odds are your offer will be rejected at least once during the home buying process. You may even enter a bidding war, which can cause you to pay over your max budget if you are unprepared. The best way to stay within your budget is to search for homes below your price range. This creates some leeway in case negotiations take place after your initial offer. During negotiations with the seller, your real estate agent will be your best asset.

Photo of sunset by crystal coast homes on the beach

Navigate the Seller’s Market with Bluewater

These common mistakes buyers make in a seller’s market are easily avoided with the help of a trusted real estate agent. Our Bluewater real estate agents are on call to answer questions and help guide residents, and newcomers alike, through the local real estate market. Contact us today and let us help you get started finding the perfect home on the Crystal Coast.

How to buy a house in a seller's market

How to Buy a House in a Seller’s Market with Bluewater Real Estate

How to buy a house in a seller's market

How to Buy a House in a Seller’s Market with Bluewater Real Estate

In recent years, there has been an upsurge in demand for residences. Long-term renters are realizing the benefit in purchasing, and affluent buyers are dominating the market on the North Carolina coast. Carteret County, Craven County, and Onslow County markets have sold more homes year over year since COVID.  A seller’s market may be tough to navigate and presents distinct hurdles to the home-buying process.

That’s why our Bluewater Real Estate agents are here to help you every step of the way. With 35 years of experience on the Crystal Coast, we are experts when it comes to finding the perfect home. We will assist in the negotiating process so that you can save money on your investment even in this challenging market. If you want to learn more about how to buy a house in a seller’s market, you’ve come to the right place!

1. Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is one of the first steps in the home buying process. To begin, you will need to provide documentation of your assets and income to a mortgage lender. Once you are accepted, the pre-approval letter will help your offer stand out in a competitive market. This also makes the negotiation process easier for your real estate agent.

2.  Make Your Best Offer First

A seller’s market causes homes to sell very quickly, meaning that it’s a good idea to make your best offer first. We recommend offering above the asking price if you’re serious about buying. Consider a clean offer free of seller concessions like closing costs to make your proposal more enticing to the buyer.

3. Due Diligence and Earnest Money

Due diligence and earnest money deposits are an essential part of the home buying process. Due diligence is a buyer’s good faith non-refundable payment to the seller in order to take the home off the market while the buyer does inspections and acquires a loan. Earnest money is also paid and nonrefundable if the buyer backs out after the due diligence period. Ask our agents more about this process and the strategy needed to get the winning offer in this competitive market.

4. Pay with Cash

Paying with cash can be a smart move for purchasers if you have the financial means. Paying with cash can benefit both parties since you won’t worry about mortgage interest and fees. This also keeps the process between the seller and buyer without needing a third party.

5. Increase Loan Down Payment

For many of us, it is not possible to pay with cash, but that doesn’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage when purchasing a house. When you take out a loan, offer to pay more money down to let the seller know you are in an excellent financial position and will not back out of the deal. 

Photo of houses by the beach on the Crystal Coast

Discover Your Dream Home with Bluewater

The best way to learn how to buy a house in a seller’s market is to enlist the help of a Bluewater Real Estate agent. Connect with us, and we will give you the low-down on Crystal Coast sales- Including rental projections and up-to-date info on the newest properties for sale! Feel free to visit one of our offices in Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle or fill out this form to start the process of buying your dream home!

Start browsing the available listings and discover the beautiful homes on the Crystal Coast today!

2021 Bluewater Community Outreach

2021 Bluewater Community Outreach

In the year 2021, Bluewater’s community outreach touched many lives. It is no secret that Bluewater Real Estate is one of the Crystal Coast’s major employers, but did you know that our volunteer work overwhelmingly comes from Bluewater agents? Often considered the heart of our community, our real estate agents are always finding ways to give back. Our real estate agents are often considered the heart of our community. Agents are involved in charitable donations as well as many fundraising efforts. Moreover, each agent that works with Bluewater has a long history of working with local organizations and different causes. From baking cookies for local heroes to making holiday food baskets, Bluewater’s initiative to grow and continually increase awareness of causes that are dear to our hearts is on our minds. 

2021 Bluewater Outreach

 2021 Bluewater Outreach

In 2021, Bluewater Real Estate’s local charitable contributions reached in excess of $53,000.  As a large company along the Crystal Coast, we feel that it is very important to give back to a community that has helped us become who we are. Above all, we want to give a warm thank you for choosing Bluewater Real Estate and Vacation Rentals.

