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This section is a mixture of our newest listings, real estate news and some of the testimonials and accolades that our agents have received from satisfied clients.  

Please reach out if you have any questions.  We'd love to talk with you!

 

 

Jan. 22, 2019

Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early Without Going Broke

Paying off your mortgage may seem like a mountain you simply cannot climb. You went through the stress and excitement of house shopping, found the perfect place to live, and now you have to pay for it. 

Even if you pay off your mortgage a couple years early, it can save you thousands in interest payments. However, trying to pay extra on your mortgage can cause money stress you simply don't need. Here are a few of the best tips to help you with how to pay off your mortgage early without going broke.

Round Up

You don't have to go broke trying to pay hundreds extra every month on your mortgage payment. Simply start by rounding up to the nearest $100. For example, if your payment is supposed to be $1,248.95, round it up to $1,300. That just an extra $51.05 per month, but over the course of a year, you'll pay an extra $612.60, which is nearly a half a payment.

Even if you don't think you can afford the extra $51, you can round up to the nearest $50 or to the next dollar even. While the smaller amounts won't make a huge difference, they still help and you can adjust as you feel more comfortable in the future.

Use Your Tax Refund

Most families get a pretty nice tax refund each year. When tax time rolls around, allocate at least some of the cash to pay extra on your mortgage. The smartest thing you could do is to pay it all towards your mortgage, but even if you just use your tax refund to make one extra payment per year, it will make a big difference. 

Paying one extra payment per year with your tax refund will help you pay off your mortgage a few years early. If you can make two extra payments, it will get you there even faster. 

Create Your Own Payment Schedule

If you're on a 30-year mortgage it doesn't mean you cannot make the payment of a 15-year mortgage and cut your term in half. You can use an online amortization schedule calculator to figure out what your payment would be on a 15-year mortgage. Just make sure you enter the right interest rate and the loan amount (not the amount your home is worth or the sales price).

Ditch PMI & Pay the Extra Towards Your Mortgage

Maybe you have a mortgage that includes Private Mortgage Insurance. This happens when you don’t put down at least 20% on most loan programs. However, when you build up enough equity, you can ditch PMI through a refinance or just by asking your current mortgage company to waive it.

You may be paying an extra $100 or $200 on your mortgage payment every month for the PMI portion. Getting 20% equity in your home may take a few years, but once you do, you can ditch PMI and start paying that extra money towards your payment every month.

You don't have to go broke to pay off your mortgage faster. These strategies will help you and you can even combine a few of them to get your mortgage paid off even sooner.

 

 

Jan. 21, 2019

The Myths Are False

Millennials are Still Buying Homes, Regardless of the Myths

Many myths are floating around out there talking about how Millennials are not buying homes. These myths are false. Last year, Millennials actually became one of the top groups of buyers representing about 35% of the real estate market, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors. 

Millennials are defined as anybody born between 1980 and 2005. About 65% of the millennials buying homes in 2018 were first-time home buyers. The report from the NAR also showed how mobile the Millennial buyers are as they are not afraid to move to a new location. 

In addition to these stats, the report showed younger buyers becoming more interested in older homes to renovate and live in. These homes are being sold mostly by baby boomers as the baby boomer generation moves to urban condos and active adult communities. 

Why Millennials Buyers are Taking Over the Market

The biggest obstacle for Millennial buyers has been student loans. Even with student debt levels, Millennials are not more settled into careers and have savings routines allowing them some financial comfort for the future. Most contribute to a 401k regularly and other types of investments. 

Due to this balance between debt and savings, many Millennial buyers are finally in a position to afford a home. Many are even using their general savings or retirement accounts as down payments on their first homes.

Millennials Look for Help When Searching for a Home

While Millennials are very familiar with technology and rely on it quite a bit, they don't rely on it as much for finding the right home. Unlike other generations that hop online and start a search for the perfect home, Millennials don't lean as much towards the do-it-yourself approach to searching for a home. 

Only 40% of Millennials admitted their first step in the home search was to search the online listings. In addition, only 43% believed the virtual tours were very useful. These percentages are much higher for other major buying age groups compared to Millennial buyers.

The Starter Home is Dead with Millennials

Another interesting thing the NAR report and other reports are showing is that the starter home doesn't really exist for Millennials. This group of buyers is less interested in the starter home approach than other generations of home buyers.

Instead, they are more likely to buy their first home and stay for a much longer amount of time compared to a parent or an older sibling. While Millennial buyers are not afraid to move to a new location, when they do, they have no plans to leave that location any time soon.

