Boost Home Appeal To Buyers With These 4 DIY Projects

DIY Projects | Myrtle Beach Home Values

When you are preparing to sell your home, a few easy do-it-yourself DIY projects can make a big difference in generating interest from buyers. No need to spend lots of money on major upgrades when a few fixes can boost your home’s appeal quickly and for a reasonable cost.

DIY #1 – Pay attention to the small stuff.
New doorknobs, switch plates, outlet covers, cabinet handles and drawer pulls freshen up the look and feel of a home quickly and cost-effectively. While this update may sound like small stuff, it can have a bigger than expected impact. Quick tip: For cabinet handles and hardware, measure the space between holes or remove an existing handle to take with you while shopping. Use the old handle to make sure the new handles have the same measurements to avoid having to drill holes or hide old holes in cabinet doors–saving time and hassle.

DIY #2 – Splash it up.
A new back-splash provides an instant face-lift for your kitchen. With so many different options of materials, shapes, patterns and colors, you’re sure to find something both you and potential home buyers will love. Many home improvement stores hold classes on installing a new back-splash yourself or there are multiple tutorials online.

DIY #3 – Appeal to the front.
You’ve likely heard of curb appeal, but how about entrance appeal? Create an inviting entryway that makes potential buyers excited to come in the door and see the rest of the home. A fresh coat of paint on the front door and a new door knob and lock set instantly change the look and feel of the front of your home. Switch out the house numbers or apply a fresh coat of paint. Add potted plants on either side of the door– choose plants with rounded leaves, according to our feng shui experts. Finish the invitation with a new doormat and curious buyers will be lining up for a peek inside.

DIY # 4 – Take the crown.
Crown molding is a surprisingly easy option to boost your home’s appeal. No saws or workshop in the garage? No worries! Most home improvement stores will custom cut crown molding to the measurements you need. Just make sure to measure, double-measure, triple-measure to ensure a smooth installation for a touch of elegance potential buyers will appreciate.

These four quick and inexpensive DIY projects give your home’s appeal factor a big boost. While some seem like minor details, they can actually have a pretty big impact. Even better, these quick fixes won’t take a big bite out of your wallet!

4 Common Real Estate Myths Debunked

Myrtle Beach Real Estate Myths

Myths about buying and selling real estate are everywhere. Believing these common real estate myths are not only misleading but can also lead you to make costly mistakes. Despite being untrue, these real estate myths keep making the rounds with prospective home buyers. Time to do some debunking!

Myth 1: You can save major money by selling yourself instead of hiring a listing agent.
In truth, hiring a listing agent is the best way to ensure you get top dollar for your home sale. In some markets, hiring a listing agent can get you as much as 15% more for your home, according to research. Not to mention that time is money and the amount of time required to fill out and file all of the appropriate paperwork, research home values, market your home, and manage showings is far greater than most sellers realize. Homes sold through a listing agent also sell faster, meaning fewer mortgage payments to cover while the home sits on the market.

Myth 2: An appraisal and a home inspection are the same thing.
This myth trips up many home buyers, so let’s clear up the confusion. The home inspection is focused on verifying safety of the structure, checking operation of all systems and appliances, and testing all electrical and gas lines for any concerns. Inspections are meant to protect the homebuyer from undisclosed or unknown problems within the home. An appraisal does not check for these issues. An appraisal is done to assess the current financial value of the home to ensure the price being negotiated is within range of what the home is actually worth. While appraisals can help a buyer from paying much more than a home is worth, mostly lenders use the appraisal information in the loan approval process.

Myth 3: Only buyers with kids need to worry about quality of local schools.
Choosing a home near a top-rated school–whether you have kids or not–is a bonus. Homes near top rated schools appreciate in value up to 7% more than similar homes that are not in districts with a top-rated school. Good schools benefit you when it comes time to sell, even if your kids only have four legs and fur.

Myth 4: Home values always go up.
As the housing market crash that hit in 2007 proved, this myth is completely false. Aside from major crises, neighborhoods change over time, homes fall into disrepair, and popularity of different markets shift–all factors that can lead to home values decreasing instead of increasing.

Falling for these real estate myths can prevent you from getting top dollar for your home, or even cost you major money. You can trust your RE/MAX agent to give you the real scoop to debunk these and other common real estate myths.

