Myrtle Beach Real Estate Blog

How to Identify Mold Growth in Your Home

Does Your Home Have Mold? What You Should Be Looking ForThere are a few things no homeowner ever wants to find in their home. Pests are one, and mold is another. Whereas insects and rodents usually leave behind tell-tale signs of their presence, mold can be more difficult to identify, especially for those who don’t know what they’re looking for. Here are some of the different ways Pawley's Island homeowners can look for mold in their home to keep themselves and everyone in the home safer.

Mold Can Affect Health of People In the Home

Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, especially in the spring and summer. To someone who doesn’t know any better, mold having an affect on the people living in the home can be written off as just seasonal allergies. Common symptoms of sensitivity to mold include:

  • Congestion
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Eye irritation (especially dry or watering eyes)
  • Skin irritation
  • Headaches

If a homeowner is experiencing these symptoms outside of normal allergy seasons, it can be a sign of a mold outbreak in the home. If the mold is left untreated, prolonged exposure to it can lead to the development of deadly diseases and conditions. These include asthma, cancer, liver and kidney failure, neurotoxicity, birth defects, and more.

Smelling Out Mold...

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...

Visiting or Buying a Place in Myrtle Beach: What Each Area Has to Offer

Where to Go When Visiting or Buying a Home in Myrtle BeachAre you looking to buy or stay at a place in Myrtle Beach? It can be hard to decide on which area to choose as there are attractions in each location. Twelve unique communities are encompassed in the area known as Myrtle Beach. A lively downtown area, loads of natural beauty and historic areas can be found in and around the Myrtle Beach area. This area has grown in popularity and continues to attract new and returning visitors every year.

Potential buyers whoneed larger accommodations may want to look for a spacious condo with multiple bedrooms, those looking for smaller spaces may want an accommodation close to the action, and others may want a more low-key area that includes beach accessibility but with less congestion than the most popular areas. One's own objectives and budget may influence which area of Myrtle Beach may be most suitable for an upcoming vacation. What do visitors and possible future residents need to know about the different areas of Myrtle Beach?

North Myrtle Beach

Homeowners and visitors like the North Myrtle Beach area as it includes numerous attractions and shopping options. Condo-style accommodations offer multiple bedrooms for travelers. North Myrtle Beach attractions include:

  • Alligator Adventure
  • Tanger...

6 Ways To Improve Home Security

6 Ways To Make Your Home SaferToday, there are more ways than ever for homeowners to protect their home and both everyone and everything in it. But with so many options available, homeowners may be at a loss for where to start, so here are six of the different simple and high-tech ways to improve home security. 

1. Buy Smart Cameras and Sensors

Security cameras and sensors are more accessible than they have ever been, and with smart technology, they’re easier to monitor than ever. Homeowners can purchase smart security cameras to place in and outside their home that can be accessed via any smart device, so checking in on home is only a few clicks or taps away. Smart sensors can be placed on nearly any door or window and can notify the homeowner by either text or email if the thing it’s attached to moves during a specified time.

 2. Change the Locks

Changing a home’s locks is especially handy when it has just been purchased from another owner. Although all they keys are supposed to be turned over to the new owner at closing, there’s no way to be certain if other copies of the key were given to the previous owner’s friends or family and forgotten about, so homeowners should take initiative to change the locks soon after moving in.

3. Put Emergency Keys in a Creative Spot

Most homeowners like having...

Best Tools To Keep At Home And Why

Tools Every New Homeowner Should HaveHomeowners need tools. Having the right tools on hand can make it easier to complete DIY projects and can make home maintenance easier as well. Knowing what tools to keep on hand can make homeownership simpler and more rewarding.

Hammer and Nails

A hammer and nails are the two most basic types of tools that must be kept in the house. A hammer and nails can make it possible to hang pictures and decorations, build small structures and make home repairs. Many homeowners find it helpful to keep a variety of hammers on hand.

For small jobs around the house, a small ballpeen hammer kept in a drawer is convenient. For hammering a nail into a stud, a 16 or 20 ounce hammer is necessary. In addition to a ballpeen hammer, many homeowners need a claw hammer for removing nails.

Screwdriver and Screws

Homeowners need two types of screw drivers on hand for tasks like installing shelves, hanging blinds and assembling furniture. A Philips screwdriver is a type of screwdriver with a plus-symbol-shaped end. A flat-head screwdriver has an end shaped like a minus symbol. Both are necessary for completing standard tasks. Homeowners also benefit from keeping a variety of screws and anchors on hand for projects as they pop up.

