Seller Renovation Regrets: Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes

Seller Renovation regrets Myrtle BeachWhen preparing to list your home, some updates and upgrades make sense to give you a better chance at a higher asking price. However, not every renovation pays off in the long run. Here are some of the top seller renovation regrets to help you avoid making a costly mistake.

1. Smart technology isn’t always a sure bet.
While many buyers are interested in smart home technology, few are willing to shell out major cash for it. Skipping over other more helpful upgrades in favor of adding smart home technology could come back to take a bite out of your asking price. Also keep in mind that technology changes quickly so your investment in some smart home features could be obsolete by the time you have a buyer lined up.

2. DIY can cost you more than it saves you.
When it comes to upgrades and renovations, cutting corners by making improvements yourself can backfire if you don’t have the right expertise. Incorrectly done home improvements are major turn off for buyers. If it’s worth doing to improve your chances at a quick sale or a higher asking price, it’s worth doing correctly by a professional.

3. Following the trends tends to fall flat with buyers.
Trends come and go with seeming lightning speed in our fast-paced world. When making updates or upgrades, following the current trends could take you too boldly into a style that doesn’t appeal to buyers. Avoid super trendy upgrades and stick with classics and neutrals to appeal to the greatest number of buyers.

4. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
A number of expensive home improvements can fall into this category. Redoing a roof that doesn’t need a rehab, replacing siding that is still going strong or opening up walls for insulation or plumbing updates that aren’t needed are just a few expensive examples. These renovations are some of the most costly on our list and rarely result in a solid return on investment for sellers. So, the old adage of “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” certainly applies.

Preparing your home to list naturally includes some quick fixes and minor updates to help you sell fast and for a good price. However, some sellers decide to tackle renovations that are unnecessary or won’t give them the return they anticipate. Before making any major changes to your home, talk to your listing agent about what updates will pay off and what updates will just be a big payout.

Looking To Buy A Vacation Rental Property? 5 Things To Consider

Buy A Vacation Rental Property Myrtle BeachLooking to buy a vacation rental property in the Myrtle Beach Area?  It can be a very lucrative move. Before you take the plunge, though, you’ll want to consider these 5 things first.

1. Location, location, location – When it comes to vacation rental properties in the Grand Strand, location is a big deal if you want to attract guests who will pay a premium for your rental. Beachfront homes and condos are going to be the top attention-getters from the vacation rental crowd. While some other locations around town are also in demand, such as The Market Common, make sure you discuss the pros and cons for any location you are considering with your realtor.

2. Would you rent it? – When making such a major investment, it’s important to ask yourself if you would be happy renting the property for your own vacation. If the answer is no, make sure you are prepared to make necessary upgrades to change that no to a yes. If you wouldn’t be happy staying there for your own vacation, chances are that not many guests will be either.

3. Plan for maintenance costs – Any kind of rental property will have higher maintenance costs than your primary residence. This is especially true of vacation rental properties. With new guests coming and going almost weekly, things will wear out, break, need replacing or repairs. Be prepared to maintain your vacation rental as reviews citing a rental in disrepair will cost you in total bookings and can lower the rental price you can command. Also, keep in mind the turn-over between guests and plan for those cleaning and turn-over service costs as well.

4. Consider insurance costs – Many vacation rentals require special commercial insurance because it is an income-generating property. The insurance cost for properly covering a vacation rental can be significantly different from the homeowner’s insurance policy you pay for on your primary residence.

5. Mortgage requirements are different – When buying a second home or investment property, the requirements to obtain a mortgage are different than you likely experienced with your primary residence. Homebuyer assistance programs are typically not available for second homes and the lender will want to see that you can afford to cover the mortgage for both properties, even if you have a lull in income from your vacation rental property.

Myrtle Beach and communities along the Grand Strand are a great place to make an investment in a vacation rental property. The key is to plan ahead for the costs of upkeep and maintenance, as well as understanding the insurance requirements. Of course, location is a big factor so make sure you and your realtor are on the same page about where you’d like your new investment to be.