You can read all the myths out there about how Millennials aren't buying homes, but they are now all false. While they may have been true a few years ago, 2018 showed the Millennial buyer starting to take over the market and become a force. It's not far more common for Millennials to buy a home than it has been in the past.

Posted in Market Trends
Jan. 20, 2019

Getting Exposure Sells Homes

Find Out Why The Exposure Factor Will Determine Your Price

Getting the right exposure is one of the biggest factors to getting your home sold, whether listing with an agent or going the FSBO route. Exposure equals demand and the more exposure you can get more demand. More demand leads to more offers and a higher price. You may even be able to start a bidding war and get a price above market value if enough exposure is created.

Finding the perfect buyer means you may be able to sell the property for more money. The perfect buyer is a better match for the property compared to the buyer that says the property will work for them but isn't in love with it or the investor that believes the numbers will work if they can get it at a specific price. The perfect buyer loves the property and may be willing to pay more to ensure they get it.

Get Your Property Out To As Many People As Possible

The first key to exposure is getting your property in front of as many eyeballs as possible. The more people that see your property, the better. This is the least important of the three keys to the exposure factor, yet it's still very important.

You can have a property in the best condition, at the right price, but if nobody sees it, you may never get it sold. Getting the most amount of exposure as possible, such as putting a sign in the yard, putting the property on Craigslist, Facebook, and NextDoor. This may be enough, but it's just the start of getting exposure for the property.

Get Detailed With Your Marketing

Beyond the basic steps of getting exposure, you want to get very detailed with your marketing approach. This is the second key to the exposure factor and the more detailed you get, the better. Targeting the right type of buyers will make a difference when seeking to find the perfect buyer for your property.

This is quite a bit more difficult on the FSBO side of things because you probably aren't selling properties every single day as an agent does. Agents have a large database of people from their time of marketing other properties, which they can use to find the perfect buyer for your property. This is a very powerful way to find the right buyer and target very specific types of buyers for your property.

Continuing To Update Your Marketing

The final factor of the exposure factor is the compound effect. This effect is simply repeating and refreshing the marketing. This helps to ensure people see your property over and over again, which helps to give you the exposure you need to get your property sold.

 

With the right agent, you'll have a full staff of marketers working for you and ensuring your marketing strategy is updated and refreshed regularly.

 

Jan. 19, 2019

Fun in Myrtle Beach under Ten Dollars

Can You Really Have Fun in Myrtle Beach for $10 or Less?

You just relocated to Myrtle Beach or you just bought your first investment property and money is a bit tighter than normal. It's understandable after a down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, new furniture, and probably several meals out during the process.

Just because your cash is a bit tight doesn't mean you can't have fun in Myrtle Beach. There are several things you can do for less than $10 per person or even for less than $10 total. Here's a list of some of the best things you can do without breaking the bank.

Hit the Beach

You can easily spend less than $10 to hit the beach when the weather is nice. Just load up the cooler with some waters, pack up the car or take public transportation, and enjoy the sunshine. Going to the beach is one of the most affordable ways to enjoy a day of fun in Myrtle Beach.

If you go to the beach in the summer, you can even enjoy Summer Nights at Broadway at the Beach. These events offer all kinds of fun during the summer with free entertainment, live music and some of the nights even include fireworks.

Go to Myrtle Beach State Park

A great way to get outside and enjoy some fun for less than $10 per person is found at Myrtle Beach State Park. You can get in for just $5 per adult and $3 for kids age 6 to 15. The little ones under 6 years of age get in free. 

At the park, you can enjoy plenty of natural beauty with the maritime forest and even learn a little bit at the nature center. You can also enjoy an uncluttered beach as you search for shells and bask in the sun.

Go Bowling

710 Bowling found in North Myrtle Beach offers a great choice for those looking to have some indoor fun in Myrtle Beach for less than $10 per person. If you go before 6pm, you can usually bowl for about $3 or $4 per person. They also offer several free games including darts, board games, table tennis, and bocce ball. 

Enjoy Some Art

The Myrtle Beach Art Museum on South Ocean Boulevard offers a great way to enjoy something cheap when money is tight. It's found in a historic villa and offers plenty of great exhibitions. They accept donations, but admission is actually free to the museum.

Catch a Baseball Game

During the summer months, you can enjoy a baseball game for less than $10 per person. Usually, you can score tickets for $9, but they may be even cheaper on a good promotional night. Head out to the field to rood on the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs found right here in Myrtle Beach. Even if you're not a Pelicans fan, a minor league baseball game offers plenty of fun for the entire family.

