5 Ways Your Home Could Scare Off Potential Home Buyers

How to scare off potential home buyersHas your home been lingering on the market with not much interest from home buyers? It’s possible your home could be scaring off potential buyers. Here are 5 ways your home could be sending buyers screaming for the hills:

1. Evidence of hoarding in the home.
Long-term hoarding situations in homes result in disrepair as problems like leaks, mold and other damaging conditions can go unnoticed for a long time – sometimes years. Even if the items or the hoard is removed from the property, evidence of hoarding can linger. If your home was previously a hoarding site, it’s important to have it professionally addressed to fix any issues caused by the hoarding conditions and restore the home to sellable condition.

2. Dead bugs.
It’s important to keep your home in clean and showing-ready condition. Dead bugs on window screens, in corners and under furnishings are a major turn-off to potential buyers. While it shows that you stay on top of pest control, no one wants to see the evidence of it with visible bug carcasses.

3. Live bugs.
While dead bugs are an issue, live ones are a bigger issue. Neglecting pest control isn’t a good idea either. A few of the top offenders are fleas and bed bugs. If you have pets, make sure you use proper flea control measures for their health and well-being, and to ensure your home is flea-free. Bed bugs can hitch a ride into any home via your clothes, used furniture and your suitcase following a trip. If you even suspect a bug could be a bed bug, get your pest control company out to the home immediately. The longer they have to create an infestation, the harder they are to get rid of and the more buyers they’ll scare off.

4. Bad or lingering smells.
Any kind of strong odors can be a turn-off for potential buyers. Smells from trash, pets and even strong cooking odors can send potential buyers out the door holding their noses. The best smell for your home is no smell at all. Buyers are most drawn to homes that smell simply fresh and clean with no cloying fragrances of any kind.

5. Your prized collection.
Collections generally just look like clutter to potential buyers, no matter how organized they are. It’s best to pack away your prized collection of clown figurines, antique dolls and mounted animal heads. What is enjoyable for you can be viewed as clutter or even downright creepy to potential buyers.

When you’re selling a home, the last thing you want to do is scare off potential buyers. These 5 things could have buyers hot-footing out the front door before they ever see the positives of your home.

Sell My Home Before the End of the Year: 6 Tips to Sell Quick

Sell My House Quick Sell TipsIf you need to sell your home before the end of the year, don’t despair! There is still time and these 6 tips to help you sell quick.

1. Make sure your online listing is as enticing as possible. Create a list of features and details for your listing agent that could be enticing for buyers. Your listing agent should also take care of photos of your home, but make sure to use a professional photographer with experience shooting homes (even if this costs you some money). The more attractive your home looks online, the more people will be willing to venture out to see it in person.

2. Use stand-out features of the home as a focus for holiday decorations. Use your great cozy fireplace as a decoration focal area. That grand sweeping staircase is a great place for twinkling garland. Use that beautiful bay window for your elegantly decorated holiday tree. Just be careful not to overdo it. Keep it clean and elegant.

3. Be super flexible for showings. Keep the home clean and clutter-free so you are ready for showings at a moment’s notice. Being super flexible gives you an edge over other sellers who often restrict showings during the holiday months due to visitors or entertaining. The more potential buyers who can tour your home, the higher the chances you’ll score the quick sale you need.

4. Prioritize curb appeal. Keep leaves raked and cleaned away, clean out gutters, touch up paint, keep stairs and walkways de-iced and safe for buyers to walk on. Consider if your front door needs a fresh coat of paint, if light bulbs need replaced, and if your house numbers need a touch-up or replacement. Make the entrance looks inviting with a brand new welcome mat and a festive wreath on the door.

5. Provide incentives. Incentives can put you ahead of the rest of the other sellers. Offer an appliance fund for buyers to replace older appliances with new ones of their choice. Include extras such as TVs, sound systems, smart technology or patio furniture. Directly state that you’ll cover all closing costs. Be flexible in your negotiations.

6. Have the home pre-inspected before you list it. While buyers will likely have their own inspection, having a pre-inspection available for review by potential buyers shows that you are a motivated seller and that your home is move-in ready. As a bonus, if there are any issues found in the inspection, you can repair them and have repair documentation ready to show a buyer.

If you need to sell your home before the end of the year, time is running out! Work with your real estate agent to make sure you are doing everything possible to ensure a quick sale, including our 6 tips listed above.