Historical Price Index for Real Estate in Myrtle Beach

Historical Price Index Real Estate Myrtle Beach

Real estate agents use a number of tools to help their clients find homes that are the best fit for them and their financial future. One of these tools in the real estate toolbox is the historical price index. The historical price index is a measure of the change in home prices over time and can be a predictor of the amount of risk in the real estate market of a given area. The price index can be compared to national averages, regional averages and down to individual zip codes. Looking at the historical pricing trends of an area can help buyers better discern if purchasing real estate in that area is a good investment in the long term, based on what has happened in the past.

Myrtle Beach and Surrounding Area Index

The first way to use the historical price index is to look at data for Myrtle Beach and Surrounding Area (MSA) compared to the national averages to get a sense of risk level of the overall area. Starting analysis in the year 2001, the MSA price index was below the national average price index. As we moved farther into the new century, the MSA price index rose significantly to nearly $20,000 above the national price index–until the housing market crash of 2007.

During the years of the U.S. Great Recession, the pricing index for MSA stayed pretty close to the rapidly down-shifting national average until around 2012, when both the national index and the MSA index pulled out of a free-fall and started to rebound. From 2012 to present, the national price index has shown a fairly steep rise, buoyed by markets that rebounded quickly due to low inventory of homes for sale and an influx of new homeowners. The MSA price index has risen since 2012 as well, however, the rise has been far more slow and steady than other markets. A steady rise in the price index shows more stability and less risk for investors than a sudden sharp rise. Currently, the price index for MSA presents moderate risk for buyers on their real estate investment and predictions indicate the slow and steady pace should continue for at least several years to come.

What the MSA Price Index Means For Buyers

The great news for people looking to buy a home in Myrtle Beach or the surrounding area is that the steady and measured increase in the housing price index for the area indicates only a moderate risk for real estate investments. Markets with sharp increases are more at risk for steep drops compared to markets like Myrtle Beach with more stable and steady increases in the price index. To learn more about how your RE/MAX agent can use data from the historical price index to help you find the best real estate investment for your family, call James Haas.

A Look at Myrtle Beach Area Homes Inventory

Myrtle Beach Area Real Estate Inventory

If you are considering buying a home, you might be wondering how many homes are for sale. With many markets experiencing low housing inventory and rocketing prices, it’s helpful to know how the Myrtle Beach area home market stacks up when it comes to available inventory. Let’s take a look!

Myrtle Beach – Zip Code 29577
The popular Myrtle Beach zip code of 29577 has a surprising number of home options for sale. Current data shows 326 homes for sale in this zip code–a big jump from last year this time when 215 homes were available. If you are interested in finding a home in this zip code, now is the time! There were 48 homes sold in the past month just in this one zip code!

Carolina Forest – Zip Code 29579
The Carolina Forest zip code of 29579 also includes the area of Forestbrook and is the hottest zip code in town right now. With 705 homes for sale in this zip, this is a great time to find your dream home in this very in-demand area. This time last year, there were 461 homes for sale Carolina Forest and Forestbrook. However, don’t let the high number of homes for sale fool you–homes in this hip zip still sell fast. In fact, 93 homes sold in the 29579 zip code in the past month.

Socastee – Zip Code 29588
Perhaps the second hottest zip on our home inventory list is 29588, the Socastee area. There are currently 425 homes for sale in this area, compared to 307 homes for sale this time last year. And with 84 homes sold in this zip code in the past month, Socastee is obviously catching the eyes and hearts of buyers.

Surfside Beach – Zip Code 29575
It’s no surprise to find Surfside Beach on our home inventory list. The 29575 zip code is a long-time favorite of buyers, both locals and those new to the area. The Family Beach, as its known, has 279 homes for sale currently, compared to 242 homes for sale this time last year. In the past month, there have been 41 homes sold in the 29575 zip code. If Surfside Beach is the area you’re looking to buy in, homes are snatched up fast so you’ll want to get your search underway right away.
If you are in the market for a new home in one of these top Myrtle Beach area zip codes, now is the time to get searching. With a combined 1,735 homes available, inventory in this market offers a variety of options. However, homes are selling quickly with a combined 266 homes sold in just the past month. Your RE/MAX agent, James Haas, is your in-the-trenches expert on the latest inventory of homes for sale in Myrtle Beach.

When Mortgage Interest Rates Rise: What Can You Expect?

