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.

Lowest Home Down Payments in 7 Years: What Does That Mean?

Low Home Down Payments Myrtle BeachMany potential buyers know the common standard of saving up enough for a 20% down payment when planning to buy a home. This “standard” is not always required. There are down payment assistance programs or mortgage lenders who will qualify buyers with much smaller down payments. In fact, in their recent Mortgage Monitor Report, Black Knight Financial Services found that over the last 12 months, there were 1.5 million homes purchased with less than a 10% down payment. This is the highest number of homes purchased with home down payments under 10% in seven years. But what does this mean for buyers, sellers, and investors?

Buyers
For buyers, this trend is encouraging. A lower down payment means less time saving and a faster path to home ownership. The reason for this shift in down payment requirements is the result of special programs, such as down payment assistance programs, and the strength of growth happening in real estate. Lenders are also more willing to accept buyers with less down payment as the rising home prices will create gains in equity faster with current market conditions.

Sellers
For sellers, more buyers qualifying with lower down payments means more competition for their home. Greater competition among buyers for the homes available continues to push home prices up. For sellers, a higher selling price means more equity and profit from the sale of their home. This extra money can be used to buy a new home themselves (also with a lower down payment requirement) and have money left over to pay off debt, start a new business venture, or pursue hobbies.

Investors
Investors benefit on both sides of the equation as lower down payments allow them to purchase properties for rental income or for flip and resale with less money up-front. This leaves more in the budget for renovations or remodeling projects for flips or fixes to prepare for renters. Sprucing up a rental property allows investors to command higher monthly rent and make the best possible return on their investment.

The trend of lower home down payments for a larger percentage of homes sold benefits everyone in the process – buyers, sellers and investors. Now is a great time to buy, sell or invest in real estate.  James Haas, your Myrtle Beach RE/MAX agent can help!

Are You A “Boomerang Buyer?”

boomerang buyer | Myrtle Beach Real Estate After RecessionA boomerang buyer is someone who lost their home during The Great Recession due to foreclosure, bankruptcy or through short sale. The negative marks from these forms of home loss are now beginning to drop off of credit reports and as they do, credit scores are getting a boost. This boost is putting these former homeowners in a good position to buy again. Like a boomerang, they are returning to home ownership.

How Many Boomerang Buyers Are There?
Approximately 7 million people lost their homes during the years of the recession. Some of these people have already experienced a credit boost as the previous housing difficulties have dropped from their credit profile. Boomerang buyers are already impacting the market. Another 1.5 million people have been expected to re-enter the market as potential buyers during the period of 2016-2019. Depending on the circumstances experienced during the recession, such as bankruptcy and what type of bankruptcy, the negative marks can take between 7 to 10 years to drop off your credit report. Some experts anticipate as many as 3.5 million boomerang buyers to become homeowners again over the coming 5 years.

How Boomerang Buyers Impact the Real Estate Market
As foreclosures and bankruptcies drop off of credit reports and credit scores begin to rise, boomerang buyers will be able to take advantage of the improvements to their credit profiles and current special financing programs to return to home ownership. In a national market experiencing an overall shortage of inventory available compared to buyers, boomerang buyers are expected to further increase demand and competition for homes. Additional increases in demand, combined with continued shortage of homes available for sale are predicted to keep home prices rising.

With a few million boomerang buyers once again eligible to purchase a home in the next several years, the current seller’s market will likely continue. The slow and steady financial recovery of boomerang buyers is a positive for the overall economy and continued economic recovery. For the boomerang buyer who has already shed foreclosures and bankruptcies from your credit report, now is an optimal time to buy as more of your fellow boomerangs will soon be joining you in the search for a new place to call home.

South Carolina Foreclosures: We Made the Top List of States

South Carolina ForeclosuresOverall, foreclosures are few and far between in the current real estate market. For June 2017, foreclosures were at the lowest level since November of 2015. This is good news for the overall real estate industry and a good indicator of how our economy is rebounding after the Great Recession. However, foreclosures are still happening and South Carolina happens to be on the list of the top 10 states with the most foreclosures.