2019 Housing Market Forecast: What Buyers & Sellers Need To Know

Housing Market Forecast 2019 Myrtle BeachReal estate housing market forecasters have released their predictions for 2019. They see challenges ahead that both buyers and sellers should be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect in the new year.

Millennials Will Continue as the Largest Group of Buyers

Millennials are now the largest generational group of homebuyers at 45% of all new mortgages generated. They are followed by Gen-X at 37% and the Baby Boomers at 17%. Millennials will continue to grow as the largest group of homebuyers through 2019 and into 2020, when most of them will be in their 30’s. While Millennials have different priorities and expense profiles than previous generations (such as a focus on travel and experiences plus higher levels of student loan debt), they do see the value and sense in home ownership. This trend toward practicality will continue to feed more Millennial homebuyers into the market.

More Inventory Will Be Available

Having faced a shortage of available homes to buy for the last several years, buyers will be encouraged by the increase in available inventory. However, the inventory bump will be fairly small in many housing markets. As more new construction homes come to the market, inventory will continue to grow in most areas.

Affordability Will Continue to Be an Issue

Buyers and sellers are both impacted by affordability. Continued increases in home prices paired with continued increases in mortgage interest rates will have a negative impact on buyers’ ability to afford home ownership. With less buyers able to afford the current prices and interest rates, the competition for available homes will decrease. While it will still be a “seller’s market”, sellers will have less negotiating power than they’ve enjoyed in the previous few years.

Taxes Are Still an Unknown Factor

The impact of the new tax laws that go into effect for the coming year have forecasters still scratching their heads. There are a number of different ways the new tax laws could create challenges or benefits for both buyers and sellers. It’s too soon yet to tell how the overall picture will look until after tax season ends in April.

Overall, buying a home will continue to be a solid investment for most people in the new year. However, the rising interest rates and increasing home prices could push home ownership out of reach for a sizable number of potential buyers. We will see how accurate these predictions are as we move into the new year.

Homes For Sale: Current Housing Inventory in Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand

Homes For sale Myrtle Beach Grand StrandWhile spring is known for being a hot selling season in the real estate market, there are plenty of homes available for sale right now in Myrtle Beach and communities across the Grand Strand. The increased number of new construction homes that have been completed and are currently available has eased the inventory shortage we’ve been experiencing in our area. If you are looking to buy, now is a great time before prices and mortgage interest rates make another climb. Here’s what you’ll find available around the Grand Strand:

Homes For Sale Myrtle Beach – 29572 Zip Code

The area covered by the 29572 zip code includes the desirable Acadian Shores and Briarcliffe Acres communities. These homes are situated between the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway. There are currently 600 homes available in this zip code with a median sales price around $182,000. This median sales price is a whopping 16.0% increase over last year at this time – the biggest increase of any zip code in our analysis.

Homes For Sale Myrtle Beach – 29577 Zip Code

The 29577 zip code includes areas of Myrtle Beach that are slightly south of 29572 and include neighborhoods such as Myrtlewood and Plantation Pointe. These homes are in the heart of Myrtle Beach close to all the attractions and the action. Currently, the data show 765 homes for sale in this zip code – plenty of options for any buyer. The median sales price is still reasonable at $162,000, an increase of 9.2% from this time last year.

Homes For Sale Socastee – 29588 Zip Code

Socastee and parts of The Market Common are included in the 29588 zip code area, where there are 505 available listings. Median sales prices have been fairly steady in this area, rising only 1.5% from last year and currently holding at $177,000.

Home For Sale Surfside Beach – 29575 Zip Code

Surfside Beach in the 29575 zip code is known as The Family Beach for a reason – it’s popular with families! Good schools and lots of things to do make this community a favorite of potential buyers. Surfside Beach is also the first Sensory-Friendly/Autism-Friendly community in the Grand Strand. There are 320 homes available with a median sales price of $182,000 – a 9.0% increase from last year.

