The Costs of Ignoring Home Maintenance and Repairs When it’s Time to Sell

ome Maintenance Myrtle BeachIf you own a home, keeping up with regular maintenance, repairs and replacements is essential to preserve your home’s value. Allowing your property to fall into disrepair can cost you 10% or more in home value when it’s time to sell. Homes in disrepair also take longer to sell and typically receive a much longer list of requests or concessions from a potential buyer.

Visible Disrepair
Visible disrepair may seem like a superficial concern but to buyers, it is a sign that other, more expensive issues are likely present as well. Peeling paint, worn out carpet, broken or missing tiles, missing or leaking gutters and overgrown landscaping are just a few types of visible disrepair buyers see as red flags. When selling a home, first impressions and curb appeal matter. Visible signs of a home being in disrepair repel potential buyers before they make it through the front door.

Economic Age
One of the things appraisers do when preparing their appraisal is to estimate the economic age of the property. The economic age is an indicator of how many years the home can be expected to survive or remain in livable and sellable condition. Forgoing maintenance and upkeep impacts a home’s economic age negatively and lowers the appraised value of the property. Well-maintained homes rate better in terms of economic age and prevent home value from dropping due to disrepair.

Benefits and Costs of Proper Upkeep
Proper upkeep not only maintains home value for future sale, but also ensures safety and prevents small simple fixes from turning into major, more expensive repairs. Experts estimate that over time, home maintenance costs should average out to around $3,000 per year. Some years will be less expensive and entail only small fixes and regular maintenance services on the HVAC system and appliances. Other years will require more expensive repairs or replacements, such as a new roof or replacing the HVAC system. Tracking all maintenance costs and repairs, along with receipts, in one handy place helps you easily check when specific repairs or services were last performed and also help you track your average costs per year over time. Knowing the average annual cost of your home’s maintenance, replacements and repairs helps you save for future upkeep needs.

Forgoing regular maintenance and upkeep on your home and its systems and appliances can cause your property to fall into serious disrepair in a short period of time. Homes in disrepair repel potential buyers, take longer to sell and cause the home’s value to take a steep nosedive. Keeping up with small fixes and regular maintenance saves you money both during your years of ownership and when you’re ready to sell.

Warning! 5 Reasons to NEVER Waive Your Home Inspection

Myrtle Beach Home Inspection In a competitive real estate market, buyers may feel pressured to skip the home inspection to avoid being beat out by another buyer. The couple of days that could potentially be gained by skipping the inspection may end up costing far more in the long run. The most expensive problems are often not visible to the untrained eye. Here are 5 reasons to never waive your home inspection.

1. Issues like asbestos and radon gas can be hazardous to human health or even deadly. Someone untrained to inspect and test for those substances would miss a serious and hazardous issue.

2. Termite damage can be difficult to spot. Professional home inspectors know the subtle signs to look for that indicate the home may need a more thorough termite inspection. If termite damage is significant enough, the repairs are not only expensive but can compromise the integrity of the home, creating a safety issue. Termite-damaged support beams and walls can result sagging floors or even collapse.

3. Professional roof inspection is critical. Roof leaks cause property damage and in the humid climate of the Myrtle Beach area, can cause significant mold growth. Roof damage also provides an access point for pests like mice and bats that can cause major damage once inside your home and their droppings pose serious health risks for you and your family. Lastly, coastal South Carolina experiences tropical storms and hurricanes – the worst time to discover there is a problem with the roof of your new home is when a major storm is bearing down.

4. Inspectors have the proper equipment to test electricity throughout a home. Not only do inspectors check and test outlets and switches, their equipment can help them determine if there might be an issue with the wiring in the home. Faulty or chewed (by pests) wiring is a common cause of house fires.

5. HVAC systems are not cheap. Home inspectors check for leaks in the HVAC system and ensure the system is functioning properly and is in good condition. Subtle indications of potential problems are easily missed by the average person. Depending upon the size of the home, a new HVAC system could easily cost more than $10,000.

Don’t be tempted to waive a home inspection to lock in a price, avoid a bidding war or beat out other buyers. Your real estate agent can help you with those issues without forgoing the inspection. The home inspections are for the buyer’s protection from both a safety and financial standpoint.