We extend our gratitude to all of our agents, clients, rental department, and tourists for donating your time and giving. 

In 2021, Bluewater donated and volunteered for the following organizations and charities: 

Again, we are so thankful to our community, clients, agents, and everyone who contributed in the year 2021. Be on the lookout this coming year for ways to contribute back to our community as we continue our charitable contributions and sponsorships.

2021 Real Estate Christmas Party

The 2021 Real Estate Christmas Party brought the Bluewater agents and employees together for food, fellowship, and fun. As a part of the 2021 Real Estate Christmas party, each attendee brought a white elephant gift for the holiday gift exchange. Agents also brought their favorite food dish to share with everyone. The pot luck style lunch featured bagels from Giovanni’s Bagels, Bo-Berry Biscuits, homemade breakfast casseroles, donuts, and so much more.

Real Estate Christmas Party

This is the first Christmas party that Bluewater Real Estate was able to have since the start of the pandemic. Some of the agents had not met their coworkers and this was a great time for them to do so. Sherrell Futral, Co-Owner of Bluewater, was there to congratulate everyone on another successful year and to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Real Estate Christmas Party

White Elephant Gift Exchange

Real Estate Agent Carolyn Blackmon made an appearance as the Grinch. The Grinch even brought in a gift as a part of the white elephant gift exchange! This made for a great photo op with everyone! Once the Grinch left the building, the gift exchange began. In the rules of the White Elephant Gift Exchange, everyone is to pick a number and when your number is called you can pick a wrapped gift or steal someone else’s opened gift. The real estate agents had a great time at the gift exchange. There were candles, blankets, Christmas decor, and plenty of other goodies. Many gifts were stolen at this event, but everyone left with a gift and definitely a smile!

Real Estate Christmas Party

Bluewater Real Estate was excited to finally have all of their Real Estate Agents under the same roof to celebrate one of the most productive real estate seasons. Bluewater Real Estate is hopeful that there will be plenty more opportunities for everyone to come together for fun and fellowship in the future.

Photo of vacation homes in North Carolina with text overlay over image

Consider These 5 Things Before You Buy a Vacation Home in North Carolina

Consider These 5 Things Before You Buy a Vacation Home in North Carolina Have you ever dreamt of having your very own vacation home on the beach? As glamorous as […]

Cookies for the troops banner

Join Us for Cookies for the Troops


Bluewater Real Estate is proud to be an official drop-off location for the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Cookies for the Troops.

The Military Affairs Committee (MAC) collects and delivers donated home-baked or store-bought cookies to service members who are stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, and Coast Guard Stations Fort Macon and Emerald Isle North Carolina.

We invite you to drop off your favorite cookies to be included in our donation. Drop off times are between December 13-15, 2021 9 am – 5 pm. Our drop off location is at our Bluewater Real Estate Office 200 Mangrove Drive, Emerald Isle

Cookies do not need to be individually packaged as MAC Committee members will package a selection in each bag. If your cookies are allergy-free, such as no nuts or gluten-free, please mark that on your donation.

Holiday cards are also appreciated. The treats will be delivered on Thursday, December 16. Donations will not be accepted after December 15. A big THANK YOU to our dedicated Military Affairs Committee members; Pegi Davis, Cathy Gainey, Sharon Salmon, and Kristie Elliott.

Bluewater's Cookie for the Troops Drive

Other Area Drop Off Locations:

  • Chamber of Commerce –33322 Bridges Street, Suite 6, Morehead City
  • West Town Bank and Trust –804 Arendell Street, Morehead City
  • Hilton O’Neal, Edward Jones –601 Cedar Street, Suite B, Beaufort
  • M.F. Chappell Wine Merchant – 407 Atlantic Beach Causeway, Suite 12, Atlantic Beach
  • Swansboro Area Chamber of Commerce –203 Church Street, Swansboro

Want to Treat our Troops Without The Hassle of Baking?

You’re in luck! Slice Bakery in Morehead City is once again baking special batches of cookies for “Cookies for the Troops.” Cookies are $16.95 for two dozen assorted cookies and they will be delivered to the Chamber of Commerce for you. Simply place your order online at, on their Slice Bakery’s Facebook page, or by calling (252) 497-8919. Orders must be placed by 5:00 pm on December 15.