Myrtle Beach Real Estate Blog

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. 

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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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...

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...

When to Repair or Replace Home Siding

When Is It Time to Repair or Replace Home Siding?There are many types of siding. Siding can already be on an existing home, added to a home or old siding can be replaced. There are plenty of reasons why some homeowners may want to replace home siding, including potentially making a home more attractive to potential buyers. Homeowners may also consider repairing or replacing damaged or older siding. Newer siding options are often of a higher quality, look better and may help protect a homes value.

Understand more about home siding and when it might be time to replace the siding on a home.

Why Repair or Replace Siding?

A good power washing may be enough to make siding that is only a few years old look like new. However, homeowners may have siding panels or shingles that have cracks or may have loosened over time. Different types of siding may be less resistant to high winds, and damaged siding that goes without being repaired cannot protect a home properly. This can allow moisture and insects into a home, making for additional problems for homeowners.

When only a few shingles are loose or damaged and tabs remain, it may be possible to inexpensively replace those shingles. When the initial home siding is at the end of its life cycle, it may be more cost effective to replace the siding altogether, rather than repair a serious issue and then replace the siding on a home in a year or so.

Are You Looking to List Your Home?

Some home...

New Construction Techniques for Home Building

What You Should Know About Technology in Home BuildingTechnology has been running at full force down a seemingly endless mountain, and it's made a lot of changes to the culture in its wake. But the construction industry has largely ignored many of the advancements of today, preferring to stick with the traditional techniques for residential building construction that have served them so well in the past. It is only recently that construction companies are adapting the technology to speed up their projects and reduce their overall production costs.

3D Scouting for Sites

Choosing building sites can be tricky for real estate developers because it's time-consuming to drive from place to place and carefully evaluate each property. It's why drones and 3D scanners are becoming more popular for decision makers. A drone can show the overall state of the property, helping developers see the condition of the land and the barriers that could stand in the way of building. A 3D scanner will give them even more perspective on the property because it shows the measurements of anything located on the building site. So if there's a small cluster of trees near the back of the land, the scanner will give their measurements to within 2 mm of accuracy.

Virtual Reality for Workers

In 2016, there were 991 deaths in the private construction industry. This alarming number signals that we need better training for workers, and technology...

How to Get Started in Buying and Selling Land

4 Tips for Buying and Selling LandBuying and selling raw land is a great way to make money without having to expend very much effort, but investors may not realize the specific challenges before they get started. Ideally, a person would be able to purchase a piece of land when its worth next to nothing and then sell the untouched property to an anxious developer committed to expanding their business. But the realities of buying and selling land can put a serious dent in the profits. Learn more about the potential obstacles that can get in the way of the perfect scenario.

Sitting on the Property

It's not always easy to spot the neighborhoods that are getting ready to explode in popularity because growth takes time. Investors who want to make money quickly may not get the payoff they're looking for if they're buying and selling land. If a new steel plant is hiring thousands of employees, then real estate is immediately going to skyrocket in price. The key is to get to that land before the steel plant makes its announcement, which may mean having to wait several months (or even years) before an investment can start to recoup its original costs.

Checking the Topography

People who are new to real estate don't always realize just how much the natural lay of the land can interfere with their plans. From tree roots to sinkholes to erosion, there are plenty of potential barriers that can make a piece of land unattractive...

5 New Developments in Green Construction Building

What Homeowners Should Know About Green Technology in ConstructionGreen technology is really the way of the future, and construction is slowly coming around to adopt new techniques and reduce the carbon footprint of their creations. While the developments have certainly not been seen across the board, it helps if home buyers understand the new choices on the market and the future predictions of what's to come. Here are five new developments that are worth noting for home buyers who value efficiency, innovation, and progress.

Green Heating

Most people think of green heating as solar power but geothermal heating has also made quite a splash as well. Those who may not have the access to the sun can rely on underground pipes that draw air from the Earth's 60° F core (a temperature that remains stable all-year round.) Considering geothermal heating is 500% more efficient than traditional heating, there are plenty of opportunities for a construction crew to save both a homeowner's wallet and the planet at the same time. Solar panels have also been steadily increasing in popularity and efficiency as well. The more competition on the market, the better the quality of the products and the lower the costs. In fact, California believes in solar panels so much that they're requiring all new homes built to have it (starting in 2020.)

Green Cooling

While it may be only 90° F outside, the...

Marketing Tips and Tricks for Home Sellers

7 Steps to Market a Home for SaleWhen people selling a home start to think of it as a business transaction, they may be able to recognize how important a good marketing strategy is for a home sale. Landing the right buyer involves putting up a good package, and then finding people who want it. Here are a few marketing tips that may boost a seller's sale price, or seal the deal a little sooner.

1. Bring In an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Even though millions of people will sell at least one home in their lifetimes, it really is not an activity that is easy for amateurs. Selling any product that may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars requires knowing:

  • what buyers want
  • which buyers want to buy certain kinds of houses
  • how best to get those buyers' attention

A real estate agent with plenty of recent experience working in the area will have detailed knowledge about all of these subjects.

2. Get a Feel for the Local Real Estate Market

Even with the professional guidance of a real estate agent, home sellers still have a lot of say in the direction of the sale. This means that sellers need to educate themselves on the nature of the market in their area and their neighborhood. The dynamic of the local market could affect the list price of the home, the way the home is staged, the details in the listing, and the speed at which the sale could be closed. Understanding these factors in advance helps sellers to go with the flow and make decisions that work best...