New Construction in Myrtle Beach – Community Spotlight

New Construction Myrtle BeachThe Grand Strand is booming with new construction communities and brand-new homes. Throughout the state of South Carolina, there are 285 builders at work building in 969 communities. The smallest new construction homes are simple one bedroom/one-bathroom dwellings. The largest new construction home comes in at a whopping 34 bedrooms/25 bathrooms. Let’s take a look at a few of the new construction communities in the popular areas of Socastee, Carolina Forest and The Market Common.

Socastee

Socastee is known for its yesteryear charm. From historic buildings such as The Cooper House to the famous swing bridge, Socastee is popular with families and those who enjoy a strong sense of community. One of the more affordable areas in the Grand Strand, Socastee has much to offer while still being only a short distance from local hot spots like Surfside Beach and The Market Common. Here are a few new construction communities of interest in this charming historic area:

Farm at Timberlake – The Farm at Timberlake is a master-planned community by D.R. Horton. Homes range from $200,000 to $400,000.

Harmony at St. James – In the sought-after St. James school district, Harmony at St. James features one and two-story homes from just under $200,000 to around $250,000.

Carolina Forest

Carolina Forest is situated between the City of Myrtle Beach and Conway, stretching from the Intracoastal Waterway to Highway 501. A family-oriented planned community, Carolina Forest offers a large number of new construction developments to choose from. Carolina Forest boasts great schools and over 9000 acres of protected forest preserve. Here are a couple of new construction communities to consider in this family-friendly area:

Waterbridge – Waterbridge started with a big splash by building one of the largest pool and water feature complexes in the state. The community is a custom-build community with a large number of custom builders to choose from. The homes are coastal cottage style and range from the mid-$300,000’s to around $1,000,000.

Sago Plantation – A new construction development within the Legends community, Sago Plantation is a newer housing development in Carolina Forest. Homes in this community are also custom-built and range from around $260,000 to $400,000.

The Market Common

The master-planned community of The Market Common is the former home of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. The parks and attractions in the area reflect its military heritage while the mix of commercial and residential property provide a bit of something for everyone. Here are a few new construction developments in the heart of this growing hot spot:

Sweetgrass Square and Sweetgrass West – The Sweetgrass communities are notable for their brightly-colored Charleston-style row houses. With access to all of the great amenities residents of The Market Common enjoy, new homes in this area are hot. Homes in both Sweetgrass communities are priced from $300,000 to $475,000.

The Reserve at Market Common – A new construction community by Beazer Homes, The Reserve is a popular development in The Market Common area. Many of these homes feature a Carolina Room and either one or two stories. Homes in this community range from the upper $200,000’s to the mid-$300,000’s.

If you are in the market for a newly built home, these three communities have a number of growing developments and new developments to check out.

Fall Events Happening at the Market Common

Market Common events 2018It seems that something fun and interesting is always going on at The Market Common. Here are a few of the exciting events we’re looking forward to this month and early October.

September 21, 2018: The Market Common Military History Trolley Tour from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M. Tickets for this event are $30 and include the one-hour trolley tour followed by a one-hour reception at Tupelo Honey. The trolley tour highlights the area’s former military history, including its years as the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. The trolley tour will pick up passengers at in front of the movie theater and conclude at Tupelo Honey.

September 22-23, 2018: Art in Common Fall Festival presented by The Seacoast Artists’ Guild. This event will be held in Valor Memorial Park and feature the various works of more than 50 local artists and craftspeople.

October 6-7, 2018: Festa Italiana presented by The Sons and Daughters of Italy, Myrtle Beach Lodge. This event will take place in Grand Park from 11 A.M. to 8 P.M. on October 6th and from 12 P.M. to 7 P.M. on October 7th. The event will feature authentic Italian food, live entertainment, kid’s activities, a spaghetti eating contest, vendors and more.

October 12-13, 2018: The 10th Annual Myrtle Beach Oktoberfest. The event will be held at Valor Memorial Park and include food, beverages, pony rides, live music, kid’s activities, vendors and more. The event hours are from 4 P.M. to 9 P.M. on October 12th and from 11 A.M. to 7 P.M. on October 13th.