6 Things You Need to Know About Buying Land for Your New Home

Buying Land Myrtle BeachHaving your dream home newly constructed according to your needs is exciting. However, before you can break ground on that perfect new home, you have to decide where you would like it to be located. Several considerations go into selecting a land lot for your new home. Here are a few to keep in mind when buying land:

  • Depending on where the land is located, it may or may not be set up with easy access to sewer lines, municipal water supply, gas lines, fiber optics/cable or electricity. If the land you are interested in doesn’t have nearby access to these services, you’ll need to plan for the expense of having access installed or other systems to replace them, such as a septic system.
  • Make sure the land is not located in a flood plain area. Homes built on land within a flood plain region require much more expensive flood and home owner’s insurance and/or building options to protect the home from flood waters, such as constructing the home raised on stilts.
  • Ensure the zoning ordinances allow you to build the type and size of home you want on the land. Some zones may have restrictions on how you use the land. Also, check out any future zoning plans nearby to check for any known building projects, such as shopping centers or apartment complexes that could eventually impact the value of your home and land.
  • How do you intend to pay for the land? Many people pay cash for land lots. If you’ll be financing the land as well as the construction costs, make sure the combined cost is within the approved finance amount with your lender.
  • What is the time limit to complete construction of your new home? Particularly in housing developments, you may be required to complete construction within a specified time. Making sure you understand any time constraints before you purchase the land can help you avoid unnecessary stress if your building timeline won’t meet the requirement.
  • Are there requirements for a particular architectural style of home or limitations on which builder you can use for your dream home? Housing developments often have architectural style restrictions to create a certain look and feel for the entire community. Additionally, some developments may restrict your choice of builder to a pre-approved list. If you really love the work of a builder who isn’t on the list, you may have to choose a different builder or face time-consuming hurdles to be approved to use your builder of choice.

Few home ownership options are as exciting as having your dream home built brand new to your specifications. But first, you have to choose where you would like your new home to be. Keeping these considerations in mind can help you select the land lot that is the best fit for your future home. Your real estate agent is your guide to the ins and outs of buying land for your dream house.

Is the Condo Life for You? 3 Benefits of Condo Ownership

Condo Ownership Myrtle BeachDeciding between buying a free-standing house or a condo? There are some very tangible benefits to buying a condominium or condo. Condos are located in multi-unit buildings where each unit has an owner (even if they rent it out) and pays a monthly fee to a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) for outdoor grounds upkeep, building exterior upkeep, trash service and other property needs. Depending on the property, one or more assigned parking spaces may be deeded along with the condo purchase. Let’s take a look at the benefits of condo ownership.

1. Lower home owner’s insurance costs. Condo owners carry insurance “walls-in”, meaning they only need to insure the interior and structures specifically for their unit. This excludes the exterior walls, roof and surrounding land that owners of free-standing homes must insure.

2. Maintenance-free lifestyle. The building exterior, grounds, parking areas, community amenities are maintained by services hired by the HOA (or management company representing the HOA). If no lawn to mow every week and no gutters to clean sound like a dream come true, this might just be the biggest benefit of condo ownership for you.

3. Wide range of community amenities. Condos typically provide a range of community amenities for residents that may not be available in many neighborhoods of free-standing homes. Common amenities provided in most condo complexes include community pool, on-site fitness center, dog park and a clubhouse space available to rent for parties and events. In Myrtle Beach, depending on what type of condo community you choose, additional amenities may include more luxurious options like golf course access, beach access, water parks, kiddie pools, playgrounds, lazy rivers, larger clubhouses featuring on-site restaurants and lounges.

While condo ownership does entail a monthly fee for HOA dues, the perks of a maintenance-free lifestyle and the amenities provided – particularly in Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand – can provide a carefree lifestyle for a reasonable cost.

The Difference Between Mortgage Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval

Mortgage Pre-Approval Myrtle BeachWhen you’re ready to buy a home, there are some steps to take before you jump right in and start touring houses. Aside from selecting a great buyer’s agent, you’ll want to get some financial pieces in place so that the seller of your dream home knows you have the resources and means to finalize the sale. Most people know getting your financial details ready is a key part of the buying process, however, many are unsure about the difference between being pre-qualified and being pre-approved – and how it can impact the buying process.