Wrench, Allen Wrench and Plumber's Wrench

There's a big difference between a standard wrench, an Allen wrench...

Must-See Attractions in South Carolina

Attractions and Activities in South CarolinaAs one of the original 13 colonies, South Carolina is an ideal state for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts to explore. A climate that remains warm even in the colder months lends itself to road trips throughout the Palmetto state. If a trip to South Carolina is on your calendar, here are some stops you won't want to miss.

Fort Sumter National Monument

History buffs, particularly those with a special interest in the Civil War, will want to visit the Fort Sumter National Monument, operated by the National Park Service. Textbooks link the start of the war to April 12, 1861, when Confederates opened fire on this Federal post. Union forces surrendered after 34 hours and continued to try for almost four years to regain the fort. Since the site is on an island in the Charleston Harbor, you'll take a boat ride to reach it. Tours last approximately 2 ½ hours.

Brookgreen Gardens

Where can you take in a renowned sculpture garden, history, zoo, and art on the same visit? Brookgreen Gardens has all of these and more. With a Murrells Inlet location, this is an easy side trip when you're in the area. Kids and adults both love the boat rides that morph into lessons in history plus the conservation information available at the butterfly house. During the winter holidays, more than 5,500 hand-lit candles and sparkling lights plus a backdrop of holiday music help visitors feel a special glow. Learn some fascinating facts about natural history while taking in the 17...

How to Budget for Closing Costs

What Closing Costs Will You Pay?Home buyers and sellers will hear the term closing costs bandied about constantly. They may not know exactly what they are and what they cover, but they know there's a bit of a power struggle going on with who's going to pay for them. It's a general rule that they're covered by the buyer, but the seller may choose to pay for them in an effort to sweeten the deal. But before accepting or negotiating an offer, it helps to know exactly what closing costs are first.

Services Rendered

Closing costs are paid to the lender and affiliated professionals for any and all work that must be completed before the loan is officially processed and closed. Buyers are required to receive paperwork that states both the estimate of the loan and disclosure of all fees. When it comes to the lump sum of money a buyer pays, it typically amounts to between 2 and 5% of the total purchase price of the home. While a 3% range may not sound like a lot, it could be thousands of dollars worth of additional costs on top of what a home buyer is already paying.

How Costs Are Totaled

Closing costs vary based on the work done to the home as well as the circumstances behind the home loan. Part of budgeting for closing costs is picking a loan that will subvert at least some of the additional fees. Closing costs vary based on whether or not buyers choose an adjustable-rate or a fixed mortgage, so research is pivotal when it comes to picking a lender for your Market Common home.

They also...

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 homeowner's 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 Homeowner's 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, like liability insurance to protect homeowners from legal action in the event that someone is injured on the property.

Is Homeowner's 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.

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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...

6 Ways to Stay Organized While Moving to a New Home

Stay Organized While Moving to a New HomeMoving can be a chaotic time. Between packing every last thing into a box and making sure it gets onto the moving truck and then unpacking at the new home, it can be a wonder that anyone is able to keep track of it all. Here are six strategies homeowners can use while moving into a new home to stay as organized as possible.

1. Start Early

Packing an entire home’s worth of possessions is going to take a long time, and there’s no way it can be done in the two days before the move date. Starting early can help prevent the rush right before the deadline where everything gets thrown into the nearest box, and it can also allow the homeowner to take inventory of everything they have so nothing gets lost or overlooked. 

2. Get Rid of Excess

Packing to move can be an excellent time to really sort through possessions and weed out things that are old, broken, or never used. Space is limited on the moving truck, so it’s important for homeowners to get rid of the things they no longer want or need. This can making packing much more efficient because homeowners don’t have to worry about as many boxes making it from point A to point B.

3. Pack One Room at a Time

When packing to move to a new home, it’s easy to get disorganized. However, homeowners can help keep everything in order by packing...

How to Make Your Home Stand Out in a Buyer’s Market

6 Ways To Make Your Home Stand Out in a Competitive MarketSelling a home can be tricky, and selling a home in a buyer’s market where there are far more homes than there are buyers can be difficult for homeowners who are unfamiliar with good strategies to make their home more appealing to buyers. These strategies can be used by any homeowner, new or experienced, to help their home sell in a buyer’s market.