Myrtle Beach Real Estate Trends in 3rd Quarter of 2018

real Estate trends Myrtle BeachOne thing realtors always have an eye on are trends in the real estate market, both nationally and locally. Keeping on top of real estate trends allows realtors to better help sellers determine asking prices for their homes and helps buyers know if a home they are interested in is worth the asking price. However, pricing isn’t the only thing realtors learn from real estate trends. Knowing the trends helps them see how available inventory is impacting sales in the area, how the rental market could be influencing the sales market and even helps them track the pace of rising home prices. As you can see, much can be learned from checking out the numbers and watching the trends. Let’s crunch some numbers!

Trends in Real Estate Sales

Compared to other areas of the country, the Myrtle Beach real estate market has enjoyed a steady, even pace of home price increases. The 3rd quarter of 2018 continues this trend of steady growth with a median home sales price of $170,000. Compared to the same period last year, the median sales price was $155,000. This shows an increase of about 10% over the last year – a reasonable and healthy rate of increase. This number covers 525 homes sold this quarter. The number of homes sold is lower than at any point in the preceding year, mostly due to low inventory available for buyers.

The median price per square foot increased 3% to $122 per square foot from the price last year of $118. Why the difference for the increase percentage in median home sales price compared to the price per square foot? Both numbers are including total sales of homes from as small as one-bedroom homes to four-bedroom homes. The biggest increases in median home sales prices by number of bedrooms from the same period of 2017 to 2018 were in three-bedroom homes (median sales price increase of 7.5%) and one-bedroom homes (median sales price increase of 3.9%). Two-bedroom homes and four-bedroom homes saw the smallest increases in median home sales prices. The mix of smaller and larger homes experiencing the higher median sales price increases keeps the median price per square foot more consistent.

How Rentals Impacted Myrtle Beach Real Estate Trends

Rentals generally follow the same formula of supply and demand that home sales follow. When the supply (inventory) is much lower than the demand (buyers or renters), prices go up. When median rental prices are higher, the more likely renters are to consider buying a home – especially if their potential mortgage payment could be lower than what they’re paying to rent. The median cost of rentals for Q3 2018 was $1,500 – only a $50 increase from the same period last year. Part of the reason rental costs have held fairly steady is an increase in the number of available rentals at 146 this quarter to 113 for the same time in 2017. With rental prices holding steady, renters have the option to wait for new constructions to help increase available inventory and provide them with more buying options.

Watching real estate trends might sound as exciting as watching paint dry, however, there is so much valuable information to learn from the trends. While realtors are always watching the trends and crunching the numbers, potential buyers can also use the trends to help determine their best time to buy.

What About Millennials & Home Buying?

Millennials | Home buying Myrtle BeachMillennials is the name for the generation after Generation X (Gen-X) that would be roughly between 18-years-old and 36-years-old today. Primarily the children of Baby Boomers, Millennials grew up during the digital age and many are old enough to remember 9/11. Millennials make up about 35% of home buyers (and growing). Let’s take a closer look at this growing demographic and how they are participating in today’s real estate market.

Traditional Buying Habits

Millennials have thus far shown themselves to be more traditional than Gen-X when it comes to their home buying preferences. Millennials are choosing to buy homes in suburbs more often than within big cities. They are also very attracted to what most people think of as a traditional starter home – a single-family detached home away from the hustle and bustle of urban areas.

However, as the inventory of traditional starter homes has been historically low the last several years, Millennials have made interesting alternative choices. For Millennials struggling to find the ideal home to buy, many have chosen to put off buying instead of settling for other real estate buying options. These buyers have increasingly turned to lifestyle-focused rental communities while waiting for the right buying opportunity.

Lenders and Millennials

Overall, Millennials are entering the real estate market with a higher amount of education-related debt than previous generations. As the real estate market has recovered after the recession, more and more lenders have recognized the unique buyer profile of Millennials and have responded by creating programs to make home ownership more attractive to them. These changes include lower down-payment requirements and allowing a higher debt-to-income ratio than would have been approved in times past. There are also a number of first-time home buyer programs that have adjusted their requirements to accommodate Millennial buyers.