It’s going to be a fall to remember with so many fun and unique events happening at The Market Common!

5 Common Reasons For Home Loan Rejections

home loan rejections Myrtle BeachOne of every eight home loan applications is rejected. Quite a few of these rejections are due to things the applicant could have avoided until the home purchase was complete. Avoid these embarrassing mistakes during your home-buying process to ensure you don’t jeopardize your home loan.

1. Lying or giving inaccurate information on the loan application – If your loan application asks for details you are uncertain of, always double-check. And never lie about income, assets, debts or anything else on your loan application. Lenders check everything before they approve a loan. Inaccurate information on your loan application could earn you more than a rejection stamp. Lying on a mortgage application is a federal offense called mortgage fraud.

2. Not paying medical bills – Mortgage lenders view unpaid medical bills as a red flag, right up there with credit accounts that are in default. Many health care providers and facilities offer options to let you make payments on your medical bills and avoid a black mark on your credit report.

3. Opening new credit accounts – Whether it’s a new credit card for that amazing dining set for your new home or buying/trading your vehicle, opening new credit accounts while your home loan is pending approval is a big mistake. Each application for new credit, such as a credit card, can temporarily drop your credit score by five points or more. If your credit score was right on the borderline to begin with, this new credit application could drop your score below the lender’s requirement and land you in the reject pile.

4. Ghostly credit history – While bad credit history is a red flag, having no credit history at all is too. If you are one of the 45 million Americans who are “credit invisible” – have no credit profile at all with any of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) – you’ll have a difficult time getting home loan approval until you establish a credit history.

5. Accepting that new job offer – With the exception of a lay-off, in which case finding a new job immediately is a good thing, changing jobs while your home loan approval is pending is a big mistake. Mortgage lenders prefer two or more years of job history with your current employer. Choosing to change jobs during the loan approval process can get your application tossed in the reject pile. Wait until after you’re in your new home to accept that new job offer.

When you are in the process of buying a home, the last thing you want to see is your home loan application stamped with a big red rejection. Avoid these common mistakes to make sure your loan process goes smoothly through to approval.

Flood Insurance: What You Need to Know

Flood Insurance Myrtle BeachApproximately 41 million Americans live in a flood zone. Being along the coast, many homes in our area are within the coastal flood zone. Did you know that flood damage isn’t covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies? Flood insurance must be purchased separately from The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Here are some more facts about flood insurance homeowners need to know:

1. Your mortgage lender might require you to purchase flood insurance – If you live in a high-risk flood zone, your mortgage lender can require you to purchase flood insurance. To purchase flood insurance, you’ll need an Elevation Certificate (EC). The EC is one of the things used to determine your rate for flood insurance.

2. Even if not required, flood insurance is worth considering if you live near a flood-prone area – More than 20% of the flood insurance claims submitted in 2017 were for homes outside of high-risk areas where flood insurance was not required.

3. Most flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period before coverage is active – Don’t wait until a major storm is brewing to invest in flood insurance. The vast majority of flood insurance policies are purchased an entire year at a time and coverage begins 30-days after purchase.

4. You don’t have to be near a coast or body of water to have flood risk – Flash flooding can occur anywhere – even in desert areas such as Las Vegas, where flash floods have caused major damage in recent years. In fact, 98% of all counties in the United States have experienced a flood event at some point.

5. Flood-proofing updates to your home can save you money on your flood insurance – There are a number of updates you can make to your home to reduce your flood damage risk and save money on your flood insurance policy. Elevating air conditioning units and water heaters with concrete blocks and making sure gutters and downspouts lead water away from the home efficiently are a few of the easier updates. On the more expensive side, you can have your entire home elevated on stilts.

Flood insurance is one of those things that many people don’t realize they need until it’s too late. Homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damage from flood events caused by weather. Investing in flood insurance can give you peace of mind that your home is covered.

