Myrtle Beach Real Estate Blog

Myrtle Beach Area 4th Of July Events

Fourth of July fireworks family watching together american flagI f you’re staying in the Myrtle Beach area to celebrate Fourth of July, you’re in luck! The Grand Strand hosts an array of Fourth of July events each year for the whole family to enjoy. From parades to contests, games and fireworks, we’d like to share this holiday weekend's best in nightlife, festivals, entertainment, and more... Happy Birthday America!

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Tips for Selling a Home With a Pool

Staging a Pool to Sell a Home to the Best BuyerA home with a pool can have big appeal to the right buyer. However, not all home buyers are specifically seeking a pool. This means that a home's pool may have to win over buyers who are not convinced that they would like a pool on their property. To do this, the pool must be kept in good condition and properly staged. Knowing how to stage, market and present a property with a pool and can help get the most for the sale of a home.

Make Cosmetic Repairs

An older pool can suffer from cosmetic problems like algae, cracks, pock marks in the plaster, water stains and scale on the tiles. Cosmetic issues can lead a home buyer to question the condition of the pool, even if these problems have no real impact on safety and functionality. Have cosmetic problems repaired before putting the home on the market to help reassure buyers that your pool is in good condition.

Keep Up With Cleaning and Monitor the Chemical Content

Keep up with cleaning and monitoring of the chemicals in your pool. The water in the pool must be crystal clear when buyers...

6 Staging Hacks for Small Houses

Small space big appearance open furnitureThese days, a lot of buyers want a fairly open floor plan with lots of space. If you have an older home or a house with a lot of enclosed rooms, you may have to fight convention if you want to bring the offers in. These tips help you to show off the space you have and create a comfortable flow for your home, even if you don't have a house with a lot of space or an open floor plan.

Choose One Purpose

Home buyers often expect the home to fulfill a variety of purposes, such as eating, sleeping, entertaining, work and education. If you have many small rooms in the home, trying to cram too many activities into a single space is the last thing you want to do. For staging, the smaller the room, the simpler you must keep the activities. A spare bedroom could be converted into a playroom or entertainment room, instead of letting video game equipment and toys clutter kids’ bedrooms or the living room. An enclosed dining room should be devoted only to that purpose.

Eliminate Visual Clutter in Design

Busyness is the enemy of the small room. Even if all the basic clutter is cleared away and you are left with an open floor and mostly-empty shelving, the room may still look too busy. Fun houses at carnivals are designed with...

Budget-Friendly Staging Tips

Preparing Home for Sale on a BudgetPreparing a home for sale can be an expensive process if it's allowed to run out of control. The cost for repairs, renovations, carpet cleaning, and more can really mount up long before the sign is in place and the home is actually ready for the market. Since most sellers consider preparations like these necessary, they are usually willing to bite the bullet and absorb these costs, knowing they will recoup them when the home sells.

Professional staging services are another preparation that can really help sell a home, but it is one that many sellers find themselves shying away from, especially when repair bills and other expenses have already made a sizeable dent in the budget. While the budget may not allow much room for staging, it can be a big mistake to skip the step entirely.

The Value of Staging a Home

Real estate professionals place real value on the staging process. In fact, according to recent statistics published by the National Association of Realtors®, 53% of sellers' agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time it sits on the market. Additionally, 44% of buyer's agents say that staging a home increases the dollar value offered. Since 83% of them also feel it helps buyers visualize a home they are viewing as their future home, staging is definitely intregal to quick sale.

Some of the most common rooms to stage are:

  • Living Room (93%)
  • Kitchen (84%)
  • Master...

How to Give Any House a Beach Cottage Makeover

5 steps to a Beach Cottage Makeover

Summer is the perfect time to give your house a makeover. You have more hours of daylight to use for a little DIY work, and you can get the job done on a long weekend. Best of all, you don't have to do a full gut job or major renovation to breathe some new life into your house. Instead, think about switching out some accessories and making smaller changes that will still have a big impact.

To celebrate the season, try making your house feel like the vacation place of your dreams, and you'll enjoy the relaxing feel of a beach cottage without ever leaving home. You can add some breezy beach decor to enjoy all year long by choosing a seaside color scheme, lightweight soft goods, and some special summery accents. 

