Myrtle Beach Summer Camps for Kids

Myrtle Beach Summer Camp | Grand Strand Summer CampsOne of the great parts of living in the Myrtle Beach area is that there is always something to do, something going on and plenty of fun. Summer is for playing and making new friends, when you’re a kid. What better way to get the most out of summer than to take advantage of some of the top-notch summer camp programs for kids all over the Grand Strand. Here are a few to check out:

YMCA of Coastal Carolina/ Claire Chapin Epps YMCA
Ahhh, the Y. The more times change, the more they stay the same. You can always count on the local YMCA for great summer programs. Their summer camp programs include swimming, sports, bowling, arts and crafts, gym time, science, and even yoga and Zumba for kids.

Thomas Gymnastics
Thomas Gymnastics hosts one of the most popular summer camps in town. Each week features a new topic, games, crafts and a special field trip. Kids get a new t-shirt for each week as well.

North Myrtle Beach Aquatic Center
The summer camp at the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic Center offers a little bit of everything. Every week has a fresh theme and activities include swimming, movies, arts and crafts, games in the gym and more.

Carolina Forest Community Church Sports Summer Camps
Carolina Forest Community Church offers sports summer camps to keep kids active. Sports include basketball, baseball, Jr. Elite Football and Football Elite.

Pepper Geddings Recreation Center
Pepper Geddings Rec Center offers a variety of sports and activities-focused summer camps. A few options include lacrosse, volleyball, soccer, beach camp, basketball, triathlon and recreation camp.

Coastal Carolina University Sports and Kids Camps
CCU hosts a variety of sports-focused camps including volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, football and lacrosse. They also offer weekly kids camps for kids ages 6 to 10 with a variety of featured themes throughout the summer.

Summer goes by way too fast to spend any of it being bored. Thankfully, there are a number of great summer camps to keep your kids active and having fun all over the Grand Strand.

Staging to Sell: Best Houseplants for Low-Light Homes and Condos

Staging to Sell Houseplants | Myrtle BeachHouseplants add a feeling of vibrancy and freshness to the home. Many plants are also great for improving indoor air quality as they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Many types of plants also help absorb impurities from the air. If you would like to add plants to your home while staging to sell but have concerns about low-light conditions, there are a number of plants that will work well in your space. Here are just a few to consider:

1. Ferns – Ferns are some of the oldest plants on earth. Ferns flourished as far back as before the dinosaurs. With this long history, they’ve adapted to nearly any kind of environment – including low-light conditions found in many condos and town homes.

2. Golden Pothos – This viney plant is one of the most popular choices because they are hardy and hold up to the most wilted of green thumbs. The Golden Pothos grows well in dry, dark conditions, weaving its vines and heart-shaped leaves around planters and pots. This handsome houseplant is also on the list of top indoor air purifying plants.

3. Lucky Bamboo – Lucky Bamboo is also known as Water Bamboo, Friendship Bamboo, Ribbon Dracaena and Chinese Water Bamboo… but it isn’t part of the bamboo family at all! Lucky Bamboo is actually a member of the Dracaena family and grows well in nearly any kind of conditions. In feng shui, they are symbols of good fortune – especially if the plant was given as a gift.

4. Snake Plant – This plant is also called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and is a good choice for both low-light conditions and for helping with indoor air quality. Experts recommend Snake Plants for the bedroom as it does its best work converting carbon dioxide into oxygen during the night while you’re sleeping.

5. Spider Plant – Spider plants are easy to grow and thrive in low-light and artificial light environments. They’re called Spider Plants for the smaller spiderettes that hang down from the main plant.

Including houseplants in your home staging is a good bet. Plants make a space feel lively and fresh. If you’re selling a condo or town home, you have likely dealt with low-light conditions. When staging to sell, you don’t want your plants to be withering and wilting – not a good impression to give buyers. Stick with plants that thrive in low-light conditions, like the ones on our list and you’ll keep things green and the air clean.

Rising Interest Rates Ahead: A Speed Bump for Myrtle Beach Buyers?

Rising Interest Rates Myrtle BeachMortgage interest rates are rising, and in some cases taking steep jumps upward. Current mortgage rates have toppled the previous high rates from 2011. While home values also continue to rise, what is in store for new homebuyers in Myrtle Beach?