Homes For Sale Carolina Forest – 29579 Zip Code

The 29579 zip code is home to the communities of Carolina Forest and Forestbrook. Carolina Forest is a master-planned community filled with new construction neighborhoods and tons of options. With 948 homes available (and counting), there is plenty to choose from in this family-oriented area. The median sales price is currently $218,000 – an increase of 8.1% over this time last year.

Homes For Sale North Myrtle Beach – 29582 Zip Code

North Myrtle Beach is the home of the state dance, The Shag, and is covered by the 29582 zip code. This area has the largest number of available homes for sale with 1,041 options for buyers to consider. The median sales price of homes in this zip code has actually fallen by 3.0% from last year and is currently $225,000. This is the only zip code in our analysis that experienced a decrease in the median sales price. So, if North Myrtle Beach is on your watchlist, now is the time to score a great deal in this community.

Home For Sale Conway – 29562 Zip Code

If you’re looking for options a hop and a skip away from the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach city limits, Conway might be right up your alley. The County Seat of Horry County, Conway is known for historic buildings and moss-draped ancient oaks. The 29526 zip code extends far beyond Downtown Conway and has 710 homes available for buyers to choose from right now. The median sales price jumped 13.7% from last year to the current price of $197,000.

If you are looking to buy a home, there is no need to wait! All of the communities we analyzed have a variety of great homes available right now. With mortgage interest rates expected to continue to rise, you can get more house for your money if you buy before the next increase. Your RE/MAX agent, James Haas, would love to show you some great homes in your budget and favorite zip code.

6 Worst Things to Find During A Home Inspection

Home Inspection Myrtle BeachA home inspection is the best thing a potential buyer can do to make sure the house they’d like to buy is safe and won’t become an expensive headache after everything is signed and sealed. What counts as an expensive headache? We’ve got a list of the top 6 worst things to find during a home inspection.

1. Underground Oil Tank – Many homes have a buried or underground oil tank on the property. Locating oil tanks underground helped protect the oil inside from extreme temperatures. Most of these old oil tanks are single-walled and made from metal – meaning leaks are common and can be happening for a long time before discovery. Typically, insurance doesn’t cover the removal and remediation required for a leaking buried oil tank. The tank must be removed along with any contaminated soil around it and disposed of as hazardous waste. The soil must be dug out until no trace of oil is found. If the leak has been going on for a while, this can be a lot of soil to remove.

2. Freon (R-22 Refrigerant) – If the home has an older HVAC unit, the coolant used in the air conditioning components could be freon. Freon is no longer manufactured due to environmental hazard. Finding that freon is the refrigerant in your cooling system could require complete replacement of the HVAC system or if the cooling part of the system can be updated for currently available refrigerants, the cost often starts at $1,000 and goes up from there.

3. Hazardous Old Building Materials – Many building materials used in the past have proven to be hazardous to human health, such as asbestos insulation, asbestos flooring materials and lead paint, to name a few. Removing and replacing hazardous materials generally requires a professional who specifically deals with these hazardous materials and can result in a large bill to ensure the safety of your family while living in the home.

4. Altered or Damaged Roof Trusses – The average person might not understand the structural importance of roof trusses in attic spaces. Inspectors frequently find that previous homeowners have cut or removed some of the roof trusses to install HVAC units, make room to fit larger items they wish to store and to “create more usable space”. Altered or damaged roof trusses compromise the structural stability of the roof. Repairs require the help of a structural engineer and usually thousands of dollars.

5. Old Decks – Many people don’t realize that decks have a limited lifespan of about 12 to 15 years. Even if the wood is in good condition, the wear and tear is often found in the fasteners that attach the deck to the house and also hold the deck together. Fasteners are made of metal and corrode and weaken over time, making the deck unstable. A surprising number of people are injured or even killed in deck collapse incidents every year. Replacing a deck at the end of its lifespan can easily cost between $10,000 and $15,000.