Interest Rates | Myrtle Beach Home BuyersMost people know that when mortgage interest rates rise, so too do monthly mortgage payments. This is a pretty obvious cause and effect phenomenon. Less obvious are changes to the way homeowners and home buyers perceive the value of real estate ownership and the impact of those perceptions on buying and selling behaviors. What to expect when interest rates rise can vary among current homeowners, previous home buyers and first-time home buyers.

Current Homeowners
When interest rates go up, current homeowners are more likely to stay put when their existing mortgage interest rate is lower than the current market rate. Rather than sell their current home to find a new home with desired features or more space, they’re more likely to work with what they already have and invest in renovations and upgrades instead. When more current homeowners stay put, the result is less inventory available for buyers. Lower available inventory often pushes up home values as well. Current homeowners are also less likely to refinance because many have a fixed-rate mortgage with a lower interest rate than they’d get by refinancing.

Previous Homebuyers
Previous homebuyers who are planning on traditional financing options with a 20% down payment will have to save up a bit longer as home values typically rise when market inventory is low. However, with less current homeowners refinancing and an overall lower number of homebuyers in the market, mortgage lenders may loosen requirements to keep new mortgage applications coming in, making it slightly easier for buyers without perfect credit to qualify for a home loan.

First-Time Homebuyers
First-time homebuyers are more likely to be scared away from buying a home as a result of rising interest rates. In fact, the number of first-time homebuyers has dropped by 10% or more in many markets after the rates began to increase in the fall of 2016. Industry experts expect the number of first-time buyers to continue to decrease as rates have inched slightly upward so far in 2017 and more increases are expected. Even small increases in mortgage interest rates can tip the affordability scale for first-times buyers, putting home ownership just out of reach.

When mortgage interest rates rise, it creates a ripple effect across the real estate market. In the current economic environment, even slight rate increases can be significant enough to leave many aspiring home buyers out in the cold. While some potential good news exists for buyers going the traditional loan route, overall, higher rates create a tighter and more expensive market. Let James Haas find the right home for you and a mortgage lender with competitive and creative solutions.

Top 10 Most Popular New Home Features in 2017

Home features Myrtle BeachBuying a home is an exciting milestone. In Myrtle Beach, the high number of newly-built homes and new construction options creates a unique opportunity to select for the features you want most, without the expense of remodeling to add those features. Here are just a few of the top requested features for new homes in 2017.

1. Smart Home Technology – As more people learn about the variety of options for smart home technology, including voice assist options from Alexa by Amazon and Google Home, the faster the demand grows for this feature.

2. Energy Star Everything – Homebuyers in the market for a newly-built home are looking for the latest in energy savings. In many cases, that means any appliance, fixture, window type, or other feature with an Energy Star certified option should be selected.

3. Above-Code Insulation – Buyers looking for a new construction home are serious about energy efficiency. Above-code insulation that provides even better cost and energy savings on heating and cooling is an in-demand new home feature.

4. Single-Story Homes – Even buyers in the market for a home with lots of room are opting for single-story homes. Single story homes, even larger ones, tend to be better in terms of energy efficient heating and cooling when compared to multi-story homes. And besides, no one really *loves* stairs.

5. Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans may sound like an odd choice for a popular features list, however, buyers are looking for lots of ceiling fans. Ceiling fans in every room or nearly every room, in Carolina rooms, on covered patios and in outdoor kitchens or living spaces are an energy efficient way to keep cool. Using a ceiling fan off-sets up to 4 degrees of cooling need, meaning 74 degrees feels like 70, and uses far less electricity.

6. Eat-In Kitchens – Formal dining rooms are great for the occasional holiday feast or big family dinner, but smaller eat-in kitchens are the hub of family life. Some buyers even forgo a formal dining area altogether in favor of a more versatile eat-in kitchen space.

7. Master Suite on Main Level – For homes that do have more than one level, buyers are flocking to options that place the master suite on the main level. Add a separate full bath (aside from the master bath) on that main level and you’ve got a buyer’s dream layout.

8. Extra Storage – Buyers expect new homes to have generously sized walk-in closets. The storage feature buyers are also looking for is extra storage space in garages, built-in organization features, extra closets, and adjustable storage options that can be configured and reconfigured to their needs over time.

9. Indoor/Outdoor Spaces – Collapsible walls and window walls that eliminate the barrier between indoor space and outdoor space are highly sought after. Add an outdoor kitchen and you have a dream set-up for buyers who like to entertain.

10. Outdoor Garden Space – Buyers are looking for newly-built homes that include ample space for an outdoor garden or even a mini-greenhouse. As more people experiment with growing their own vegetables and herbs, adequate space and resources for gardening are a hot feature in 2017.