 

There are several ways to have plenty of fun without spending a ton of cash in Myrtle Beach. We know the budget gets tight after buying a new house, but you still want to get out and enjoy some fun in your new city. Check out the attractions above and you're sure to find something fun you can do for less than $10.

 

Jan. 18, 2019

Interviewing Real Estate Agents to List your Home

How Can Every Agent Be #1 In The Market?

This is a common question from those entering the real estate market and interviewing real estate agents. Every agent seems to believe they are #1 in the market. How is this possible and how do you figure out who is the right fit for listing your property for sale?

Agent Interviews Will Include Lots of Facts and Figures

Whenever you interview a real estate agent, the interview will include plenty of facts and figures getting floated around. The competition is also very tight with so many agents competing for listings in our market right now. 

The facts and figures agents float around during the interview may make them or their office appear to be #1. However, it's important for you to understand what these facts and figures really mean and what they are looking at to determine their #1 status.

Production Difference Within the Top 100 Agents

Most buyers and sellers have no clue how much production difference there is within the top 15 or 20 agents compared to the top 80 to 100 agents in the market. There's a vast difference within the range of the top 80 to 100 agents compared to those ranking 1 through 20, yet all of those agents are found in the top 100. 

Imagine this with a market that has several thousand agents. The difference between the top 1% and the top 3% can be huge. 

How can Everybody be #1?

You have to know the numbers you're looking at. If you slice and dice the numbers in enough different ways, it can make everybody look like they are #1 at something. This makes it vital for you as a buyer or seller to know what you're looking at. 

Are you looking at market numbers or neighborhoods numbers? Are the numbers for the current year or for last year? Are the numbers from the past 25 years?

Once you know the numbers you're looking at, you need to decide how important the numbers are and why they are important to you.

What's the Agent Going to Do For You?

While you can make your agent decision purely off the numbers, it's important to understand what the agent will be doing for you. Remember, the numbers only represent what the agent has done previously. Past activity isn't always the best indicator of future results. 

 

You really need to find out from the agent you are interviewing what the marketing plan will be and how they will get your property more exposure. Finding out what the agent plans to do going forward is more important than previous sales. 

 

Jan. 18, 2019

New Myrtle Beach Attractions

Best Myrtle Beach Attractions Opened in 2018

Since the New Year has arrived, it's important to look back and remember some of the things from 2018. Myrtle Beach saw many new attractions open and not all of them can make the list as the best. Here's a look at the best new attractions in Myrtle Beach opened in 2018.

Barefoot Landing Expansion

Barefoot Landing is highly popular and one of the best places to go for dining and entertainment. This new walkable restaurant district expanded in the spring of 2018 to include even more great spots for residents to enjoy.

The expansion of Barefoot Landing is called the Dockside Village and offers plenty of great common areas for relaxing along the waterfront. It has also paved the way for many new restaurants and places for residents to mingle.

The Simpsons in 4D 

Broadway at the Beach saw a new and unique attraction open called The Simpsons in 4D. It includes a replica of the Kwik-E-Mart from the show and the attraction opened in August of 2018. The Kwik-E-Mart opened first with even more coming later in the year including the Aztec Theater. 

The Simpsons in 4D allows guests to rub elbows with the residents of Springfield from the favorite show The Simpsons. The attraction includes a fully themed lobby and theater experience with incredible details. Tickets to The Simpsons in 4D also include a Hollywood premier-style souvenir photo. 

Ocean Boulevard Entertainment Complex

Opened just before the summer started, the Ocean Boulevard Entertainment Complex has been long awaited in Myrtle Beach. It broke ground in 2017 and now provides 55,000 square feet of space and three stories. The complex is home to many restaurants, shopping options and much more.

The first floor offers Papa's Raw Bar and Burgerfi, while The Bimini Room is found on the second floor with a rooftop patio overlooking Ocean Boulevard. The entire third floor is occupied by Tin Roof, which is a Nashville-based entertainment venue. 

The design of the complex offers open-air breezeway, glass exterior walls, a contemporary look and plenty of outdoor seating. It's a new way to enjoy beach entertainment with plenty of fun including shops and vendors throughout.

810 Bowling

Opened in Market Commons, 810 Bowling is now available for all to enjoy. It opened in June of 2018 and provides plenty of indoor entertainment for those raining days. 