6. Polybutylene Piping – Polybutylene was a popular material used for plumbing in the 1980s. After a number of lawsuits in the 1990s and early 2000s, it was proven that the joints of polybutylene piping are prone to leaking and cause flooding in homes. Whenever this gray-colored old piping material is found, inspectors flag it for replacement because it isn’t a matter of if these pipes will leak, it’s a matter of when. Completely replumbing a home typically costs around $10,000 or more.

Finding any of these 6 issues during a home inspection can make or break a home’s sale. In some cases, the sellers are aware of the issues and are willing to provide concessions to fix major problems uncovered during the home inspection. If your home inspector finds any of these problems during your inspection, be sure to notify your real estate agent immediately. Your real estate agent will handle the communication with the seller’s agent or sellers.

Moving to Myrtle Beach? Top 5 Items Moving Companies Won’t Ship

Moving to Myrtle BeachMoving to a new place is exciting! However, planning your long-distance move can be a chore with lots of details you might not be expecting. One of those details that many people don’t expect is finding out that there are things moving companies often won’t ship. Let’s take a look at the top 5 things moving companies usually won’t ship.

1. Flat-screen TVs – Flat-screen TVs are easily damaged by the bumps and jostling of a move. Plasma-screen TVs are especially fragile to damage during a move. For this reason, many moving companies won’t handle or ship flat-screen TVs.

2. Fine Art – The potential for damage to a fine art piece is huge. Keep in mind that your move will include mattresses, furniture and all sizes of boxes that can shift around during shipping or transport. The best option for fine art pieces is to ship them using professional art shipping services. While these services can be costly, they generally include insurance and have the right expertise to transport your fine art in a way that avoids damage.

3. Photo Albums, Framed Photos and Boxed Photos – Photos have high sentimental value and can often be irreplaceable. Photos are easily damaged by temperature extremes and temperature changes that are common during the transport of your belongings, especially if your long-distance move is from one climate extreme to another. Many moving companies prefer to avoid the risk of damage to your photos and the special memories they represent.

4. Nail Polish – While this might sound like an unusual item for moving companies to refuse to ship, it’s actually a very risky item to include in a move. The glass bottles are easily broken or could leak – particularly due to the temperature changes your shipment could experience along the trip. Nail polish is highly flammable, so a leaking or broken bottle of nail polish poses a fire risk for the entire load of belongings.

5. Expensive Clothing and Jewelry – Moving companies don’t want to assume the risk of damage, loss or theft of your expensive clothing or jewelry. While many loads are secured, others could be packed onto a truck with belongings from another family – or a few. Many long-distance moving companies transport belongings from more than one family on one truck (this keeps cost down for everyone). This means your expensive belongings could inadvertently be unloaded with belongings from another family.

As a general rule, most moving companies won’t ship anything that is too fragile, potentially hazardous or highly valuable. Check with your moving company to make sure you have a list of items they won’t ship as each moving company can have slightly different restrictions or rules.

5 Ways Your Home Could Scare Off Potential Home Buyers

How to scare off potential home buyersHas your home been lingering on the market with not much interest from home buyers? It’s possible your home could be scaring off potential buyers. Here are 5 ways your home could be sending buyers screaming for the hills:

1. Evidence of hoarding in the home.
Long-term hoarding situations in homes result in disrepair as problems like leaks, mold and other damaging conditions can go unnoticed for a long time – sometimes years. Even if the items or the hoard is removed from the property, evidence of hoarding can linger. If your home was previously a hoarding site, it’s important to have it professionally addressed to fix any issues caused by the hoarding conditions and restore the home to sellable condition.

2. Dead bugs.
It’s important to keep your home in clean and showing-ready condition. Dead bugs on window screens, in corners and under furnishings are a major turn-off to potential buyers. While it shows that you stay on top of pest control, no one wants to see the evidence of it with visible bug carcasses.