Take High Quality Pictures For Online Listings

Chances are, the first time a buyer will see a home is in an online listing, so it’s important for the homeowner to have lots of pictures available. The more pictures that are available online, the more buyers may be enticed to come visit it in person, where they can truly fall in love with the home.

Taking pictures is easier now than ever because of the ever-increasing quality of cell phone cameras, so homeowners shouldn’t feel the need to go out and buy a brand new camera just to sell their home. However, it’s worth noting that if a seller can’t take professional quality pictures on their own, they ought to consult a professional to ensure their home’s photography stands out.

Clean and Get Rid of Clutter Before Showing

Buyers love to see clean homes because it means they actually get to see the home, rather than all the things that fill it. Some things...

Are Damaged Foundations Fixable?

Can You Fix Foundation Damage?Conventional wisdom says to walk away from a home in need of foundation repair. But are there exceptions to this rule? In some cases, foundation damage is fixable—and home buyers who've fallen in love with a house can proceed with purchase, whether in Grande Dunes or elsewhere. In other cases, it really is best to walk away.

Easy Fix: Settled Foundations

Slabjacking shifts a settled foundation back to its original place using grout. This is an inexpensive way to restore a foundation that is no longer level. Costs stat at $500. Slabjacking is recommended in areas where the soil is unlikely to shift. If an engineer feels the home or surrounding soil will experience structural shifts, they will suggest a more permanent - and pricey - repair, such as underpinning. This costs anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for every pier that lifts the home's foundation. Since this can become one of the pricier ways to repair a foundation, home buyers need to do the math, then decide.

It Depends: Cracked Foundation

Concrete is prone to cracking as it dries, so home buyers may notice cracked foundations on newer homes. As a general rule, cracks that are less than 1/4-inch thick are easy to fix by sealing the foundation.

Horizontal cracks and step cracks (which resemble a staircase) are big red flags. Water can easily penetrate these cracks,...

Are Residential Solar Panels the Right Choice for You?

Should You Get Solar Panels?Many homeowners are interested in reducing energy costs with the addition of solar panels? There are a number of benefits but for some homeowners, there may be additional concerns to consider. What should homeowners know about residential solar panels before leasing or buying a solar panel system?

Get more information on residential solar panels today.

Solar Panels Work

Costs have come down since the introduction of solar panels, making the technology more affordable for the average homeowner. Advantages of solar energy include the generation of energy sustainably when compared to traditional sources of energy. Installation costs and maintenance of solar panels can be reduced when homeowners choose to buy solar panels and take advantage of federal and state tax credits and incentives. Homeowners can use solar panels in the quest to become more self-sufficient and build in area where there may be no utility grid.

Solar panels can last for up to 30 years and many panels come with warranties. Those who choose to lease a system may have fewer upfront cost and relegate the maintenance to a third party but they do not benefit from many of the available incentives for homeowners. It is not only hot areas like ...

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 the home's condition and...

5 Upsides to Downsizing Your Home: How Less Can Be More

Five Upsides to Downsizing Your HomeThe old saying, “Sometimes less is more” can certainly hold true when it comes to the benefits of downsizing the home. While it's many owner's pride and joy for years and years, there often comes a time when the glorious of that spacious home loses its luster. After all, it takes a lot of time and money to run a large dwelling, so many owners are looking into downsizing the home for some of the following benefits.

1. Less Overall Stress Can Promote Greater Health and Happiness

Excessive stress affects the mind and the body, triggering signals that can slow down numerous essential functions that keep individuals healthy. In fact, stress has been linked to several leading causes of death in recent decades, with heart conditions being at the top of the list. It's not a secret that financial stress is a top concern of most individuals, especially those with high mortgages and/or interest rates scraping to the bottom of their bank accounts. Downsizing is likely to reduce one's mortgage, taxes, repair bills, and—in some cases—can even eliminate mortgage debts entirely. With these burdens eased, many homeowners feel rejuvenated, less stressed out, and more satisfied overall.

2. Less Home Equals More Energy Savings

Unless it operates on a solar panel system, one of the downsides to living in a larger abode are greater energy expenses. Electrical expenses for heating and cooling in a smaller home will decrease, especially when using energy efficient appliances and implements. Water reduction...

Eco-Friendly Flooring Options for Green Homes

Environmentally Friendly Flooring OptionsWhen people think of green homes, they usually think of things like solar panels and smart thermostats that adjust themselves automatically. However, a home doesn’t need the latest smart technology to be more environmentally friendly—in fact, even choosing flooring options made with renewable resources can help make a home just that much more green. Here are some different eco-friendly flooring options homeowners can consider for their own green homes, whether they install it themselves or hire a professional.