The bowling includes several luxury lanes to choose from, along with traditional options and a separate glow-bow area. The venue also offers many games and activities, along with areas for special events. A full menu is served at 810 Bowling and provides plenty of great options.

 

These are some of the top attractions to open in 2018 in Myrtle Beach. There are several more to come in 2019 and beyond. One of the most anticipated attractions expected to open in 2019 is TopGolf. This attraction was announced in 2017 and will provide another great entertainment option for the residents and visitors of Myrtle Beach.

 

Jan. 8, 2019

Understanding the HOA

Advantages & Disadvantages of Homeowner's Associations

When buying a home in Myrtle Beach, it's important to understand how the Homeowner's Association (HOA) works. Some buyers simply won't want to live in a community with an HOA, while others will likely prefer it. Figuring out which category you fall into is very important when you head out to find the perfect Myrtle Beach home for you.

About half the communities throughout Myrtle Beach do have an HOA. For some buyers, this is great, but for others, it's simply not something they want. Here's a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of living in a community with an HOA.

Advantages of an HOA

HOA's are preferred by some buyers because of what they provide. Sure, you have to pay monthly dues, but you get things in return for those dues. Here are some of the advantages of living in a community with an HOA.

Amenities

Probably the biggest reason home buyers want to live in a community with an HOA is the amenities they get. The amenities have to be managed and paid for by someone and the HOA takes care of this. Each homeowner will pay a specific monthly amount, usually labeled as HOA dues, to help maintain the amenities within the community.

Amenities will vary from one community to another, but often include:

Swimming pools

Playgrounds

Private beach access

Gated entrances

Security

Basketball courts

Tennis courts

Clubhouses

Fitness centers

Lakes

And More!

Lower Utility Rates

In some cases, an HOA will get you better rates on the common utilities of the community. It will vary from one community to another, but your HOA dues could include trash pickup and basic cable as a part of the cost. The rate you will get these utilities at will be much lower compared to paying for them yourself.

Community Uniformity

The uniformity of the community can be seen as an HOA advantage and disadvantage. Many home buyers complain about this as they don't want to be told what they can and cannot do with their property. However, this can also be good as it helps to control the community landscaping, what's in a neighbor’s yard, animals allowed in the community, businesses run from home and other aspects of the community.

This control helps to ensure your home doesn't lose value due to something your neighbor does or won't do. The HOA will ensure the appearance of the home's exterior in your community adheres to the guidelines. This may include the colors you are allowed to paint your home.

Disadvantages of an HOA

While an HOA does provide value, there are things you may not like about this type of community. Consider these disadvantages before you decide to buy a home in an HOA community.

Fencing & Landscaping Restrictions

HOA's will often have specific restrictions on the type of fencing and landscaping you're allowed to have. You may have to get approval if you want to remove a tree, plant a new bush, or put up a fence. There's a certain standard an HOA is trying to keep for the community and even removing a tree must be regulated.

Parking

Often, parking can be a hassle with an HOA when it's not just your normal vehicle. For example, if you want to park an RV or boat in your driveway, you'll probably get in trouble in an HOA community. Even a work truck with an advertisement for your business may not be permitted. 

In addition, an HOA may not allow any parking on the street at any time. This could even lead to a fine if you get caught. 

Getting Used to Regulations

If you're not used to the regulations of an HOA, it can be quite an adjustment. When you have to get approval for anything you do to your property, it can seem like it's not even yours anymore. This can be difficult for some homeowners, but others prefer to be regulated.

 

Choosing to live in an HOA community or choosing not to live in this type of community is often a personal choice. It's important to know which side you prefer before you hire a Myrtle Beach real estate agent and start your home search.

 

Jan. 7, 2019

Who Is Looking for FSBO Properties?

3 Types of Buyers Looking at FSBO Properties

If you're trying to sell your property yourself, it's important to know who's looking for FSBO properties. There are typically three types of buyers looking for these types of properties. Here's a look at the three types of buyers seeking out FSBO properties.

Buyer Not Working with an Agent

The number one type of buyer looking for FSBO Properties is someone not working with an agent. They may choose not to work with an agent because they are looking for owner financing. Usually, if a buyer is pre-qualified for a mortgage or ready to pay cash, they will hire an agent to do the legwork.

Usually, buyers that don't qualify for normal or conventional financing will seek FSBO properties without an agent. Buyers don't pay the commission to an agent, so there usually has to be a special circumstance for a buyer not to work with an agent.

Buyers Further Out from Actually Buying

Another type of buyer that will seek out FSBO properties is the buyer not ready to make a commitment yet. They are looking for a really good deal if they are going to buy now, but they will likely buy in six to nine months. 