Downsizing and Retirement: Benefits You Can Take To The Bank

downsizing and retirement Myrtle BeachIf you are close to retirement or are already retired, downsizing to a smaller home could offer financial benefits that make things more comfortable in this exciting next phase of your life. Even if retirement is a bit farther into the future, downsizing while the market is hot can help you make major progress in financially preparing for retirement. Let’s take a look at the top three benefits of downsizing for those looking to retire in style.

1. Pay off debt – Cashing in on the positive equity in your home and downsizing to a smaller home can free up funds to pay off other kinds of debt you’ve been carrying. You can use your profit to pay off credit cards, vehicle loans, medical bills or even lingering college loan debt.

2. Buy your new home in cash – When you downsize to a less expensive home, the profit could be enough to buy your new, smaller home outright – in cash. Buying your next home in cash is a big benefit. You’ll avoid mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance (typically required for home purchases with less than 20% down payment) and in some areas you might even qualify for reductions on property taxes when your home is paid in full.

3. Super-size your retirement nest egg – Depending on your profit, downsizing to a smaller and less costly home can give you funds to super-size your retirement nest egg. When you are debt-free and have your emergency savings of three to six months of typical expenses built up, you can use the profits from your home sale to grow your 401K, IRA, general savings and stock market investments. Invested wisely, the funds provided by downsizing can make a big difference in the size of your retirement nest egg.

You don’t have to be retired already to take advantage of the financial benefits of downsizing. If you have significant positive equity and more space than you need, downsizing can give you a big financial boost that you can use to pay off lingering debt, buy your next home in cash and grow your retirement savings. Your RE/MAX agent, James Haas, can help you sell the home you have now and also help you find your new home. Downsizing doesn’t have to be complicated when you have a top-notch realtor to guide you through both parts of the process.

Sell My Home Now: 7 Signs you are Ready to List

Sell your Home | Signs you Are Ready Myrtle Beach“Sell my home now!”  When it comes to selling your home, it can be tough to decide when you’re truly ready to list your home. Aside from the emotional factors, there are market conditions, home values and financial issues to consider. Here are 7 signs you’re ready to list your home for sale.

1. Emotionally Ready – One of the biggest factors in deciding to move on from your current home is whether you’re emotionally ready. We build memories in our homes and if you’re not ready emotionally, it can create a much more stressful selling experience.

2. Positive Equity – As home prices have rebounded following the housing crash of 2008/2009, homeowners have recovered positive equity. During the crash, many homeowners shifted into a negative equity situation where they owed more than the home was worth. Now that home values are back up, experts say that 93% of mortgaged homes have positive equity. Just make sure the money you’ll gain from the sale is enough to cover down payment and moving expenses for your new home without touching your emergency savings.

3. Lifestyle Conflicts – If your current home conflicts with your lifestyle, or desired lifestyle, that is a sign you are ready to list. Whether you’re looking to upsize or downsize, just make sure you can afford the home that fits the new lifestyle you’re seeking.

4. Cash Stash – You have enough cash set aside to freshen up your existing home for listing, moving expenses and closing costs or other incidentals – all without dipping into your emergency savings (three to six months’ worth of typical bills and expenses).

5. Debt-Free with Savings – When you’ve paid off all of your non-mortgage debt such as credit cards, college loans and vehicle loans AND you have at least three months’ worth of expenses set aside in your emergency fund (six months is even better), now might be a great time to sell your home. When you have less debt baggage, you have more options available for your next home.

6. Market Knowledge – You understand the current market conditions and know what to expect in terms of profit on the sale of your home. With available inventory still low nationally, the law of supply and demand is still driving home prices upward as there are fewer homes available (supply) than there are buyers looking for a home (demand). Ideally, you want to time your home sale to get the maximum sales price possible before supply catches up with demand and home prices level out.

7. Awesome Realtor – You have an awesome and market-savvy realtor to help you determine what you can reasonably expect to sell your home for and if your local market is expected to level out or continue to rise. A great realtor keeps a finger on the pulse of both the national housing market forecasts and local housing market forecasts to help their clients get the best sales price for their home.