Mortgage Pre-Qualification
A pre-qualification is simply a guesstimate amount on what a lender assumes a buyer can possibly finance on a home. The potential lender looks mostly at debt-to-income ratio to ensure it is within their general guidelines for at least one home loan program they offer. As a pre-qualification is a “best guess” as far as amount, it can often be higher than a pre-approval. Some buyers will opt for pre-qualification because it may give them more potential wiggle room in a bidding war or negotiation. It’s important to note that a pre-qualification is not an actual application and the lender is not under any obligation to proceed with actually financing the buyer or financing an amount equal to the pre-qualification amount. A pre-qualification is a guess, not a guarantee.

Mortgage Pre-Approval
Pre-approval is the beginning stage of an actual mortgage application. The potential mortgage lender collects all of the information and details they will need to approve and finance the buyer. Pre-approvals can take a little longer to get into place because the lender’s underwriters review credit reports, income verification, tax returns, assets, debts and other financial data needed to make a credit decision. A pre-approval shows that the mortgage lender has thoroughly reviewed the buyer’s credit and financial profile and is making a commitment to finalize a mortgage up to a certain price. By issuing a pre-approval, the lender is verifying the buyer has the resources and ability to complete the sale. Aside from taking more time to put in place, a pre-approval will show up as an inquiry on the buyer’s credit report. Multiple inquiries can bring down your credit score to it’s important to carefully select the mortgage lender you would like to work with when applying for a pre-approval.

In today’s competitive market, sellers are often receiving multiple offers for their home. It’s important to discuss with your agent which option is going to be most beneficial to you given current conditions happening in your specific market. In many cases, pre-approved buyers are taken more seriously than pre-qualified buyers because of the commitment between the mortgage lender and the buyer.

Myrtle Beach’s Famous Golden Mile

Myrtle Beach Golden MileThe Golden Mile of Myrtle Beach is a long stretch of high-end, luxurious, water-front beach houses that spans approximately one mile from around 32nd Ave N to about 52nd Ave N (hence the word “mile” in the name). The Golden Mile is north of the Boardwalk and runs along Ocean Blvd. It is widely considered one of the most exclusive and scenic stretches of beach-front housing in all of Myrtle Beach and the larger Grand Strand.

The zoning for the Golden Mile is strictly residential, which has effectively blocked hotels from building in this area, though there are hotels right up to the edge of it. The Golden Mile is one of the largest sections of beach area without hotels in the Grand Strand. In 1998, the Golden Mile was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Aside from a lack of hotels, what makes the Golden Mile so famous? The estates!

The Golden Mile is comprised of beach-front estates that are the height of luxury and opulence. The grand estate homes of this area are valued between $1.5 million on the low end to over $5 million on the higher end of home values. Many of these homes or the land lots they sprawl on have been passed down through generations and finding one available for sale is a rare opportunity. While the grounds of these homes are privately owned, there are public beach areas between the property lines and the ocean. Public access beach parking is available at several spots along the Golden Mile – at the time of this writing, public access beach parking requires payment from any visitor who is not a resident living within the city limits of Myrtle Beach.

To get a real sense of the magnificence of the Golden Mile and why it is so famous, simply stroll along the beach from one end to the other. Stunning landscaping, lush fountains, fascinating architecture and other features – with a breath-taking view of the Atlantic Ocean – will awe you and inspire your imagination. One of the true gems of the Grand Strand, the Golden Mile earns its nickname and its fame.  For information about homes for sale in this area of Myrtle Beach, contact James Haas– your Myrtle Beach RE/MAX agent. 

Explore Downtown Living In Conway- Upcoming Events

Downtown Conway Upcoming EventsOne of the oldest cities in South Carolina, Conway is full of small town charm, historic places, moss-draped oaks and a lively community. Conway’s location along the Waccamaw River and historic use of the river have earned it the nickname of Historic Rivertown of South Carolina. The downtown area features many historic buildings and even many of the ancient trees are considered protected landmarks. The Main Street running through historic downtown Conway was one of a select few cities in the state to participate in the Main Street USA program, revitalizing and preserving the charm and history of the area. As the county seat of Horry County, the town hosts many official county buildings and court houses as well as Coastal Carolina University. Conway also hosts some of the most popular events in the area. Here are some of the upcoming events to check out and explore what small town living in Conway is all about.

