Myrtle Beach Real Estate Blog

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...

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.

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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...

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...

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...

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...

5 Great Reasons to Buy a Home This Winter

Winter Home Buying SeasonMagazine articles and even some real estate and mortgage industry bloggers often talk about the spring home selling season and all the reasons why sellers should list and buyers should buy during that timeframe.

Because spring is traditionally a very active period for the real estate industry, some of this reasoning is valid. Some, however, is not and increasing numbers of smart home buyers are proving this every winter.

If you are convinced that you should wait for spring to purchase a home, the following five reasons just might have you considering an earlier start for your search. 

Less Competition From Other Buyers

Since there are more buyers looking to purchase in the spring than in the fall and winter, those who deliberately shop for a home late in the year will be less likely to deal with multiple offer situations.

By avoiding competition with other bidders for the same home, buyers can lessen the risk of being involved in a bidding war that could force them to consider paying more than fair market price for the home they want. 

Sellers With More Motivation

Home owners who are selling during the winter are usually doing so for a specific reason, such as needing to relocate or because they need to quickly find a larger home for a growing family. In addition to motivations like this, sellers also understand that they may see fewer buyers during the fall or winter season than they might during busier times...

Buying a Home? Tips to Help You Get Started

Tips to Get Started Buying a HomeThe home-buying process can be a stressful and overwhelming one, rife with paperwork and searches, and filled with days and weeks and sometimes months of searching that eventually—hopefully—cumulate in the purchase of a home. If you're one of the many people thinking about buying a new home, here are some steps to prepare yourself.

Preparing in the months before your home purchase can help increase the chances that you get the property you want, be it in Georgetown or elsewhere. Follow these tips to separate yourself from the competition:

Attend Open Houses

Many people do their real estate research by combing through listings online, but seeing homes in person can make a big difference. Open houses are an important reality check for home buyers. These events also present opportunities for home buyers to meet and ask questions of real estate agents and home sellers. Attend open houses before you even fully begin searching to give your home search focus and direction.

After each open house, take time to drive around each neighborhood looking for eateries and conveniences like grocery stores and gas stations. Doing this kind of research will help you zero in on the neighborhoods where you'd like to focus your attention.

Know Your Priorities

Do you...

Curb Appeal Basics: A Checklist for Home Sellers

What is Good Curb AppealCurb appeal is a valuable part of staging a home to appeal to buyers, as the front yard is the first thing a buyer sees when they approach a house. A poorly maintained or unappealing front yard can deter buyers by giving them the impression that the home isn't well maintained by the owner and possibly in a state of disrepair. On the other hand, a vibrant, well maintained yard can attract buyers with a clean look that excites them and encourages them to see the rest of the house. Here are a few common trouble areas where home curb appeal improvements can be made.

Curb

The curb isn’t the first thing that buyers see, but it is the first aspect of the property they will see up close. Take the time to get it in hand: Repair cracked concrete; make sure that the mailbox is in excellent condition and has no chips, dents, or rust. Be sure to confirm that the house number is easy to see from the street, as buyers are less likely to scope out an address, with good curbside appeal or otherwise, if they can’t find it.

Driveway

Sellers might think that buyers will barely see the driveway, but if it looks bad, it might be the only thing they see. Driveways often show buyers how the current owners treat the home, especially the parts that do not matter as much. A driveway with cracks and stains gives an impression of disrepair to viewers, and it can serve as a deterrent to potential buyers. Even a great ...

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...

How to Sell a Home: A Guide for First Time Home Sellers

Basic Tips for First Time Home SellersWhen going to sell your home, there are a multitude of steps that can boggle and overwhelm even the most adept mind. What if you have no idea how to start selling your home? Is staging important? What does a real estate agent do? This home sellers' guide gives you the basic details needed to sell your Myrtle Beach home quickly with preparations to ensure you get the best bang for your buck and the best return on your investment.

Do I Need a Real Estate Agent?

Although there are few instances in life when people really must have a professional to handle a certain situation, sometimes hiring a professional to guide and advise you is worth more than the money paid. When selling your home, hiring a real estate agent is one of them. Without an agent, you as a seller are alone to negotiate with the buyer, who probably has an agent to help them secure the best deal. In selling a home, hiring a  is one of them. Without an agent, you as a seller are alone to negotiate with the buyer, who probably has an agent to help them secure the best deal.

Our real estate agents at CRG are here to help you get your Myrtle Beach home ready for sale, make sure that buyers find your home, negotiate a good offer on your behalf and confirm that your home sale is following all relevant laws and guidelines. On top of all of that CRG real estate agents are there to provide guidance and advice to...