Is it the right time to sell your home? These 7 signs that you are ready to list can help you decide if it’s time to move on from your current home and settle into something new. Before finalizing your decision, make sure you check in with your realtor for the latest info on the market where your current home is located and the market you’re interested in relocating to.

Hurricane Readiness List: Play It Safe

Hurricane Readiness Myrtle beachHurricane season is about to head into what is commonly the most active couple of months, September and October. It’s not too late to make sure you’re prepared for a potential major hurricane this year. Check out this handy list to help you make sure you are ready for any weather event.

  • Know your zone and know your evacuation routes. In Horry County, check out the following website to make sure you know your zone should evacuations be ordered: https://www.horrycounty.org/Online-Services/Know-Your-Zone
  • Create a plan for sheltering in place. If emergency officials begin evacuations and you are not included, sheltering in place reduces traffic and allows those who are ordered to evacuate to get out safely ahead of the storm.
  • Stock enough supplies for each person in your household for three days (also include your furry family). This includes enough bottled water, non-perishable food, medication, batteries, flashlights, first aid supplies and NOAA weather radio for updates on conditions and storm track. Also have sufficient cash on hand should you need additional supplies (credit card machines don’t work during power outages) or are unexpectedly ordered to evacuate.
  • Gather and store important documents in a waterproof safe or other moisture-protective packaging. Also scan and digitally store copies of this paperwork online using a service such as Google Drive, Dropbox or other online document storage option. Note: make sure your digital copies are password-protected to prevent identity theft.
  • Clear out gutters, drains and downspouts to prevent water from backing up into your home. Also consider having check-valves installed for your plumbing system to prevent drain back-ups.
  • Consider investing in hurricane shutters to help protect your windows from flying debris. If you don’t have hurricane shutters, ensure you have 5/8 inch marine plywood pieces cut to fit every window to protect your home from damage caused by flying debris.
  • Keep your vehicle well-maintained, with a full gas tank and keep a change of clothes and emergency supplies in the trunk to be prepared for quick evacuation.
  • Have a communication plan in place to reach family members urgently. Also have a plan in place for out of town family to let them know you’re safe to avoid clogging phone circuits with calls from worried loved ones.
  • Keep trees trimmed and debris hauled away to prevent adding to airborne projectiles that can damage property and injure people.
  • If a storm is approaching, bring in any hanging outdoor items, lawn decorations and lighter items such as children’s toys and patio furniture and store securely in a garage or shed. Anchor or secure any items too heavy to be relocated.
  • In the case of an approaching storm, have a to-do list to prepare for sheltering in place. This list should include filling bathtubs and with water (to help flush toilets manually), turning the freezer and refrigerator to the coldest setting to help preserve food in case of a power outage, filling coolers and the washing machine with ice for any medications or other essential items that must be kept cold (insulin is a good example) and making sure cell phones and tablets are fully charged to access updates and news.
  • Always follow the instructions of emergency management officials. If ordered to evacuate, do so quickly and make sure you have plans in place for your pets as many shelters will not accept animals. Do not leave pets behind in the event of an evacuation.

With recently more unpredictable weather conditions and stronger storms, a major hurricane is a possibility for the Myrtle Beach area every year during hurricane season (June 1 to November 30). Getting prepared and stocked up now means you and your family will be ready for any weather situation.