Bamboo Flooring

A highly versatile wood, Bamboo can be seen everywhere from tableware to decorations for the garden and beyond. However, it’s also an alternative to hardwood floors because of its durability and ease of installation. Unlike trees which take 20 years to reach maturity before they can be cut down, it takes bamboo just three to five years to reach maturity.

Bamboo floors cost around $5-7 per square foot.

Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring

For homeowners who love the look of hardwood floors but are concerned about deforestation, reclaimed hardwood can be a great alternative. Reclaimed wood can come from any number of sources such as old barns and decks that were taken down, and reusing this wood keeps other trees from being cut down.

Reclaimed hardwood floors cost around $8-11 per square foot.

Glass...

How to Sell a Home with Unpermitted Work

What to Do When Your Home Has Unpermitted WorkWhen it comes to renovating or improving a home, owners are supposed to complete all work within the letter of the law. This means they may need official permits granted by the city in order to add on a new bathroom, break ground on a pool, or install a skylight in the ceiling. Because different neighborhoods have different rulings and homes can frequently change hands, it's not uncommon for homes to have unpermitted work. Learn more about what constitutes unpermitted work, how it affects the buyer's decision, and what sellers can do about it.

The Nature of Permits

No matter how skilled a contractor a homeowner might be, a local official has no way of verifying just how safe their work is. Permits are designed to ensure the stability of the home isn't compromised during a renovation or repair, and the specific rules about which jobs need them and which jobs don't are determined at the local level. In certain cases, owners may be required to hire professionals, regardless of their own expertise when it comes to the work.

The Nature of Homes

Homeowners, in Cherry Grove or elsewhere, may choose to complete renovations without a permit for any number of reason. They may be trying to skirt property taxes or just save money on hiring contractors. Some owners don't know that they need to get permits, and some just flat out ignore the rules. If there's no one around...

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 the buyer of the property. This contingency...

PMI Basics: What Home Buyers Should Know About Putting Down Less Than 20 Percent

PMI Basics for Prospective Homeowners With Low Down PaymentsIt can take considerable time to save enough money to put down 20 percent in order to buy a new home. This leaves buyers looking at mortgage products that may require private mortgage insurance or PMI. Many buyers continue toward homeownership without having a substantial down payment.

It is possible to get into a home but buyers will be paying a lender more money until sufficient equity exists using a conventional mortgage loan. Conventional home loans are often approved for such borrowers with the requirement of a PMI. Borrowers have little choice in rates and lenders when it comes to PMI. Understand more about PMI and a convention home loan today.

Is PMI Necessary?

When a home buyer needs to make a down payment of less than 20 percent, they may be required to pay private mortgage insurance or PMI. PMI is often required when there is less than 20 percent of home equity in a home and an owner needs to refinance a mortgage. Unfortunately for buyers, PMI payments do not help build equity.

Fees vary on PMI. Interest rates on PMI can depend on a borrower's credit score. Tax deductions related to PMI and PMI premium have been known to change. Premiums may be a significant factor in determining interest rates on this loan. Homeowners will make monthly payments but not for the extent of the life of a home mortgage.

How Does PMI Safeguard Lenders?

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When Should You Replace Your Roof?

Signs You Should Replace Your RoofThe roof is one of the most important parts of any home. It keeps everything inside safe from all forms of weather and is built to take a beating from the elements. But how do homeowners determine when it’s time to replace their home’s roof? Here are 7 signs that it’s time to think about repairing or replacing the roof.

The Roof is More Than 20 Years Old

On average, a roof lasts about 20–25 years. However, other factors, such as ventilation and the style of roof, also play into how long a roof will last—there is some wiggle room. But from 20 years and beyond, the homeowner should be looking for signs that it’s time to find a replacement.

Shingles are Curled or Misshapen

In order to do their job, shingles should be flat and straight. Curled shingles can be caused by poor ventilation or improper installation, but if the roof is older, it’s likely that it’s just a natural part of the shingles’ lifespan. When curled shingles are seen, it’s time to start looking into a replacement roof or other roof repair.

Cracked Shingles

If the roof’s shingles are cracked, it’s typically a sign of wind damage or cold weather. Just a few cracked shingles can be replaced, but if there’s cracking all over the roof, the homeowner should start planning to replace it.

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