South Carolina Foreclosures: By the Numbers
In the recent Mid-Year 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released by ATTOM Data Solutions (a real estate data collection and analytics company), South Carolina placed 8th out of the top 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates for the first half of 2017. This particular report includes data from more than 2,200 counties and includes more than 90% of the U.S. population. For the first half of the year, South Carolina averaged one foreclosure for every 221 housing units. In comparison, for the first half of 2016, South Carolina still held the number 8 spot but averaged one foreclosure for every 187 housing units.

While this data may place our state on the foreclosure top 10 list, there is some positive news. The average number of foreclosures for the first half of 2017 dropped 15.05% from the same period in 2016. The lower number of foreclosures is a good sign that our real estate market is going in the right direction. Additionally, because the real estate market in our state is rebounding at fairly steady pace, our home prices are rising at a slow and steady pace as well. Several other markets have experienced sky-rocketing home price increases that have put homeownership out of reach for would-be homebuyers on the lower end of the market–and may be setting those markets up for trouble should another economic downturn occur.

What Other States are on the Top 10 List?
If our state is on the list of top 10 states with the most foreclosures, you may be wondering what other states are on the list. We’ll share the full top 10 list below but there are a few surprises on the list. For example, Ohio is a surprise when the Cleveland metro area is one of the hotter real estate markets in the nation. A few others that may be surprising are Nevada at number 6 and Delaware at number 2. Which states on the list are you surprised by?
10. New Mexico
9. Ohio
8. South Carolina
7. Florida
6. Nevada
5. Connecticut
4. Illinois
3. Maryland
2. Delaware
1. New Jersey

The big picture is that there is still time to find a great home here in South Carolina. While our state is on the top 10 list for foreclosures, our numbers are improving. If you’re ready to reach for your dream of home-ownership, give James Haas, your local REMAX agent, a call at (843) 602-7246.

Rising Home Prices: What Does That Mean To Buyers?

Rising Home Prices Myrtle BeachHome prices across the United States, and in the Myrtle Beach area are rising. While home prices in our market have been rising at a more slow and steady pace, prices in other markets have taken giant leaps in a very short time. When home prices are rising, what does it mean for buyers?

What’s Behind Rising Home Prices?
There are a few different factors pushing home prices up. The first factor is normal fluctuation in the real estate market. Every year, home prices naturally fluctuate depending on season of the year, health of the local job market and local interest rates. These tend to be trends that are pretty similar in a particular market most years.

The second factor driving up home prices is the economy. As various sectors of our economy have rebounded, people who delayed buying a home or held off on upgrading to a larger home are now feeling secure enough to pursue their real estate goals. Many of these people are also jumping in right now to take advantage of still-low interest rates before they get much higher.

The third and perhaps biggest factor driving up home prices in most markets is an issue of supply and demand. There are currently more buyers in the market than there are homes to go around. When available home inventory for sale in a market doesn’t keep up with the number of buyers, the homes that are available naturally command higher prices because there is greater competition for each home.

What Rising Home Prices Mean for Buyers
According to the National Association of Realtors, 87% of metropolitan areas had an overall increase in the average price of a single-family home during the second quarter of 2017. In general, home prices are expected to continue rising throughout the second half of the year. What this means for buyers, particularly those looking for homes on the lower-priced end of the spectrum, is that now is the time to look for a home. With home prices and mortgage interest rates both on the rise, many hopeful homebuyers are quickly finding themselves priced out and locked out of their dream of home ownership.

There is hope for buyers in the Myrtle Beach area real estate market. The region of the country where home prices are rising at the most modest, slow and steady pace is the South. Also, the South has the highest number of new constructions in the nation. In most other markets, even new builds are not enough to keep pace with demand. In our area, the high number of new builds available or in construction currently in addition to existing homes for sale have, together, come much closer to meeting buyer demand.

If you are a buyer looking for a home in the Myrtle Beach area, now is the time to begin your search for a home you love at a price you can afford. Yes, home prices and mortgage interest rates are rising, however, they’re only going to continue to rise. This is the best time to take advantage of the unique market conditions in this area.  I’m James Haas, your local Remax agent, and I’m here to help.

Fall is Here! Explore our Beautiful Outdoors at Local State Parks

local state parks Myrtle BeachFall is the best time of year to explore our beautiful outdoors! While there are lots of beautiful outdoor spaces along the Grand Strand, our state parks capture some of the best outdoor adventures you’ll find anywhere. South Carolina has 47 state parks to explore across the state. Here are a few close to us to get you started!