Which features are on your *must have* list for the newly-built home you’ve been dreaming of? Your RE/MAX agent is your guide to all the innovative features available in the new construction homes in your area. Myrtle Beach is a great place to explore new builds with the latest technology and features you’re looking for!

Myrtle Beach Commercial Real Estate Growth Forecast

Myrtle Beach Commercial Real Estate
Myrtle Beach Commercial Real Estate

Myrtle Beach and the surrounding Grand Strand area is a great place to start or relocate a business. The U.S. Census places Myrtle Beach as the 2nd fastest growing Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the country for the second year in a row. What is fueling the growth? The Myrtle Beach area is a business-friendly climate with a growing and diverse workforce. Paired with award-winning school, including local higher education options like Coastal Carolina University and Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) and an ever-expanding market, the area is an exciting place for businesses.

Just a few recent developments in the area include the revamp of Broadway at the Beach, which has attracted several new businesses to the area such as American Tap House, Dave & Busters and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Panera Bread has recently opened several locations in the Myrtle Beach area, as has Mod Pizza.

Workman Cycles opened a new facility in April 2017 focusing on specialty bikes and trikes. Little Spider Creations recently relocated from Denver, CO to North Myrtle Beach. Their new 24,000 square foot facility offered the space they needed and the owner fell in love with the area. Little Spider Creations creates props for entertainment venues like amusement parks and haunted houses. Health care is expanding as well, with the new Tidelands Health medical center being constructed in The Market Common. The new 3-story medical center will have doctor’s offices, radiology, lab services, physical therapy and more. The 65,000 square foot complex is expected to open in the fall of 2018.

Whether you are looking to start a business in the Myrtle Beach area or relocate your business here to take advantage of our growing economy, there are two great resources to guide you in your business venture: the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the Myrtle Beach Regional Development Corporation. And when it’s time to find that perfect place for your business location, RE/MAX agent James Haas is your insider source to the best commercial real estate options for your business. It’s a great time to start a business in Myrtle Beach!

Selling Your Home? 5 Advantages of Hiring a RE/MAX Agent vs. FSBO

REMAX Agent Myrtle BeachSelling a home is rarely a simple matter. Even the simplest of real estate transactions require a high level of knowledge and experience. While the for sale by owner (FSBO) option sounds like it will save you money, there are important benefits to hiring an agent that will not only get you the most for your sale but save you time and preserve your sanity. Here are just 5 of the many advantages of hiring a RE/MAX agent to sell your home.

1. Education and Experience – Real estate agents have the education and experience to handle every detail of the home sales process. They are your guide to the ins and outs of the entire transaction and trained to help you get the best price for your home.

2. Insight on Market Conditions – Realtors have deep insight into market conditions from the national level all the way down to your neighborhood. They know how fast homes are selling, what hurdles are in the market for potential buyers, average prices of homes recently sold in your neighborhood and what buyers in your market are looking for. Understanding what buyers are looking for helps to best position your home in your local market to sell as efficiently as possible.

3. Mountain of Paperwork – Real estate transactions come with a mountain of paperwork. Not only is all of this paperwork time-consuming but even the most innocent and simple mistake can cost you money – and even more time to correct. Hiring a RE/MAX agent to sell your home puts the paperwork on their to-do list instead of yours and ensures it is all completed correctly.

4. Art of Negotiation – Your RE/MAX agent is a skilled negotiator. Because your agent represents only you and your interests in the home sales process, they put their skills to work for you to get you the best deal possible.

5. Network of Necessary Professionals – Hiring an agent to sell your home comes with more than just your agent, but also your agent’s extensive network of other professionals that play a necessary role in real estate transactions. Just a few of the people in their network include real estate attorneys, mortgage brokers, appraisers, inspectors, home stagers and more – all of whom play a part in helping sell your home (and helping you find your new dream home).

The advantages of hiring a RE/MAX agent instead of trying to sell your home yourself are plentiful. They have the expertise, information, insight and people to save you time, get you top dollar and keep things worry-free in the often stressful process of selling a home.

Myrtle Beach Home Staging: What Exactly is Feng Shui?

flower pots with plants and flowers on window
flower pots with plants and flowers on window

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of arranging furniture and belongings to encourage a positive flow of energy (chi) through the home. The term translates to wind (feng) and water (shui). In feng shui, all objects and spaces have different energy, and those energies can impact each other in different ways depending on their placement from each other and from features of the home, such as doors and windows. While it takes years to master all the different facets of the practice of feng shui, there are several basics you can use to improve the flow of positive chi in your Myrtle Beach home.