Rising Interest Rate Speed Bumps

Rising interest rates can add speed bumps for buyers looking to make the switch to home ownership in the Myrtle Beach area. Here are just a few of those speed bumps:

  • Higher mortgage payments – Even a small rise in mortgage interest rates increases monthly payments and can add up to thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the mortgage. For buyers who don’t have much wiggle room in their budget, rising interest rates could put home ownership out of reach.
  • Loss of buying power – As interest rates climb, buyers lose buying power. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much. For every one quarter of one percent interest rate increase, buyers lose about 3% buying power.
  • Puts buyers on a tight timeline – For buyers who are in the market for a starter home or have a budget within the lower range of home values in the area, rising interest rates create a tight timeline for buyers. For these buyers, time is of the essence to find a home before rising home values combined with rising interest rates price them out of the market. With available inventory still low nationally, these buyers are caught in a perfect storm with the clock ticking.

Rising Interest Rate Pluses

Rising interest rates aren’t all bad news. Here are a few positives of increasing mortgage interest rates:

  • Stabilizes the market – The frantic pace of the real estate market over the last couple of years sent home values soaring, got buyers locked into bidding wars and resulted in the lowest inventory for sale in decades. No market can sustain these conditions indefinitely. Fewer buyers apply for mortgage financing when rates are higher, which will allow the market to balance out between available inventory and qualified buyers.
  • Increases number of homes for sale – The last couple of years have been a strong seller’s market, with far fewer homes in sale inventory than needed to meet the demand of potential buyers. With fewer buyers applying for mortgages, the number of homes available for sale in most markets will increase. This gives the buyers who are looking to buy a better selection of homes and helps avoid bidding wars.
  • Sign of economic improvement – The increase in mortgage interest rates is a positive sign of economic recovery for both the real estate industry and the overall national economy.

It’s true that rising interest rates could push the price of home ownership out of reach for some buyers in the Myrtle Beach area. However, on the positive side, when interest rates rise, it helps increase the number of homes for sale and balance out the market. If you are interested in buying a home, the time is now. Interest rates are expected to continue to increase at least through the end of this year, and some predict it to continue through at least 2020. Don’t wait to find your dream home!

Low Ceilings? 6 Tips and Tricks to “Raise the Roof” for Buyers

Low Ceilings | Myrtle Beach BuyersAs high and vaulted ceilings have surged in popularity the last few years, the standard ceiling height of just a couple of decades ago feels low and cramped. If you are listing your home, you want to make it feel as spacious and open as possible. But, how do you create that spacious feeling in a home with lower ceilings? We’ve got some handy tips and tricks right here for you!

1. Use mirrors strategically – When used with purpose, mirrors are a great way to add the illusion of space and height to a room. Choose tall mirrors that have generous width (as opposed to skinny tall mirrors). Place them in the room where they’ll capture the most light and fullest view of the room. This will create the sense of height as well as reflect around more light, increasing brightness and the impression of visual space.

2. Nix ceiling fixtures – When you have a low ceiling, anything mounted to or hanging from the ceiling only adds to that low, cramped feeling. Get rid of ceiling fans, pendant lights, chandeliers and any other fixture that hangs from the ceiling. Use wall sconces with lighting that points upward and other wall-mounted lighting options to create open space from the head to the ceiling.

3. Paint with intention – Paint ceilings in a light neutral tone that is lighter than the walls. Additionally, choose high gloss paint. The shine of the high gloss paint reflects light better and creates a more spacious feeling.

4. Go down low with furniture – Tall and bulky large furniture crowds the room and makes low ceilings more noticeable. Opt for a low-profile couch, tables and chairs. Low-profile furnishings allow more open space between the tops of furniture and the ceiling, creating the illusion of height.

5. Shift artwork up – Conventional advice is to hang most artwork and wall decor around eye-level. In spaces with low ceilings, shift hanging decor and art a few inches higher than eye-level to elongate the lower half of the room.