Here's how to inject some beach cottage style into your house this summer:

1. Consider Your Color Palette

Bring the colors of the coast into your house by painting your walls a sandy tan or cool aquamarine with whitewashed trim. You can also keep things crisp by painting the walls white and using sea glass shades of green, blue, and turquoise in your accessories (think throw pillows, lamps, and picture frames for starters). If you're really...

5 Tips for Better Pest Remediation

How to Keep Pests Away from the HomePests are not only a nuisance to homeowners but a real threat to both the residents who live there and the actual physical structure of the property. They can carry diseases that make people ill or damage the interior components of the home by building their own residences inside the walls or under the floorboards. To lessen or eliminate the damage they cause, keep the following in mind.

Check the Barriers

Holes in the home aren't always easy to spot because they can exist in some of the least likely of places. However, tears in a screen or gaps in the doors or windows are clear invitations for bugs or rodents to make their way inside.

Start Cleaning

Crumbs are magnets for pests and the longer they stay out, the more likely it is a hungry critter will find them. Trash needs to contained, counters need to be washed, and floors need to be swept regularly. It has nothing to do with making the home spotless and everything to do with foregoing an expensive exterminator.

Walk the Perimeter

Standing water is where mosquitos like to reproduce, so it's pivotal to find the sources on the property where it can form. Look to the gutters, tires, and appliance units for the most likely sources and then start sopping up the problem.

Perform Outdoor Maintenance

Firewood needs to be stored as far...

Common Home Buying Contingencies for Buyers to Be Aware Of

Common Home Buying ContingenciesWhether you are buying a home or you are selling one, one of the things that you need to understand are contingencies. When it comes to buying or selling a piece of real estate, a contingency is a condition that needs to be met before a contract can be considered to be valid or final. A contingency needs to be agreed upon and signed off on by both parties when entering into the real estate contract. As a result, these should not be surprises. However, if you are not familiar with contingencies, finding out what some of the more common ones can help you better prepare for any during your home buying or selling adventure. These are just a few of the more common ones today.

Contingent on the Sale of Another Home

This is a very common contingency for home buyers to make if they are trying to sell their home at the same time, whether it's in an area like Carolina Forest or elsewhere. This is something that is done because they do not want to be left with two mortgages at the same time so they add a contingency to the contract that states that the purchase of their new home will not be considered final until the sale of their current home goes through closing.

Appraisal Contingency

This is usually a contingency that is in place to help protect...

Documents Needed for Home Selling

Common Paperwork Types When Selling a HomeSelling a home often calls for a great deal of documentation. Some of this paperwork is generated and managed by a real estate agent, but others may require the seller to collect and maintain. With this list, sellers will know which documentation to watch for while selling their homes.

Selling Paperwork

When people decide to sell a home, they quickly realize that the process of selling can be very complicated. A real estate agent usually handles paperwork related to the actual sale, and includes:

  • listing agreement for the property, which indicates how the agent distributes payment for services
  • marketing plans to attract attention to the home
  • purchase contracts offered by buyers and signed by both parties
  • mandatory disclosures about the condition of the property
  • home buying contingencies placed by the buyer
  • occupancy agreements

Much of this paperwork may need to be completed more than once, if the seller ends up going through the process with more than buyer.

Inspections and Appraisals

In order to sell the home, most lenders require an appraisal to estimate the property's current value. Many home buyers also choose to request a home inspection, to ascertain...

Home Selling Etiquette: 5 Rules for Showings

Rules for Showing Your HomeJust like knowing which fork to use at a banquet table, selling your home comes with all sorts of hidden rules about good manners. Learning the rules of home selling etiquette will make the process feel a lot smoother, and you may find that knowing how to behave during open houses and showings helps you sell your house a little bit faster. Here are the top five home selling rules to go by when selling your home.

Most rules about good manners have to do with making the people around you feel comfortable and relaxed — in the case of selling your home, your behavior should be determined by what is most likely to make people shopping for a new home feel like they're welcome into your home, yet under no pressure to buy.