Flexible Furniture: From Starter Home to Retirement Home

Flexible Furniture Myrtle BeachFurniture can set the tone for your entire home. Many make the mistake of choosing cheap furniture for their starter home, thinking that they’ll invest in better quality furniture when they move on to their dream home. This strategy often results in more spending over time on poor quality furniture pieces than if they had chosen a few flexible high-quality pieces from the beginning. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • A Compact Leather Sofa – A well-made leather sofa is a quality piece of furniture that is durable enough to move with you and still look great. Leather is durable and resists wear and tear well over time. Choosing a compact sofa (about the size of a loveseat or a bit larger) provides comfortable seating in starter homes without overwhelming smaller spaces. When you upgrade to a larger home, your compact leather sofa easily transitions to your den or home office.
  • A Standard Sideboard – A standard sideboard unit provides extra storage while also providing serving space for entertaining or even a TV/media unit. When you upgrade to a larger home, a sideboard is a great way to add storage to a bedroom or transition to your formal dining room for a super convenient space to store your heirloom china and good silverware.
  • An Extended Padded Headboard – Bedroom furniture is one area many people skimp on in their starter home, often assuming they’ll opt for a larger bed when they have more space. There is no need to put off having a comfortable and luxurious-feeling bedroom. A wall-mounted or freestanding extended padded headboard works with the bed you have now and the larger bed you plan to upgrade to. The key is to select one that is one to two sizes larger than the bed you have now so your investment in this piece works now and in the future.
  • A Pair of Matching Side Chairs – In a starter home, a pair of matching side chairs work well in your living room. When you move on to a larger home, your side chairs work well in a number of different rooms. For example, matching side chairs provide great seating in a den or home office, a cozy reading nook or even used individually in two bedrooms to create a sense of unity throughout the house. Choose a solid neutral color such as brown, gray or navy and a durable fabric to make sure this investment goes the distance.

Putting off investing in quality furniture until you are in your dream home isn’t necessary. Choosing high-quality flexible pieces that work well in any size space and are built to last gives you beautiful pieces now, when you up-size and even someday when you are ready to downsize again.

Home Maintenance: A Monthly Checklist

Home Maintenance Monthly ChecklistKeeping up with the maintenance both inside and outside of your home can be a chore! A great idea is to break up your to-do list over the course of a year and you’ll have just a few simple items each month to take care of. As a bonus, by spreading out your home maintenance over the year, you won’t be overwhelmed with a giant once-per-year list and you’re more likely to notice details of wear and tear before you have a big problem. To get you started, here’s a handy monthly checklist of common maintenance items (adjust as necessary for your home’s unique needs):

January 

  • Go room-by-room and declutter. Focus on items you haven’t used in at least a year and donate as many bags per room as possible.
  • Clean kitchen light fixtures (including recessed and canned light fixtures), check for signs of overheating and replace any burned out bulbs.

February

  • Change the air filter in your HVAC system.
  • Clean light fixtures in the living room, family room and dining room, check for signs of wear and tear and replace any burned out bulbs.
  • Dust/clean baseboards and vents.

March 

  • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries as needed.
  • Vacuum, turn and rotate mattresses. Wash any bedding items that are infrequently used or not often washed.

April

  • Schedule HVAC service appointment for cleaning and regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system. Make sure the air filter for system is replaced.
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts, check debris carefully for birds’ nests. Even if you have leaf-guard style gutters, debris and nests might still be present.
  • Inspect deck and all outdoor wooden structures for any damage and make any necessary repairs.

May

  • Prep for hurricane season! Check and restock your emergency kit and hurricane supplies. Make sure you have a flashlight or LED lantern, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, non-perishable ready-to-eat food, plenty of bottled water, any necessary paperwork you might need in an evacuation collected and stored in a waterproof case or bag, pet food and supplies for your furry and feathered family.
  • Check hurricane shutters, test to ensure they are closing properly and repair any damage.
  • Test and run your generator to ensure it’s operating properly. Ideally, it’s a good idea to have your generator professionally serviced each year. May is a great month to schedule this service as hurricane season starts June 1.

June

  • Clean light fixtures in all bedrooms.
  • Have ducts and vents professionally cleaned and inspected for leaks or needed repairs.
  • Replace the air filter for your HVAC system.
  • Check your attic to make sure insulation hasn’t been disturbed (signs of leaks or critters), ensure the space is properly sealed and vented to prevent condensation and mold growth (and leaks) and check thoroughly for any critters that might have gotten in during the cooler months.

July

  • Do a thorough deep clean of your fridge, freezer and pantry. Make sure to clean refrigerator coils according to manufacturer directions.
  • Deep clean the dishwasher. Remove and empty any debris in the food trap, wipe down inside walls and racks with hot soapy water and clean the outside with hot soapy water as well. Pour one to two cups of white vinegar into the dishwasher while empty and run a cycle on the hottest setting to disinfect.