6. Hang curtains high – Many people hang curtains in relation to the height of the window. In a home or room with low ceilings, it’s better to place the curtain rods so that curtains hang from several inches above the window. Just make sure the bottom of curtains are about an inch from the floor. This maximizes the length of the room for the eye and makes the ceiling seem higher.

When you are ready to list your home, you always want to make it shine. If your home has low ceilings, use these tips to create the illusion of height and space to “raise the roof” in the perception of buyers.

Buying A Home: Top 6 Questions Buyers Ask

Buying A Home | Myrtle Beach RealtorBuying a home requires a lot of decisions from the buyer. What area would the buyer like to live in, what size of home is ideal, what style of home and even whether to buy one that needs some fixing up or one that is ready to move into. With so many decisions to make, it’s understandable that buyers have a lot of questions as well. Here are the top 6 questions buyers have when buying a home:

1. Should I meet with a mortgage lender/bank before I begin looking for a home?
Yes! At minimum, you’ll want to get pre-qualified, or even better pre-approved so you know how much your lender will finance for your new home. They’ll also be able to tell you about any special programs or incentives you might qualify for, such as down-payment assistance. Also, when you are ready to put in an offer, the seller will know you’ve already started the process and are a serious buyer.

2. Do I really need a buyer’s agent/ realtor? And who pays for their services?
Buying a home can be a complex process with multiple rounds of negotiations, a ton of paperwork and hours of research looking for homes that meet your needs. If it sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. A great buyer’s agent handles all of the busy work, finds great homes for you to view and sets up the appointments to see them (showings) and is with you through the entire process of placing an offer and getting the home you want under contract. Typically, the seller pays the fees/commissions for both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent in the majority of cases.

3. How many homes should I look at before choosing one?
A great buyer’s agent will tell you, “as many as it takes to find the right one for you.” However, it’s helpful to keep local market conditions in mind. There might be a limited number of homes available in your desired area that meet your needs and price range. Being open-minded about additional neighborhoods and home options could help you find something wonderful that you weren’t expecting.

4. What is earnest money?
Earnest money, also called a Good Faith Deposit is a deposit given to the seller’s agent and held in escrow by the real estate company they work with. It demonstrates the buyer’s interest and intent to purchase the home. At closing, the earnest money deposit is subtracted as money already paid toward the sale.

5. If I own a home currently and am buying a new home, how does that process work? Do I buy a new home first or sell my current one first?
This question is a little more difficult to answer. The best thing to do is to talk with your realtor about conditions in your market and ask what their recommendation is. There are good and bad points to either option. If you buy a new home before selling your current home, the good point is that you already know where you will be moving. The down side is when finalizing the purchase of the new home depends on the sale of the current one. If your current home doesn’t sell quickly; the seller of your new home might back out and sell to a more immediate buyer. However, if you sell your current home before you find and purchase your new home, you could face a period of time with no place to live.

6. What happens after my offer is accepted?
A list of things take place after the seller accepts your offer, such as inspections, final appraisal, title, survey, abstract, other paperwork required for closing, finalizing mortgage process with lender, any fixes resulting from inspections, final walk-through and then closing.

Buying a home is a major milestone, but the process doesn’t have to be a mystery. We’ve covered the answers to the top 6 questions buyers have when buying a home. Your Myrtle Beach realtor, James Haas, is your step-by-step partner to helping you find and buy the home of your dreams.

Selling Homes: Top 7 Questions Sellers Ask

Selling Homes | Myrtle Beach Listing AgentSelling a home is a multi-step process and transaction. This process and transaction works and looks differently on the seller’s side than it does on the buyer’s side. Here, we answer the top 7 questions sellers have when selling homes:

1. Do I really need a listing agent/ realtor to sell my home?
A better question isn’t if you really need one but instead, what benefits does having a listing agent give you? An experienced listing agent has systems and processes in place to get your listing posted on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and also through their established marketing channels to get your home noticed by as many buyers and realtors as possible. They also handle the piles of (often complex) paperwork, managing showings, help determine appropriate listing price and negotiate with the buyer and buyer’s agent when you receive an offer.

2. How do I know what price to list my home for?
This is where your listing agent comes in handy. They look at multiple factors, such as the neighborhood, quality of schools, condition of home, size of home, recent appraisal and comparable listings from your area to help guide you on pricing your home to sell.