Although this may sound complicated, there are a few easy ways to ensure buyers feel at home when visiting your home. Here’s what you should know to make a good impression.

1: Make Yourself Scarce

One of the many benefits of working with a real estate agent is that you don't need to come in contact with prospective buyers during showings. It's not that meeting them is outright rude or anything, but your presence on the property is a big reminder that you're the owner. Most buyers won't want to offend you by commenting on your choice of kitchen cabinets, so they won't feel free to discuss your home or voice their opinions to their own real estate agent if they feel you hovering in the background.

It's also much easier for buyers to picture...

What to Consider When Buying a Fixer-Upper

Things to Keep in Mind When Selling a Fixer UpperFor some people, a fixer-upper is the ideal home because it allows them to start with something old and turn it into something new that suits their tastes exactly. When looking for a new fixer-upper home, it’s important to know what to look for to avoid buying a home that’s in such poor condition it isn’t even worth renovating, so here are a few things to keep an eye out for when looking at fixer-upper homes.

First: How Much is Too Much?

When considering a fixer-upper, it’s important to take into account how large of a project it’ll be. Not all fixer-upper homes are created equally, and it's important to proceed as you would in any home buying process. Some may just have a couple big jobs that need to be done to make it feel like home, while others may need to be completely gutted and reworked from the inside out. Before committing to a fixer-upper, all buyers should decide just how much work they’re willing to do on a home before beginning their search for one.

Layout

How the home is configured can be one of the most difficult things to change when it comes time to start renovating. An example of bad home layout is having bedrooms directly beside the family room or living room. When looking for a fixer-upper home, finding one with an acceptable layout can save the buyer a lot of money and stress later on...

How to Insulate Your Home to Save Energy

How to Improve Home Insulation: Factors to ConsiderBuilding in extra insulation, or replacing old home insulation, is an excellent way to save energy and money on heating or cooling. In fact, improving home insulation is one of the most efficient ways to increase home value. These tips help homeowners understand how to decide if they need more insulation, and which kind might be best.

When Does a Home Need More Insulation?

There are a couple of ways homeowners can determine that they need more insulation. The first involves an analysis of the home's heating and cooling, and the second concerns the actual condition and thickness of the existing insulation. Homeowners may already have some sense that their insulation is not up to par. Certain rooms feel uncomfortably hot or cold, and using the HVAC system does not seem to make a difference. Using an infrared thermometer may be an easy way to identify certain thermal irregularities in the walls.

For a more complicated and thorough inspection, homeowners can get into their home's insulation and see if it meets local standards. The attic insulation is a good place to start. Every type of insulation has a different level of protection, known as R-value. Homeowners can find the R-value that is needed for new construction in their area, and determine if they have enough insulation to suit. If they do not, they should consider adding more.

How Does R-Value Work?

All insulation is measured in what is called “R-value.”...

Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

Tips For Saving Energy at Home Green house light bulb onWhen it comes to energy efficiency and ways to save on heat energy, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy, reduce your electric bill as well as add value to your home.

1. Begin With A Right-Sized Home

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. Reconsidering how right your home is? Call one of our real estate agents or start your search online to see the homes available along the Grand Strand.

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

How much do Energy Star appliances save? Over time, it can be alot. Especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home and can make a noticable difference. Also, unpluging any electronics tha are not in use or turning off power strips is a good idea to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Fluorescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year. If you're wondering do LED light bulbs save energy, just know that this can be a cheap, quick fix to save on energy.

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Tips to Prepare for Your First Home Showing

Your First Home Showing: Ways to Get ReadyWhen you're selling your home, your first home showings can be both stressful and exciting. Knowing how to prepare your home and what you can do to make your home more inviting for buyers can help make the experience more productive. By staging, cleaning, making small repairs and reducing clutter, you can attract more buyers and bigger offers. These tips will help.

Reduce Clutter

Clutter is the number one enemy of home sellers, because clutter can make your home appear to be smaller and darker than it really is. Eliminating clutter is the best way to make your house more appealing to buyers. Clutter takes many forms, so there are many things you can do to reduce clutter in your home. Toys on the floor, knick-knacks on the shelves, bills on the counter and excessive clothes in the closet can all be called "clutter." These tips will help:

  • Pick toys up off the floor to make each room look more spacious.
  • Clean closets by reducing the number of items stored on the floor and on the shelves.
  • Clean off all counters, tabletops and shelves.