3. Live bugs.
While dead bugs are an issue, live ones are a bigger issue. Neglecting pest control isn’t a good idea either. A few of the top offenders are fleas and bed bugs. If you have pets, make sure you use proper flea control measures for their health and well-being, and to ensure your home is flea-free. Bed bugs can hitch a ride into any home via your clothes, used furniture and your suitcase following a trip. If you even suspect a bug could be a bed bug, get your pest control company out to the home immediately. The longer they have to create an infestation, the harder they are to get rid of and the more buyers they’ll scare off.

4. Bad or lingering smells.
Any kind of strong odors can be a turn-off for potential buyers. Smells from trash, pets and even strong cooking odors can send potential buyers out the door holding their noses. The best smell for your home is no smell at all. Buyers are most drawn to homes that smell simply fresh and clean with no cloying fragrances of any kind.

5. Your prized collection.
Collections generally just look like clutter to potential buyers, no matter how organized they are. It’s best to pack away your prized collection of clown figurines, antique dolls and mounted animal heads. What is enjoyable for you can be viewed as clutter or even downright creepy to potential buyers.

When you’re selling a home, the last thing you want to do is scare off potential buyers. These 5 things could have buyers hot-footing out the front door before they ever see the positives of your home.

Sell My Home Before the End of the Year: 6 Tips to Sell Quick

Sell My House Quick Sell TipsIf you need to sell your home before the end of the year, don’t despair! There is still time and these 6 tips to help you sell quick.

1. Make sure your online listing is as enticing as possible. Create a list of features and details for your listing agent that could be enticing for buyers. Your listing agent should also take care of photos of your home, but make sure to use a professional photographer with experience shooting homes (even if this costs you some money). The more attractive your home looks online, the more people will be willing to venture out to see it in person.

2. Use stand-out features of the home as a focus for holiday decorations. Use your great cozy fireplace as a decoration focal area. That grand sweeping staircase is a great place for twinkling garland. Use that beautiful bay window for your elegantly decorated holiday tree. Just be careful not to overdo it. Keep it clean and elegant.

3. Be super flexible for showings. Keep the home clean and clutter-free so you are ready for showings at a moment’s notice. Being super flexible gives you an edge over other sellers who often restrict showings during the holiday months due to visitors or entertaining. The more potential buyers who can tour your home, the higher the chances you’ll score the quick sale you need.

4. Prioritize curb appeal. Keep leaves raked and cleaned away, clean out gutters, touch up paint, keep stairs and walkways de-iced and safe for buyers to walk on. Consider if your front door needs a fresh coat of paint, if light bulbs need replaced, and if your house numbers need a touch-up or replacement. Make the entrance looks inviting with a brand new welcome mat and a festive wreath on the door.

5. Provide incentives. Incentives can put you ahead of the rest of the other sellers. Offer an appliance fund for buyers to replace older appliances with new ones of their choice. Include extras such as TVs, sound systems, smart technology or patio furniture. Directly state that you’ll cover all closing costs. Be flexible in your negotiations.

6. Have the home pre-inspected before you list it. While buyers will likely have their own inspection, having a pre-inspection available for review by potential buyers shows that you are a motivated seller and that your home is move-in ready. As a bonus, if there are any issues found in the inspection, you can repair them and have repair documentation ready to show a buyer.

If you need to sell your home before the end of the year, time is running out! Work with your real estate agent to make sure you are doing everything possible to ensure a quick sale, including our 6 tips listed above.

Myrtle Beach Real Estate Trends in 3rd Quarter of 2018

real Estate trends Myrtle BeachOne thing realtors always have an eye on are trends in the real estate market, both nationally and locally. Keeping on top of real estate trends allows realtors to better help sellers determine asking prices for their homes and helps buyers know if a home they are interested in is worth the asking price. However, pricing isn’t the only thing realtors learn from real estate trends. Knowing the trends helps them see how available inventory is impacting sales in the area, how the rental market could be influencing the sales market and even helps them track the pace of rising home prices. As you can see, much can be learned from checking out the numbers and watching the trends. Let’s crunch some numbers!