* Front entrance – The front entrance of the home is very important as it is the primary source of fresh chi into your home. Make sure your front entrance is inviting for both visitors and good chi by first making sure that the walkway leading up to the door is swept clean of grass, leaves and debris. The door should be a bold, contrasting color that draws the eye, with a large welcome mat and an equal balance of round-leaved plants on each side of the entrance (whether in the ground or in planters). Avoid using plants with pointed leaves which are sharp and aggressive and repel chi (both outside and inside the home).

* Bathrooms – Always keep doors to bathrooms closed, toilet lids down, and shower curtains or doors pulled shut. Drains and toilets pull chi down and out of the home. Keeping doors closed and drains or toilets closed off prevents good chi from being drained away. Bathrooms should always be clean and refreshing with all clutter and non-essentials organized and stowed out of sight. Encourage a spa-like feeling with a basket of rolled fresh white towels and natural objects like a few seashells for decoration.

* Bedrooms – Bedrooms are meant to be a place of healing and relaxation. Electronics like televisions and computers disrupt the flow of chi and should be kept out of the bedroom whenever possible. Beds and headboards should rest against a sturdy wall, however, avoid placing the bed right under a window or in direct line with (or facing) the doorway. When the bed is in the direct line of the door, the strongest flow of chi into the room hits the bed first. The strength of that chi can cause restless sleep or even insomnia. The bed should have a night stand on either side and while they don’t have to be the same, the size and shape of them should be similar.

* General good chi practices – A few general principles will help you best align the flow of chi through the rest of your home. Avoid having the backs of chairs or sofas face an entryway – instead, have the furniture face the entry to welcome people and chi into the space. Avoid clutter and keep decoration simple. Clutter scatters chi and creates a feeling of chaos, both for you and your guests. Avoid having too much furniture or furniture that is too large for the room as chi needs open space to flow properly.

Whether you have just moved into your dream home in Myrtle Beach, or you are staging your home to sell, using a few key principles from the practice of feng shui will help you organize your home for a strong flow of positive chi. Good flow of positive chi creates feelings of comfort, confidence, creativity and prosperity.

Home Buying Forecast for Second Half of 2017

Home Buying Forecast Myrtle BeachIf buying a home is in your future, you may be wondering what experts predict for the housing market in the second half of 2017. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) collects information from 225 metropolitan areas across the United States every quarter about the affordability of the average home for families earning the median income in each of those areas. They use this information to track housing affordability using their Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). An HOI score above 50% is considered positive as it means at least 50% of families can buy a home that is affordable.

Factors influencing Q1 2017 affordability
A variety of factors can influence the HOI, including changes in home prices and changes in mortgage rates. Significant changes in these factors shift the HOI score from quarter to quarter. The first quarter of 2017 revealed that 60.3% of families should reasonably be able to buy a home that is affordable for them. Many industry experts found the score surprising as mortgage rates increased sharply leading into Q1 of this year, which would typically decrease affordability because higher mortgage rates mean higher mortgage payments for buyers. Despite the biggest leap in mortgage rates in a single quarter since 2013, the HOI score actually increased – opposite of what experts anticipated. What they didn’t anticipate was that home prices dropped during the first quarter, balancing out the hike in mortgage rates and keeping homes affordable for buyers.

Affordability predictions for 2nd half of 2017
While all predictions in real estate are naturally a best educated guess, the surprising results from the first quarter of the year could be a sign of good things for affordability in the second half of the year. The forecast looks even better when comparing Q1 2017 to the previous three quarters as it shows a trend where affordability is staying stable, in spite of the up-tick in mortgage rates. Home prices have steadily increased since bottoming out in 2011. The historically low mortgage rates helped home values rebound as the housing industry recovered from the recession. Industry insiders anticipate the recent rise in mortgage rates will now slow down and stabilize home prices.

What this means for buyers is that 2017 is still a great year to buy a home. While mortgage rates have increased and will likely continue to creep upward, they are still comparatively low compared to pre-recession rates. If the rise in mortgage rates reins in the swift rise of home prices as the first quarter of 2017 appears to indicate, buying a home will continue to be affordable for a majority of families in the U.S. through at least the end of the year. If you are looking to buy this year, now is the time!