Choosing the Right Home Improvements

Choosing the right home improvementsPurchasing a home is a big investment, and making changes and improvements can certainly help to increase your home’s value over time. Some upgrades are more common than others and are often considered surefire ways to add value to your Myrtle Beach investment.

When planning your home remodel, it's important to remember that certain improvement projects will add more value than others. However, certain upgrades actually cost more to install than the money they are worth at the final sale of your home. Projects like kitchen and bathroom upgrades or the addition of another room or bathroom are the best ways to increase the value of your Myrtle Beach home, however there might be other projects to consider as well.

The Popular Projects

What improvements add the most value? More often than not, homeowners will point to the kitchen or bathroom first when they decide it’s time to stage or add value to their home. This type of upgrade not only reaps rewards down the line when the home sells, but you also get to enjoy the fruits of your labor while still living there.

Depending on the size of your kitchen, the average renovation project in Myrtle Beach can run around $10,000 or more. While this might sound like a large chunk of change, keep in mind that homeowners sometimes see a full return on their investment. In some cases, depending on the housing...

5 Things Homeowners Should Know About the Foreclosure Process

5 Things Homeowners Should Know About the Foreclosure ProcessSometimes bad things happen to good people. And often, bad things can't be prevented. Most people would agree that a Myrtle Beach home foreclosure is not a good thing. But going through a foreclosure is a little different for each person. For some homeowners, the process is inevitable, while others may be looking for options to turn it around.

In addition, some states may have some unique rules for lenders foreclosing on homes, and lenders often adapt their practices within those guidelines. Knowing the answers to these questions can help people prepare for the next steps. This guide walks homeowners through various aspects of a foreclosure, and what they can do throughout the process.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a financial advisor before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

1. What Is the Foreclosure Process?

There are three basic stages to a foreclosure. As soon as a homeowner fails to make a necessary mortgage payment, they may face late fees and be at risk for a future foreclosure. By law, the institution holding the mortgage has to follow this minimum timeline for the foreclosure process:

  • Notice of Default: 3-6 months after the first missed...

How to Sell Your Home as a Short Sale

What to Know About Selling a Home as a Short SaleThere are times when things happen in a homeowners life where they may have to sell their homes unexpectedly. An unexpected home sale may also show that home may be worth less than what is owed on the mortgage. This is also called being "underwater". In these cases, the homeowner has several options. One option is to wait for a foreclosure. Another option could be a short sale.

A short sale is one option for those who do not want to go through the foreclosure process, with possibly fewer negative consequences. In some instances, those who sell their home as a short sale may be able to soon buy another home sooner than they would if they had a foreclosure. The short sale process is different than the general home selling process, as the lender has much more influence throughout the process.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What Is a Short Sale?

Circumstances can change. With a divorce, job loss or medical bills looming, not all homeowners can afford to continue making payments on a home and may need to sell. And in some cases, selling a residential property where the market value is lower than the outstanding mortgage could result in a short sale.

Homeowners who are faced with homes worth less than their mortgage balances...

Selling Your House? Everything You Need to Know About Staging

How to Stage Your HomeHome sellers who want to sell their property quickly will usually start by making their home look as beautiful and desirable as possible. This is why staging is so important for people who want to sell their property. Home sellers who are thinking about selling their home in the near future should consider staging their property before listing it for sale. Proper staging for a home not only makes the home look better for the buyer as they tour a home, it also helps the photos look better that are posted to help sell the home. These tips can make staging easier for a person who wants to sell their property.

What Is Staging?

Staging is the art of making a home look more appealing to home buyers. Staging usually involves making aesthetic improvements as well as maintenance upgrades. Home sellers who want to sell their home quickly and for more money will often stage their property before ever putting their home on the market. Staging the home can make the property look up to date and well maintained.

What Must A Home Seller Do to Stage Their Home?

There are many things that home sellers can do to stage their home.

Decluttering

To stage their home, many sellers start by decluttering the property and making repairs. Decluttering is the act of removing all excess items from the home. Excess items could include collectables, papers, stacks of magazines, old furniture and old clothing. Decluttering helps make the property...

Painting a Room For Beginners

Basic Steps For Painting an Interior RoomPainting walls can be a lot of fun that can help personalize any room in a home. Homeowners can choose to hire professional painters, or they can save a lot of money by doing the work themselves. But how does someone paint a room when they’ve never had experience with doing so before? Here is a guide to painting rooms for new and veteran homeowners alike who want to learn the ins and outs of customizing their home (whether it's for themselves or to stage their home to sell).

