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.

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!

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 […]

Tips for Staging Your Home

Selling your Home

Inch by Inch Life is a Cinch

Your new year resolution may include making big changes, like selling your home for instance. This may be so you can downsize, upgrade or travel the world even. One thing you need to know going in to this venture is it is a team effort with you and a Real Estate pro, that is if you want a less stressful transaction. Selling your home in Spring or early Summer are traditionally good times to sell your home. So starting now will get you ready right on time. Here are a few things to add to your mini resolution list to achieve your major 2017 goal of selling a house.

  • Hire an Agent

    – Price Guidance

    – Neighborhood Knowledge

    – Handling Paperwork

    – Professional Networking

    Group picture edited and cropped

  • Declutter

    Clean blinds, ceiling fans, baseboards and under furniture.  Pack away knickknacks and de-clutter counter tops.  Steam carpets to remove dirt and pet odors and organize closets to utilize available space.

    – Hold a Garage Sale

  • Pump Up Curb Appeal

    our curb appeal is the first thing potential buyers notice when searching for a new home, even when they visit without an agent and do a drive by. $400-$500 can return 4 times this amount when invested in landscaping

    – Trim bushes

    – Power Wash siding & sidewalks

    – Wash Windows

    – Freshly Paint Front Door

    – Purchase a new Doormat

    painted door

  • Photography

    Be sure your agent uses a professional photographer when capturing your home. Millennials (people between the age of 18-34) will be your buying market and they use the internet to shop. So visuals that are crisp and illustrate your home in the best light is a must.

    Bluewater Agents have a photographer on the ready!

    332 Divot Court Swansboro

  • Staging

    – Brighten up with lights (100 watts for every 50 sqft)

    – Vary wall hangings (try grouping items and abandoning the expected “hanging line”)

    – Bring in greenery and flowers

    – Add some color in the form of paint (warm tans, honeys and soft blue-greens)

    – Rearrange furniture to open up space


    Home scents

Garage Sale Tips and Tricks

Real Estate Ethics for Buyers

Real Estate Ethics for Buyers

Many times the subject of the “Code of Ethics” arises when speaking of real estate agents.  But what about the unspoken ethics between buyers and sellers?  There are many times when a real estate transaction goes sour between buyers and sellers that could have been avoided.  Here are some helpful tips on real estate ethics for a buyer to help you keep your transaction as smooth as possible.


  • NEVER go behind your agent’s back and approach the seller about details of the closing process.
  • Always schedule an appointment for re-showings or inspections of the seller’s home with your agent.  Showing up at the door of a seller unannounced is likely to not sit well with the seller if they’re in the middle of something important.  This might make them less likely to negotiate with you if future negotiations arise.
  • Never negatively criticize the property in a derogatory manner in front of the seller or in public.  Pointing out flaws to your agent is acceptable, but there is a fine line between constructive criticism and and being rude.  Speak to your agent so that they can appropriately express your opinion(s) during their follow-up with the seller or the seller’s agent.  More than likely, the seller has an emotional attachment to their home and will not take kindly to derogatory comments spoken in a rude manner.
  • Just passed by the home of your dreams and see a “for sale” sign in the yard?  Do you know the seller?  Under no circumstances should you show up at a seller’s door unannounced and ask to see the home, even if you think it’s harmless.  By doing so, you could jeopardize a smooth transaction by imposing on the seller at an inconvenient time.
  • Control your anger.  If you are upset that the seller didn’t follow through with an agreement, it could be for valid reasons.  Give them a chance to explain to their agent before any turmoil develops.

By following these simple tips, it could very possibly make your real estate negotiations go very smoothly without negativity or hard feelings.

Staging Your Home for Sale

When placing your home on the market, presentation is key!  First impressions are of extreme importance when selling your home.  When staging your home for sale there are a number of simple and inexpensive things you can do to sell you home quickly.

Clean and De-clutter

First things first!  No one wants to see or smell a dirty home.  Clean blinds, ceiling fans, baseboards and under furniture.  Pack away knickknacks and de-clutter counter tops.  Steam carpets to remove dirt and pet odors and organize closets to utilize available space.


When prospective buyers are looking at your home, they want to envision their family, not yours.  Remove all personal photographs, keepsakes and mementos. Paint your home neutral colors so that buyers can imagine their furniture and belongings in your home.

Curb Appeal

Don’t neglect the outside of your home.  Trim bushes, power wash siding and sidewalks and wash windows.  Add a fresh coat of paint on your front door and purchase a new doormat.

Use Space Effectively

Rearrange furniture to maximize space and enhance your home’s features.

Let There Be Light!

No one likes a dark, dreary home.  Open blinds to allow the sunlight to pour in.

Entice Buyers’ Sense of Smell

Bake cookies, bread or simmer spices prior to a showing.

Set the Temperature

You want prospective buyers to be comfortable and stay awhile in your home, right?  Now is not the time to worry about a utility bill.  Turn up the heat if it’s cold enough to wear a sweater in your home.  Likewise, turn down the temperature if it is uncomfortably hot.

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