3. Should I have my home staged?
In most cases, hiring a professional home stager is a solid idea. In general, homes that have been professionally staged sell for an average 20% higher price and also 88% faster than homes that have not been staged.

4. How long does it take a home to sell?
The answer to this question can vary quite a bit depending on market, quality of neighborhood and how many other homes are for sale nearby. On average, most industry experts recommend to plan to cover the mortgage and monthly expenses for 90-100 days after you list the home until it sells.

5. Should I be present for showings?
No. If at all possible, it is best that the seller is never present for showings. Having the seller listening in makes buyers uncomfortable. When buyers are uncomfortable, they are more likely to spend less time in the home and less likely to place an offer.

6. What costs do sellers have to cover?
Sellers generally cover the following costs: Brokerage fees/realtor commissions (both listing and buyer’s agents), usual monthly mortgage payments while home is listed but not yet sold, taxes, title search fees, any repairs found needed during inspection or any seller concessions and real estate attorney fees.

7. What should be included in the sale of the house?
When you list a home, anything the buyer sees beyond personal possessions could be requested. Typically, shelves, draperies, mirrors and some custom artwork or fixtures designed for the home, specifically are expected to be included. However, it is a good rule to remove anything you don’t want to part with. It’s not common but some buyers will request indoor furnishings, outdoor grills and patio furniture to be included in the sale.

Selling a home can be both exciting and stressful. Working with a great Myrtle Beach listing agent helps take the stress out of the process and they walk you through each step so you know what to expect.

Stay Healthy with South Carolina’s Popular Local Remedies

Local Remedies South Carolina | Local honeyThe South has a reputation for bug-busting natural remedies handed down from generation to generation, and South Carolina is no exception. Learn more about two of the most popular local remedies in town. You’ll find these special items at farmer’s markets, local health food providers and local farms. Here’s how to use these popular local remedies to stay healthy in South Carolina.

Local Raw Organic Honey
To reap all of the benefits of this local remedy, it must be from a local bee farm, it must be raw and it must be organic (as much as is possible, bees are foragers after all). There are a number of reputable bee farms in the area and a number of places to find this local remedy. What do residents use it for? Most people know honey is a natural cough suppressant and sore throat soother. Honey also has a number of anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties that boost the immune system to fight off seasonal illnesses. However, most raving fans of this local remedy use it to combat allergies – especially pollen-induced allergies. In coastal South Carolina, there’s nearly always something blooming and pollenating. A spoonful a day keeps the sneezing fits at bay.

Elderberry Syrup
This local remedy might sound familiar after the particularly harsh flu season (which isn’t quite over yet) we’ve just experienced. Fans of this natural remedy were searching all over town for this hot commodity over the last several months. Local recipes for this remedy generally call for organic elderberries, local raw organic honey, cinnamon and clove.

Before you dismiss the power of elderberry syrup, it’s helpful to know that it has science on its side. Recent studies in the U.S. and Europe show extract from elderberries is effective in reducing the severity and duration of viral illnesses such as colds and flu. The elderberry syrup found locally has been used for generations to reduce swelling of the airways in respiratory illness, reduce mucous production and boost immune system response. Locals use it as a preventative treatment against the flu and to fight it off should they catch it. After flu season, elderberry syrup also helps to reduce allergy symptoms.

When a natural remedy sticks around for untold generations, it’s safe to say there is usually a good reason. Southern grandmas (and great-great-great grandmas) knew a thing or two about fighting off illnesses. Of course, if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in these remedies, don’t take chances. Like any natural treatment, if you have questions be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist before you use it.

Farmer’s Markets & Healthy Places to Eat in Myrtle Beach

Farmers Markets Myrtle BeachFarmer’s Market season is just about to start in Myrtle Beach – typically from early May through October each year. Of course, you don’t have to wait for the farmer’s markets to score healthy food as there are some great options open year-round. We’ll give you the scoop on the best shopping options to eat healthy in Myrtle Beach.