Trends in Real Estate Sales

Compared to other areas of the country, the Myrtle Beach real estate market has enjoyed a steady, even pace of home price increases. The 3rd quarter of 2018 continues this trend of steady growth with a median home sales price of $170,000. Compared to the same period last year, the median sales price was $155,000. This shows an increase of about 10% over the last year – a reasonable and healthy rate of increase. This number covers 525 homes sold this quarter. The number of homes sold is lower than at any point in the preceding year, mostly due to low inventory available for buyers.

The median price per square foot increased 3% to $122 per square foot from the price last year of $118. Why the difference for the increase percentage in median home sales price compared to the price per square foot? Both numbers are including total sales of homes from as small as one-bedroom homes to four-bedroom homes. The biggest increases in median home sales prices by number of bedrooms from the same period of 2017 to 2018 were in three-bedroom homes (median sales price increase of 7.5%) and one-bedroom homes (median sales price increase of 3.9%). Two-bedroom homes and four-bedroom homes saw the smallest increases in median home sales prices. The mix of smaller and larger homes experiencing the higher median sales price increases keeps the median price per square foot more consistent.

How Rentals Impacted Myrtle Beach Real Estate Trends

Rentals generally follow the same formula of supply and demand that home sales follow. When the supply (inventory) is much lower than the demand (buyers or renters), prices go up. When median rental prices are higher, the more likely renters are to consider buying a home – especially if their potential mortgage payment could be lower than what they’re paying to rent. The median cost of rentals for Q3 2018 was $1,500 – only a $50 increase from the same period last year. Part of the reason rental costs have held fairly steady is an increase in the number of available rentals at 146 this quarter to 113 for the same time in 2017. With rental prices holding steady, renters have the option to wait for new constructions to help increase available inventory and provide them with more buying options.

Watching real estate trends might sound as exciting as watching paint dry, however, there is so much valuable information to learn from the trends. While realtors are always watching the trends and crunching the numbers, potential buyers can also use the trends to help determine their best time to buy.

What About Millennials & Home Buying?

Millennials | Home buying Myrtle BeachMillennials is the name for the generation after Generation X (Gen-X) that would be roughly between 18-years-old and 36-years-old today. Primarily the children of Baby Boomers, Millennials grew up during the digital age and many are old enough to remember 9/11. Millennials make up about 35% of home buyers (and growing). Let’s take a closer look at this growing demographic and how they are participating in today’s real estate market.

Traditional Buying Habits

Millennials have thus far shown themselves to be more traditional than Gen-X when it comes to their home buying preferences. Millennials are choosing to buy homes in suburbs more often than within big cities. They are also very attracted to what most people think of as a traditional starter home – a single-family detached home away from the hustle and bustle of urban areas.

However, as the inventory of traditional starter homes has been historically low the last several years, Millennials have made interesting alternative choices. For Millennials struggling to find the ideal home to buy, many have chosen to put off buying instead of settling for other real estate buying options. These buyers have increasingly turned to lifestyle-focused rental communities while waiting for the right buying opportunity.

Lenders and Millennials

Overall, Millennials are entering the real estate market with a higher amount of education-related debt than previous generations. As the real estate market has recovered after the recession, more and more lenders have recognized the unique buyer profile of Millennials and have responded by creating programs to make home ownership more attractive to them. These changes include lower down-payment requirements and allowing a higher debt-to-income ratio than would have been approved in times past. There are also a number of first-time home buyer programs that have adjusted their requirements to accommodate Millennial buyers.

Feeling the Pressure

While Millennials represent the largest and fastest growing demographic of home buyers, Generation Z (Gen Z) are just starting to come of age to enter the real estate market. Early trends of Gen Z show a generation keen to jump into the real estate market right out of the gate as a way of investing in their future and avoiding the ever-rising cycle of renting. They are expected to add even more pressure to a market with not enough inventory to match the number of buyers.

Millennials represent the largest demographic of buyers currently looking for a home. Unfortunately, low inventory of homes available coupled with the types of homes Millennials prefer are keeping prices rising as demand continues to outpace supply.