Small Business Saturday – November 25, 2017
The first Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday. This event is celebrated in many towns and cities in the U.S. to support local small town businesses, of which Conway has many! Unique boutiques, small shops, quaint restaurants and other small businesses all call Conway’s historic downtown district home. Explore this event to learn more about the various unique small businesses and shops in town and find a new favorite – or a few!

City Tree Lighting Ceremony – November 30, 2017
Conway’s annual tree lighting ceremony will take place on the grounds of the historic City Hall. The celebration is a kick-off for the Christmas season and attendees young and old come every year to see if Santa might stop in for a quick hello. Explore this event to get to know the spirit and heart of this small town community.

Living Window Displays – December 7, 2017
A fun and magical event reminiscent of times past, many of the various shops in Conway participate in this unique holiday event. Explore this event to see Conway store fronts come to life to delight visitors of all ages.

Conway Chamber Christmas Parade – December 9, 2017
One of the most talked about parades of the Grand Strand every year, the Conway Chamber Christmas Parade is not to be missed! Local businesses, organizations and groups join together to celebrate the joys of the season with local residents and friends. Explore this event to meet new friends and learn about area businesses.

Rivertown Christmas Celebration – November 30, December 7 and December 14, 2017
This Christmas celebration is held on three separate nights from 6 to 8 p.m. (often coinciding with other events on our list). Held in downtown Conway, the Rivertown Christmas Celebration features carriage rides, late-night shopping and visits with Santa. Explore this event to pick up gifts for your friends and loved ones from this small vibrant town (and don’t forget to stop by and see Santa)!

Paying for Home Upgrades? Finance, Cash, or DIY?

Home Upgrades Myrtle Beach

When purchasing a newly built home, there may be times when special upgrades you’d like are cheaper or offer you more selection if you make those changes after the home is built, instead of having the builder incorporate those upgrades. Additionally, some builders may not offer customizations you really would like to have. In both cases, you’ll want to plan for how you’ll pay for upgrades in your newly built home – should you finance the upgrades, save up and pay cash or should you tackle it yourself as a DIY project?

When to Finance
Experts suggest to reserve the option of financing your desired upgrades for only the big-ticket items. When you finance, you’ll be paying interest on your upgrades so you want to only finance things that you won’t replace or change again soon. Cabinets, countertops, flooring and major bathroom features are all changes that are meant to last a number of years before accumulating enough wear to need updating again. One thing to note: make sure your big-ticket upgrades won’t exceed your anticipated home value. When the value of added upgrades is greater than the home values the area can support, you may find yourself unable to recoup the cost of those upgrades when it comes time to sell.

When to Use Cash
Most home improvement experts agree that cash is the best way to pay for upgrades, if possible. Using cash eliminates the interest charges of financing that ultimately make your upgrades far more expensive by the time you pay them off. Especially go the cash route if the upgrades you have in mind are options that you may want to change over time, such as many types of window coverings and paint colors.

When to DIY
Only decide to DIY when the upgrades you want to make are already within your skill set. A common mistake when undertaking upgrades is assuming that doing it yourself is always cheaper. A good contractor can tell you any number of stories of homeowners who thought an upgrade would be simple enough to do themselves (it looked easy enough on that home improvement show) and wound up paying far more to have their mistakes fixed than if they had just hired a pro to begin with.

Adding some custom upgrades to your newly built house can make it just perfect for your family, but how you’ll pay for them can have unexpected consequences when it comes time to sell. Knowing when to finance, when to pay cash and when to DIY will help you get the home upgrades you want in the most cost-effective way possible.

Commercial Real Estate in Myrtle Beach: Buy or Lease?

commercial real estate myrtle beachWhen looking at commercial space for your business, you might be wondering whether you are better off buying or leasing the space you need. Here are a few things to consider when making this crucial decision.

State of your business – If your business is a start-up or is going through unusual growth, you’ll want to strongly consider if being locked into a property is truly advantageous. Renting your commercial space allows you to more easily relocate to a smaller or larger space, as the needs of your business change.

Ability to manage property maintenance – When you buy your commercial space, property maintenance becomes another item on your long list of responsibilities. If you don’t have the cash flow to cover property expenses or time to ensure the property is properly maintained, leasing may be a better option for you.