Farmer’s Markets
Most Farmer’s Markets start up the first week of May and feature lots more than just produce. Bring an environmentally-friendly reusable grocery sack and some cash for your healthy purchases. Here is your guide to area Farmer’s Markets for 2018:

  • Myrtle’s Market
    Where: Mr. Joe White Ave. and Oak Street in Myrtle Beach.
    When: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.
  • Surfside Beach Farmer’s Market
    Where: Passive Park
    When: Tuesdays from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.
  • Little River Farmer’s Market
    Where: 4460 Mineola Ave. in Little River
    When: Wednesdays from 1 P.M. to 6 P.M.
  • Carolina Forest Farmer’s Market
    Where: Carolina Forest Rec Center on Carolina Forest Blvd.
    When: Thursdays from 1 P.M. to 6 P.M.
  • North Myrtle Beach Farmer’s Market
    Where: 925 1st Ave. S. in North Myrtle Beach
    When: Fridays from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.
  • The Market Common Farmer’s Market
    Where: Along Deville Street in The Market Common
    When: Saturdays from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.
  • Conway Farmer’s Market
    Where: Laurel Street and 2nd Ave. in Conway
    When: Saturdays from 8 A.M. to 1 P.M.

Healthy Grocers (Year-round)
If Farmer’s Markets aren’t your scene or it’s during the cooler part of the year, there are a growing number of affordable options for organic produce at healthy grocers. Note: You can find some organic options at most area grocery chains, such as Kroger, Lowe’s Foods and Publix. In this section, we’ll focus on alternatives to those chains where it’s common to find a wider variety of options in many cases.

  • Aldi (Three area locations)
    Conway/Carolina Forest: 101 Wild Wing Blvd., Conway, SC 295256
    South: 2625 Beaver Run Blvd., Surfside Beach, SC 29575
    North: 244 N. Kings Highway, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
    Aldi’s three locations are new to the Grand Strand area. Known in many areas as a discount grocer, Aldi stores carry a surprising amount of organic options. It’s definitely worth a visit to score organics at an affordable price.
  • Bay Naturals (Two area locations)
    Myrtle Beach: 7611 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC 29572
    North: 556 Highway 17 N., North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
    Bay Naturals is a healthy grocer that carries products similar to what you would find at Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s (both of which do not presently have locations in the Grand Strand). Generally, you’ll find a larger selection of organics and your favorite national brands of natural and organic foods and other products.
  • The Fresh Market
    7747 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC 29572
    Similar to Bay Naturals, The Fresh Market is a more traditional healthy grocer with a good selection of organic produce and familiar national brands of healthy eating options and other household products. This location is the only one in the Grand Strand currently, though there are additional locations in surrounding areas and states.

There are lots of places to find healthy, organic foods around the Grand Strand. Farmer’s markets offer the freshest produce and support our local farmers, while providing lots of interesting healthy food finds. When the chill is on (or the heat), healthy grocers are another good option to find fresh organic produce.

Moving To Myrtle Beach Checklist

Moving To Myrtle Beach ChecklistMaking a major move to a new state has tons of details to keep track of throughout the entire process. The to-do list doesn’t end with unloading your belongings at your new home. There are a few things you’ll want to prepare for ahead of time or tasks to plan time for when you get here. We’ve got a handy checklist right here for you to make it easier.