August

  • Wash all windows inside and outside.
  • Change the air filter for your HVAC system.
  • Dust ceiling fans, in corners and along ceilings to remove dust and cobwebs.
  • If you have a fireplace (and you have used it within the last year), have it professionally cleaned and inspected to prevent creosote build-up – a major cause of chimney fires.

September

  • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries if you did not do so in March, or if they need replacing again.
  • Clean and inspect light fixtures in the living room, dining room and family room.
  • Check and replace caulking and weatherstripping around doors, windows, pipes and vents.
  • Touch up paint inside and outside. Open windows for proper ventilation to prevent fumes from impacting your indoor air quality.

October

  • Schedule professional cleaning and maintenance on your HVAC system. Make sure the air filter is replaced.
  • Vacuum, turn and rotate mattresses. Wash any infrequently used or infrequently washed bedding items.
  • Sweep out garage and declutter as necessary.
  • Service and winterize any outdoor equipment you will not need again until spring.
  • Test and run generator to ensure it is operating properly.

November

  • Shut down and winterize any outdoor water lines for sprinklers, outdoor taps and taps in the garage.
  • Clean and inspect the gutters and downspouts for leaks or needed repairs.
  • Clean light fixtures in all bedrooms.
  • Dust/clean baseboards and vents.
  • Clean ceiling fans, dust corners and along ceilings.

December

  • Replace the air filter in your HVAC system.
  • Lint roll or use a vacuum attachment to clean lampshades, upholstery and draperies.
  • Inspect holiday decorations for broken items that need to be discarded. Look over your holiday decorations and donate any that you no longer use (that are not broken).

Taking care of a few home maintenance tasks each month helps you avoid the big once-yearly scrub down or typical spring cleaning. Handling only a couple of tasks at a time decreases stress, helps you notice little details you might miss if you were rushing through a big to-do list and makes home maintenance and upkeep easier to manage. We hope our monthly checklist helps you get into a regular routine that keeps everything in your home running smoothly.

Top Renovations To Boost Home Value

Boost Home Value Renovations

The current real estate market is very different from years (and decades) ago. What used to be big home value boosters no longer get you the same bang for your buck. Why? Home values are already at record highs in many markets. This makes it much more difficult for big budget home improvement projects to provide the return on investment that would have been possible in the past.

Best Home Value Boosters

  • The best home value boosters are surprisingly practical. The best improvements to focus on are on the outside of your home, rather than inside. Curb appeal and structural upkeep will net you much more of a boost than superficial upgrades inside. Here are just a few:
  • Replace old, beat-up garage doors with brand new ones.
  • Replace worn and frayed siding with brand new siding.
  • Add a stone veneer on the bottom third of the home on the outside, particularly across the entire front of the house and any side visible when driving by.
  • Add or repair wooden porches and patios in front of the home.
  • If the roof is a bit worse for wear, replace the roof for the best value boost.

Home Value Non-Boosters

The home improvement projects that give you the least boost in home value are often in the category of the most expensive as well. Superficial and personal-taste style projects have the lowest boost potential. Here are a few of the home renovation projects that fail to launch in today’s market:

  • Adding a backyard patio/deck.
  • Extending the home with an addition – whether a single room or several. That add-on master suite is unlikely to entice buyers to go for a higher asking price the way it did just a few years ago.
  • Major kitchen remodels – total down-to-the-studs kitchen renovations don’t earn out when it’s time to sell.
  • Total bathroom overhauls just don’t bring in the big bucks the way they used to. There is one exception that does fair a bit better in getting a decent return on your investment – converting your bathroom to universal design (no thresholds, handicap-friendly).

If you’re planning to make a few updates or improvements to your home and you intend to sell within the next couple of years, it helps to know which improvements give you the best boost in home value for your renovation budget. Exterior projects and curb appeal are the practical updates that impress buyers in the current market. The good news is that those practical updates are often more affordable than the extravagant updates buyers looked for in previous years.