Long-term cost – In the first few years, leasing can be beneficial but eventually, rates go up. Rarely do rates for leasing commercial space drop. If your business is robust and has a healthy history of weathering the ups and downs of the market, buying a commercial space can help your long-term costs by keeping you out of the renewal rate hike cycle. However, if your business is less stable, leasing may be better for your long-term costs by giving you flexibility to relocate to a smaller space without the hassle of selling your existing space.

Location – If location is a significant factor for the success of your business and you have an option to buy your commercial space in a prime location, buying could be your best bet. Few things can impact a location-dependent business more, no matter how well-established, than being forced out of your prime location by renewal rate increases on your commercial lease that become unaffordable.

Ability to make changes – If you know you’ll want to make significant changes or additions to your commercial space, buying gives you the decision-making power to customize your space to your liking. Leasing your commercial space means seeking approval from the owner or landlord for every change you’d like to make – and the risk of them declining your request.

There are many things to consider when deciding whether you should lease or buy needed commercial real estate for your business. Our handy list will help you explore these considerations to make the best decision for your business.  When you are ready to make the decision, James Haas, your Myrtle Beach RE/MAX agent is here to help!

10 Tips for Fall Home Decorating On A Budget

Fall Home DecoratingWhether you’re decorating to impress potential buyers or to enjoy the spirit of the Fall season, Fall home decorating on a budget can be tough, but cheap doesn’t have to mean tacky.  Here are 10 tips for Fall decorating with class without spending a lot of cash.

1. Branch out – When it comes to fall decor, your own yard can give you a head start by bringing nature from outside, inside. A few loose or broken branches (checked and cleaned for pests and mold) in a few tall skinny glass vases make for a fresh take on that fall feeling.

2. Wreaths of faux fall leaves – Discount stores and craft stores are bursting with faux fall leaf decorations, such as garlands, clusters and even bags of faux leaves. Pick up a wreath frame and dig out the handy hot glue gun for a classy DIY project. Find a few pinecones from outside to add a natural pop to your faux wreath.

3. Make pumpkins pop – Instead of traditional carving, give painting your pumpkins a try. If you’re feeling extra crafty, try a touch of glitter, some ribbon or some jewel-like accents for pumpkins that really pop.

4. Make use of produce – A wide vase or decorative bowl featuring pomegranates, nuts and cranberries with a candle nested in the center creates a chic centerpiece for your fall table.

5. Color and comfort – For an instant cozy feel, bring out the fuzzy blankets and throws in rich fall colors like plum, browns, deep oranges and other fall colors. Two or three fluffy throws (depending on size of home) add both color and comfort from the fall chill.

6. Add contrast with texture – Texture creates visual interest. Use wide burlap ribbon from the craft or discount store (or even order cheap burlap sacks online and cut them yourself) to add decorative touches both inside and outside the home. Add straw or Indian corn to create unique burlap decorations that are sure to wow.

7. Add your two scents – Forgo the pumpkin and cinnamon scents that are everywhere and mix it up. Spicy warm smells, apple and caramel smell like fall without being overwhelming. Try essential oils in a diffuser or clean burning candles in scents that still say fall but avoid the overkill. Note: Avoid scented plug-in units as these often contain chemicals that negatively impact indoor air quality.

8. Gourd is the new jack (o-lantern) – Fall gourds make great decorative touches and are available in various sizes. If you want to stand out from the other homes on the block, take the unexpected route and use a variety of gorgeous gourds. Leave the pumpkins in the patch for the kids.

9. Get fruity – Pears and apples are great fall staples for snacking and decorating. A wide bowl with fresh crisp apples and pears in the center of the kitchen island or living room coffee table add a touch of fall. Note: Apples and pears spoil faster than some other fall produce in this list and are best kept separate from longer-lived produce.

10. Keep it classy – There are lots of obvious and tacky options available for bargain prices during every season. Put down the cartoon ghost and stick to more modern and classy options. Leave the tacky on the shelf for someone else.

Armed with these tips for fall decorating on a budget, you’ll have the best-looking house on your block. You won’t spend a lot but you’ll reap wow-value with these great fall touches.