  • Get your South Carolina Driver’s License or REAL ID. We list this step first because taking care of this task first makes some other tasks much easier. REAL ID is now available in South Carolina. What you’ll need to bring with you (certified copies or original documents required): Proof of identity, date of birth and U.S. citizenship (usually all three are covered by a birth certificate), Social Security card, proof of SC vehicle insurance and two bills or official pieces of mail to prove physical residence.
  • Get South Carolina license plates for your vehicle. You have only 45 days from the day you arrive in South Carolina to transfer your vehicle registration from your old state to SC. Failure to do so will cost you in the form of fees and fines. The first step to registering your vehicle in SC is to pay personal property taxes on the vehicle at your county treasurer’s office. Take the official original receipt from your property tax payment, your SC driver’s license/REAL ID (see first item in the checklist), filled out title application, registration and title documents from your previous state, proof of SC vehicle insurance, $250 Infrastructure Maintenance Fee (only pay this one time when first registering vehicle in SC) and the money for title and registration fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles to complete your vehicle registration and get your SC license plates.
  • Set up account and start date with utility company. It’s a good idea to take care of this prior to your move-in date as many local utility companies require an up-front deposit from new residents to start service. Deposits are typically between $200 to $400 and are credited to your account or released back to you after 13 consecutive paid months of service. Depending on whether you’ll be moving to a single-family house or condo/townhome, you might need to also set up water and trash services as well.
  • Register children for school. Many schools begin registrations before the end of the previous school year. Check with your realtor on which schools are assigned for the children in your area.
  • Register to vote. To review options for voter registration and required documents, see
  • Register yourself and your children for an ocean and beach safety class. This is very important if it will be your first time living in a coastal area. This class teaches common safety issues and beach awareness. Topics covered often include understanding advisories and swimming restrictions, jellyfish safety, recognizing/escaping riptides and keeping beaches safe for local wildlife, such as sea turtles.
  • Attend a hurricane preparedness class or seminar. Hurricane season is June through November. It’s important to know your evacuation zone, how evacuation routes work if evacuation is ordered, your nearest evacuation route and closest hurricane shelters. While beach life is relaxed most of the time, living on the coast means being prepared for tropical storms and hurricanes. Most classes also provide a checklist of items you should have stocked in your hurricane supplies should a storm knock out power.

Keeping these items on your moving-to-Myrtle-Beach-checklist will ensure you check them off in a timely manner and get settled smoothly in your new Myrtle Beach home. Moving to a new state can be overwhelming, but we hope we’ve made getting set up in South Carolina a little simpler for you.

Top 6 Reasons To Hire A Home Stager

Hire A Home Stager Myrtle BeachWhen you’re preparing to list your home for sale, you want to do everything possible to get the best selling price. Many people overlook or discard the idea of hiring a professional home stager, viewing it as an unnecessary expense. However, depending on the real estate market, professional staging can boost your home’s selling price by as much as $10,000 or even more. Here are the top 6 reasons to hire a home stager.

1. Many homeowners are unable to truly look at their home and its contents objectively. A professional home stager is an outside party who will view your home the from the perspective of the buyer. With this perspective, they can recommend repairs, updates and organizational changes to create the best impression possible with buyers.

2. You only get one chance to make a first impression – and so does your home. A professional home stager’s job is focused on ensuring your home’s first impression with buyers is one that generates interest and a quick sale.

3. Professional home staging increases the perceived value of your home and helps get it sold faster.

4. Stagers use techniques that showcase unique features or potential selling points of the home so buyers see all of the things about your home that make it special.

5. Professional stagers are experts on the latest design trends buyers look for both on the national level and are experts on local decor and trends popular in your specific market.

6. Home stagers not only highlight your home’s best features but also can transform unusual or small spaces that could confuse buyers into a space with a clear and understandable purpose.

Tips for Working with a Professional Home Stager

Obviously, home stagers can bring in a lot of valuable advice and knowledge to get your home sold quickly and for top dollar. But what’s the best way to work with a home stager? We have a few tips for that too.

  • Have your in-home consultation with your home stager before removing furniture from the home. This allows them to get a clear idea of the pieces you already have that can be used in staging. The more of your existing furnishings that can be used in the staging, the more money you save by possibly avoiding the expense of furniture rental.
  • Keep in mind that your home stager is a consultant and not a mover, packer, painter or cleaning technician. Their job is in the strategy, and not the heavy lifting. You’ll be responsible for handling packing and moving items that will be relocated to storage, any painting, carpet or flooring repairs as well as the general cleaning of the home. While some stagers have associates or resources who can help you with these tasks (for a fee), he or she will not be personally hefting your curio cabinet out for you.
  • Many realtors work with professional home stagers. Check with your listing agent for their recommendations of home stagers they’ve worked with who have done great work in the past in helping get homes sold for top dollar and in record time.

Many sellers view hiring a professional home stager as an extra expense and might question if it’s worth the cost. A great staging professional more than pays for their services in the increased sales price of the home or speed of sale, in most cases. Particularly in hot real estate markets, professional staging can help your home stand out for all the right reasons.