Myrtle Beach State Park
The first of our state parks to officially open, way back in 1936, was Myrtle Beach State Park. Located in an ocean-front maritime forest that includes southern magnolias and towering live oaks, Myrtle Beach State Park is a unique opportunity to imagine what our coastal home was like in the very early days. The park has nature trails, a fishing pier and camping options, including six rental cabins. And of course, Myrtle Beach State Park has a wide expanse of our beautiful beaches to enjoy as well.

Huntington Beach State Park
Located in Murrells Inlet, Huntington Beach State Park has one of the most open and pristine beach areas in the entire Grand Strand. A favorite spot for sea turtles to nest, visitors to this park tend to be wildlife enthusiasts. The various ecosystems encompassed in the park offer many opportunities to observe our non-human locals (just don’t disturb them). The salt marshes are a particular favorite of birds and bird watchers. In fact, there have been more than 300 different species of birds documented throughout Huntington Beach State Park. The park is dog-friendly all year but does require that dogs be leashed–for their protection and that of the native wildlife, which even includes alligators that call the park’s freshwater lake home.

Woods Bay State Park
Heading inland, Woods Bay State Park is located in Olanta, SC (between Florence and Sumter). This state park protects the last remaining Carolina Bays of the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plains area. Like Huntington Beach, Woods Bays State Park encompasses several different types of ecosystems, including a shrub bog, marshland, swamp, sandhills and a hickory-oak forest. The park features a 1150 ft boardwalk along the cypress tupelo swamp that visitors can view alligators and other wildlife from. The park also has a nature walking trail and a canoe trail, proving lots of ways to explore this coastal plains area.

Fall is here! With the summer heat switched off outdoors, it’s the best time of year to explore our beautiful outdoor spaces. These three SC state parks are great places to start exploring.

Local Food Banks Look Toward the Start of a Season of Giving

Local food banks in Myrtle BeachNational Food Bank Day is traditionally the first Friday in September, which was September 1st this year. However, keeping our local area food banks stocked up is more than a one-day event and not only a concern around the holidays. The Myrtle Beach area and greater Grand Strand are well known for the large number of charitable events and causes our community supports. Giving back is a normal part of life around here and that is just one thing that makes our little corner of the world so special. There are a few ways to support our local food banks including donating non-perishable foods (check expiration dates) and financial donations these programs can use to purchase needed foods. Here are a few of our local food banks if you have donations or if you know someone who needs a little help.

  • Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach – Located in Myrtle Beach with two additional Helping Hand locations in the Grand Strand–South Strand Helping Hand in Surfside Beach and North Strand Helping Hand in Longs.
  • Community Kitchen of Myrtle Beach – Located on site with Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach. The community kitchen provides hot meals for those in need.
  • Lowcountry Food Bank – Three locations to serve ten counties in South Carolina. The location in our area is located in Myrtle Beach and serves most of Horry and Georgetown counties.
  • Coastal Rescue Mission – Located in Myrtle Beach. Those in need of help should check with them for their next food distribution day.
  • The Father’s House – Located in Myrtle Beach and often works in tandem with other local charities to serve those in need.
  • Horry County Branch Food Bank – Located in Myrtle Beach and often helps distribute food among area food banks.
  • The Salvation Army of Horry County – Located in Conway, the Salvation Army aims to keep a well-stocked pantry to serve locals in need.
  • Churches Assisting People (CAP) – Located in Conway, CAP is a coalition of area churches serving those in need with food and other forms of assistance when funds are available.
  • Waccamaw Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) – The EOC is located in Conway. Hours can fluctuate so you’ll want to check before heading down there.
  • Caring and Sharing – While Caring and Sharing is located in Hemingway, South Carolina, they do serve residents of Horry County.

In addition to the organizations above, several local area churches also maintain food banks and open pantries for people in need. If you aren’t able to donate non-perishable food or provide financial assistance, there are other ways you can support our local food banks. Encourage grocers to donate left-over or soon-to-expire food to local food banks (Publix is one such grocer who already does this). Start a crowd-funding campaign to raise awareness and money for food banks in the area. If you are a business-owner, host food drives to collect donations for area food banks. After all, making sure our friends and neighbors have food to eat is just part of being a steward in our own community.

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.