For many home sellers, clutter reduction can take weeks or even months. In addition to all the sorting and decision-making (what stays? what goes?), the actual act of getting rid of clutter takes time. Garage sales take weeks to organize, donating items requires trips back...

Home Staging Cover-Up! Watching For Hidden Defects When Buying a Home

Home Staging DefectsWhen you buy a home, it is probably cleverly staged to show the home's best features. This is often a way for the seller to help you consider the space as your own. However, some sellers may use staging to hide or minimize design flaws or serious defects with the house.

Watch out for these four home staging traps, before you end up in a home that is not all you thought it would be.

1. Making Rooms Appear Bigger

There are many ways to stage a room to make it appear & feel larger. For example, exchanging a traditional queen-size bed for a full or even a twin. Switching out regular couches for a couple of love seats and a small table also increases the available space in a room. The seller may put larger curtains over windows to make it seem from the inside that the window is larger.

Unfortunately, none of this is practical for you unless you plan to buy all new furniture for the home. When you visit a home, be sure to carefully review the floor plan, and a printed version with measurements would be ideal. This way you'll can get a better idea for how your belongings will fit in the space.

2. Hiding Serious Problems

On occasion, a person selling a home may try to use staging to conceal problems with the home. For example, they may hang a large picture or even put up wallpaper to hide evidence of mold growing in the walls. This type of cover-up is more likely to happen when a seller stages their own home.

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How To Sell a Home With Pets

Selling a Home With Pets? 4 Can't-Miss TipsPets aren’t just random animals, they’re friends and part of the family, and pet owners will do whatever they can to make sure their pets are happy and healthy. When trying to sell a home to move to a new one, pet owners may come across advice saying they need to get rid of their pets or the home won’t sell, but this isn’t true. While selling a home with pets may be more difficult than selling a home without pets, it isn’t impossible, and here are a few different ways pet owners can give their home the best chance of finding a buyer.

Relocate Pets During Showings

A home showing is the most important time for a home because this is when buyers will decide if they want to purchase it or not. For this reason, guests should be made as comfortable as possible during this time, which means any pets in the home should be taken elsewhere for the duration of the showing. Not only are some people allergic to animals, guests may also be afraid of them. Removing pets from a  home during showings can also be better for the pets, as it’s possible for buyers to bring along small children who don’t know how to act around animals, or doors can be left open and it could be possible for pets to sneak outside where they can be harmed. 

Homeowners can temporarily relocate their pets by taking them to a kennel...

Making an Outdoor Living Space? These Tips Can Help!

Creating An Outdoor Living Area in Your Back YardOutdoor living space is all the rage! Whether you're a homeowner just converting a small patio, or you're a home buyer working on the design for your new house, installing an outdoor living space can boost your home's value and improve your quality of life in the process. A good outdoor living space will include the comforts of home, a place to make food, privacy, and electricity. When you're working on your plans for your Litchfield by the Sea outdoor living space, these tips will help.

Make the Space Comfortable

Today's homeowners like to buy sophisticated furniture for their outdoor spaces. In fact, a lot of outdoor furniture is nearly as comfortable as indoor furniture! In addition to cushioned outdoor patio furniture, buy some extra blankets and throw pillows to keep on hand while you're lounging in comfort outside. To the side, install a water proof outdoor storage bin where you can keep your blankets and pillows safe when they're not in use. These comforts are especially useful when hosting outdoor parties in chilly weather.

Turn On The Heat

Every living space needs a heat source, and your outdoor living space is no different. If you're on a budget, a simple fire pit will do. If you have a bigger budget, an outdoor gas fireplace could be even better. Talk to a licensed contractor if you're thinking about making a major fireplace installation.

Create an Outdoor Kitchen

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Home Insurance Guide for New Home Buyers

Basic Information About Homeowner's Insurance For BuyersAfter making an offer on a home, home buyers applying for a mortgage must get a homeowners insurance policy. When that happens, it's helpful to know exactly what homeowners insurance is, about how much it costs, and whether or not it's a requirement of purchasing the home. For a new home buyer, this guide can help.