Feeling the Pressure

While Millennials represent the largest and fastest growing demographic of home buyers, Generation Z (Gen Z) are just starting to come of age to enter the real estate market. Early trends of Gen Z show a generation keen to jump into the real estate market right out of the gate as a way of investing in their future and avoiding the ever-rising cycle of renting. They are expected to add even more pressure to a market with not enough inventory to match the number of buyers.

Millennials represent the largest demographic of buyers currently looking for a home. Unfortunately, low inventory of homes available coupled with the types of homes Millennials prefer are keeping prices rising as demand continues to outpace supply.

Sell Your Home: Why A Listing Agent Is So Important

Sell Your House | Listing Agent Myrtle BeachWhen choosing to sell your home, having a great listing agent is so important. There are a number of important roles your listing agent plays throughout the course of the sale. Let’s take a look at some of those important duties your listing agent will perform for you:

1. Consultant in prepping your home for listing – Your listing agent is a great consultant for necessary repairs, upgrades and home staging that will help your home stand out and command the best asking price.

2. Home pricing expert – A listing agent helps you price your home properly. Set the asking price too high and it can turn buyers away, causing your home to linger on the market longer than necessary. Set the asking price too low and it could cause you to lose money you could have earned from the sale to help you transition to your next home.

3. MLS guru to create a listing that attracts agents and buyers – The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is used by realtors to both list homes for their clients and help buying clients find properties that meet their needs. Your listing agent will make sure to include photos (many hire a photographer) that highlight your home’s best features, and describe your listing so that it entices people in the door.

4. Listing promoter – Your listing agent coordinates showings, schedules and advertises open houses, promotes your listing on social media and otherwise is the marketing person out there generating buzz about your amazing home to get it sold as quickly as possible.

5. Guide through contracting and sales process – A listing agent is with you as your guide through every step of the process of selling your home. From the very beginning before your home is officially listed, all the way through considering offers and making counter offers to the day of closing. They are your guide to walk with you through every step so you always have an expert available to answer questions and help you with important decisions.

When you add up all of the roles a listing agent plays in helping sell your home, essentially you have a partner to help you get the best asking price for your home in the shortest amount of time possible. They handle the volumes and volumes of paperwork and do the heavy lifting to get potential buyers in the door.

Donations For Hurricane Florence Victims

Donations for Hurricane Florence VictimsMany people across our area are still facing major clean-up efforts as the flooding from Hurricane Florence recedes. You might be wondering how you can help by donating supplies or items people need. We’ve put together a list of options for donation of goods and items to help our neighbors and friends get back on their feet. Together, we are #CarolinaStrong!

Quick Note: Most organizations helping with relief efforts are not directly accepting clothing or furniture. They are instead referring folks to donate those types of items to the existing organizations they would normally donate such items to as those organizations have the space and ability to handle those larger donations.

Catholic Charities of South Carolina
Catholic Charities currently has the following items on their priority list for people looking to donate goods: cases of bottled water, tarps, baby items, baby diapers, adult diapers, non-perishable food, trash bags, sunscreen, bug spray, cleaning supplies, and gift cards to Walmart, Target, Lowe’s Home Improvement and Home Depot. For more information on where to bring donations and on-going relief efforts, call 843.438.3108.

Waccamaw Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)
Aside from monetary donations, the Waccamaw VOAD has a list of items on their priority list for donations as well. Their list includes: laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, large trash bags, Clorox wipes, personal hygiene products (soap, shampoo, conditioner, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant), small bottles of hand sanitizer, bug spray and sunscreen. For more information and additional items needed, visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Waccamaw-VOAD-123836311618921/

SC Needs Help Donation and Distribution Center
The SC Needs Help Donation Center has listed among their current needs cases of bottled water, bleach, mops, brooms, buckets, dish soap, sponges, first aid kits or items, toothbrushes, personal hygiene needs and more water! They have stated their number one priority need is water. The center is located at 4761-B Northgate Blvd., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577. You can keep up with their latest needs and volunteer opportunities on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/scneedshelp

The Salvation Army
The local Salvation Army has stated the best way to help them in their relief efforts is through monetary donations. More information is available at helpsalvationarmy.org

Thank you to the many people who have already been bringing supplies to these and other organizations to donate to families impacted by the floods. There is still much to do for so many in our community. When the waters recede, that is when the hard work of cleaning up, recovering and rebuilding begins. Our friends and neighbors will need all the help they can get over the weeks and months ahead.

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.