Clear Out Furniture and Do Prep Work

Painting isn’t just as simple as dipping a brush in a can of paint and going to town. First, homeowners need to make sure that they protect  what’s in the room, and that means doing some prep work. The first thing homeowners should do is move all furniture out of the room in order to protect it from accidental spills, or in the case of larger furniture, move it toward the middle of the room so it isn’t close to the walls. Other things to do include laying out a tarp to protect the floors and removing vent covers and light switch plates. 

Prep the Walls For Paint

It still isn't time to paint quite yet. First, the homeowner needs to clean the walls because dirty, dusty walls can prevent the fresh paint from sticking well. Cleaning can be done with a moistened rag, and using a vacuum cleaner can help with...

Reasons Why You Shouldn't Sell Your Own Home

Why You Should Avoid a FSBO Home SaleThe term FSBO stands for For Sale By Owner, and it's one of the options for home sellers who may be on a budget. Instead of securing the services of a real estate agent, the seller does the work themselves and saves the cost of commission. However, sellers may not be considering the many potential pitfalls of home selling as they may not realize just how specialized and detailed the work a real estate really is. From legal ramifications to financial mistakes, see why sellers usually regret taking the task of seeling their own home on themselves.

Home Pricing Is Difficult

There are some websites that show the average cost of a home in a neighborhood and possibly the recent home sales on a homeowner's particular block. However, there are potential drawbacks to a home owner trying to do their own website research. Many websites may not be displaying current information, Or the information they show may be misleading.

For example, each home sale is specific to the buyers and sellers in the transaction, determined by anything from the condition of the home to the specific contingencies listed in the purchase offer. These facts are not shown on a website, though they might be available to a real estate agent. Agents have the accurate selling information for nearby homes that a potential FSBO seller may not.

And pricing a home correctly from the start is critical for an eventual home sale. Set a price too high and sellers may turn buyers off immediately. Set the price too low, and buyers may think the seller has something to hide.

Sellers Don't...

What is the Escrow Period? A Guide for Home Buyers

Everything You Need to Know About EscrowThe escrow period is an exciting and stressful time during the home buying and selling process. Home buyers who understand the escrow period and know what to expect while it's happening may find the escrow process to be less stressful.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What Is the Escrow Period?

The escrow period is the period of time that occurs after the home selling contract is signed, before the house transfers ownership. The escrow period begins when the home buyer writes a check for a deposit on the house. This check is referred to as earnest money.

During this time, earnest money is usually protected by an independent third party business, either a title company or an escrow company. Sometimes, the escrow and title companies perform the same functions. Escrow companies act as the stewards of the earnest money. Escrow companies also manage the documents required to purchase the home.

The escrow period usually lasts from 30-60 days. During the escrow period, the home sellers pack their belongings to move out, and work with their real estate agent to ensure that the sale of the home goes smoothly. They may also accommodate the buyers, through their own real estate agent, when they need access to the home. Buyers are also usually very busy during the escrow period. Buyer activities during this time often include:

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Forget the Myths: Millennials Really Are Buying Homes

Millennials Have Become a Real Estate Market PhenomenonMillennials actually became the major force in the home buying market nationwide this year, and their thirst for the ownership experience isn't likely to fade, according to market analysts. So forget the myths about Millennials, they are currently buying homes!

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

A New Market Force

The Millennial age group, comprising buyers born between 1980 and 2005, now represents 35% of the real estate market, with 65% of them first-time buyers, according to a 2018 Market Report released by the National Association of Realtors.

The same report notes that Millennial buyers are more mobile than preceding generations, and do not hesitate to move to new locations, but they are also more apt to buy homes that they intend to stay in for a longer period of time than their parents or older siblings. These buyers no longer consider first homes simply starter homes.

Interestingly, younger buyers have become interested in older homes, not to fix and flip, but to renovate and live in. Ironically, it was baby boomers who are selling these types of homes and moving to urban condos or active adult communities. Even two years ago, it was noted that this...

How to Win a Bidding War When Buying a Home

Tips for Winning a Bidding WarSome home buyers are finding themselves facing stiff competition when it comes to finding and closing on a home in areas with few properties available. Hot real estate areas such as those in Seattle or some cities in California, can see homes have multiple offers the day the home goes on the market. In many cases, the home actually goes for over the asking price.

Even in cities like Phoenix and Dallas, homes in certain areas and in certain price ranges, may quickly receive several offers once put on the market. In worse cases, a prospective buyer may find that a seller may have as many as 10 buyer offers on the table when they initially list a home. How can potential buyers hope to compete with other buyers in a multiple offer situation?

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Perform Research

Home buyers need to know the community where they will be searching and what they desire in a new home. Get an overview of current property values with beginning asking prices and whether homes generally sell at above or below asking prices. Begin your research at least six months or more in advance. Home buyers...