What Is Homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners insurance is a type of insurance that insures a dwelling and belongings in the event of a covered disaster. Homeowners insurance usually comes as a package that includes a variety of other protections, such as liability insurance to protect homeowners from legal action in the event that someone is injured on the property.

Is Homeowners Insurance A Requirement?

Homeowners insurance is usually a requirement if the homeowner gets a mortgage. Lenders require buyers to get insurance to protect the property. Insurance coverage must be in place when the home is bought or the financing will not go through.

The mortgage lender will continue to require proof of insurance throughout the life of the loan. In the event that the insurance coverage lapses, the lender will purchase a policy for the buyer and add the payment for the policy to the monthly bill. Typically, these insurance policies are much more expensive than the policies that homeowners would get on their own....

Hire a professional or DIY: Which is right for you?

Should you DIY or hire a professional?New year... new projects bringing about the age old debate: to DIY or to hire a professional? As a homeowner, deciding whether to hire a professional or do something on a DIY basis is a fair question, and it is one that some homeowners have trouble answering. They may not be sure if they can handle the project, and they may also not be sure how much it will cost them for someone else to take over and get things done. For any homeowner who is unsure about the DIY vs hiring a professional issue, there are some specific issues to consider. By looking carefully at the most important aspects of a home improvement project, homeowners can make the right decision for their specific situation.

How Much Will This Project Cost?

The price of a particular home improvement project may affect whether a homeowner chooses the DIY route or decides instead to hire a professional. Either way there will be some cost to the project because there will be materials and time spent, but in general it will cost more to hire a professional contractor. However, that does not mean that a contractor should be avoided. In some cases it makes far more sense to hire a professional, so that the job can be done correctly and safely. When that is done, the homeowner has more peace of mind and may sleep better at night, despite the added cost. Homeowners with very little money to spend, though,...

Buying a Home: Financing Repairs, Rehab or Renovation

Rehab Loans & FinancingPicture this scenario: The house of your dreams is in livable, if not pristine condition, situated on acreage that also includes a second residence in need of refurbishing and repair. There is an additional outbuilding that is not suitable for habitation but is structurally sound.

The property is bank-owned, and situated in a part of town that would command two and a half to three times the asking price on the open market, based on comparable values. There are no existing appraisal comps because of the unusual conditions, but local realtors in the know assure you that the value is inherent, based on location and the viability of your planned repairs.

However, even with the required cash deposit readily available, acceptable credit, great motivation to buy, and stated intentions to improve the property, you cannot obtain a suitable loan commitment.

It can be a discouraging situation.

Know the Rules: Rehab Financing Can Be Difficult

There are limited mortgage loan programs available to help a potential buyer when dwelling rehabilitation is required, but they are difficult to locate and "quick action" is not a hallmark of such financing options.

Most lenders are wary of financing for (1.) distressed properties that include foreclosures or homes in need of repair; and (2.) properties with more than one dwelling, particularly if they are not in move-in condition. If your goal is to find property that will provide for your living needs as well as provide...

Why You Should Run a Home Energy Audit

Home Energy AuditsChilly winter weather is here, so make sure your home is ready by making it as energy efficient as it can be. A home energy audit is a great tool for homeowners who know their home could be more efficient but aren't sure where to start.

In many cases, a home energy audit is often offered for free or at very little cost, and the information in the final report can help the homeowner make targeted improvements to improve your home’s efficiency and save some money!

Low-cost or Free Home Energy Audits 

A professional home energy assessment may cost a few hundred dollars should you search for one yourself. However, many states and cities often provide rebates or even no-cost energy assessments to encourage residents to be more energy efficient.

Search online for your state or local government's energy program to see if you qualify, or contact your electricity or gas utility company to see if they offer a similar program. South Carolina offers a variety of financial assistance options including low-interest loans, tax incentives, utility incentives, and sometimes grants. Energy audits that are part of a local program often include some freebies such as low-wattage light bulbs, faucet aerators and smart power strips to get you off to a great start on lowering your utility bills. 

You may also be eligible for rebates...