Buyers Looking for a Discount

About half of the buyers seeking out FSBO properties are looking for a discount. As an FSBO seller, you may be selling to save on the commission you'd pay an agent. About half the buyers out there looking for your property are hoping you will pass that discount onto them.

These buyers are looking for a better deal and properties found below market value or right at market value. Since you won't be paying a 6% commission, buyers think they should be able to buy below market value to save money. Often, this leads to low-ball offers on your property.

As an FSBO seller, these are the three types of buyers you will likely come up against. Each is a bit unique and understanding the buyer may help you sell your property.

Jan. 6, 2019

Improving the Zestimate for your Property

 

3 Quick Steps To Improving The Zestimate For Your Property

Changing or adjusting the value of your property on Zillow can make a difference. Here are a few things you can do to help you change the Zestimate. 

Find the Property

Start by putting your address in and finding your property on Zillow. Make sure to use the street address, street number, and zip code. If you're in a very rural area, it may be a bit harder to find the property.

Once you find the property, you will need to claim it. This is simply done by clicking the "Update my Zestimate" or "Edit" button. Then, you will be asked to sign in to Zillow. If you've never signed into Zillow before, just click "I Don't have a Password" and fill in the information. 

Next, you will confirm the owner of the property. Zillow will email you after you do this, which allows you to adjust or edit the profile and the property now.

Changing Your Property Profile on Zillow

There are three things you can do to improve your Zestimate on Zillow. First, you want to go into the property and make some changes to the features, rooms, bedrooms, baths, square footage, and anything that has to do with the home features.

Second, you can upload an appraisal you have had done recently. Whether it was for a refinance or another reason, you can upload this document to help improve your Zestimate. 

Third, you can add what you think the property is worth, but you want to make sure it's as accurate as possible to give the property a good representation online.

The best way to ensure you get the most accurate value on Zillow for your property is to contact a real estate agent to pull comparable sales in the area. A good real estate agent can look at the comps to ensure the value you submit to Zillow is accurate based on the current market conditions.

Why is this Important?

Even if you're not looking to sell, it's important to claim your property and have a proper value on Zillow. Over time, Zillow will show the trend of your property, which means, when it's time to sell, you want the trend to show up correctly.

If Zillow doesn't have enough information, the valuation won't be correct. However, by claiming your property and making the right changes to the profile for your property, you'll be able to show the most accurate trend on Zillow. Then, when it's time to sell, you'll be ready and so will Zillow's profile for your property.

 

Jan. 5, 2019

Great Resorts for a Valentine's Day Getaway

Where to Go for Romance in Myrtle Beach, SC?

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it's time to get romantic with your special someone. If you're looking for a great romantic getaway or stay-cation, Myrtle Beach has plenty to offer. There are several great resorts perfect for Valentine’s Day and even if the weather isn't perfect, you can have a great time.

Sometimes, the best getaways are those right within your city, especially in Myrtle Beach. Tourists get to enjoy the wonderful resorts all the time, but those living in Myrtle Beach tend to miss out. Now is the time to book your romantic stay-cation and enjoy a few days at one of the most romantic resorts found in Myrtle Beach.

Ocean Creek Resort Myrtle Beach

Covering a total of 57 acres, you won't need to leave this resort to enjoy romance. Ocean Creek Resort offers oceanfront villas, garden homes and condos to choose from with plenty of privacy. Get away from the hustle and bustle of life for a few days and enjoy bike rides, walks along the many trails and boardwalks, amazing views and so much more.

The location of this resort is very close to Barefoot Landing, which makes it easy to enjoy great dining, too. Book your reservation for your getaway and include a table at Greg Norman's Australian Grille or one of the fine restaurants nearby.

Sandy Beach Oceanfront Resort Myrtle Beach

Another great choice for romance, Sand Beach Oceanfront Resort offers two-person Jacuzzi tubs in the rooms. Enjoy plenty of romance here with a lazy river you can float down, on-site whirlpools, and plenty of amenities. 

Caribbean Resort & Villas Myrtle Beach

Those seeking a romantic resort with a spa will love what the Caribbean Resort & Villas offers. This resort is home to The Mist Spa with plenty of amazing treatments including couples massages. You can book a villa, condo or suite for your stay and enjoy plenty of romance throughout your time here.

The Caribbean Resort & Villas is found next to the Sea Captain’s House, which offers plenty of fresh seafood. This location makes it an even better choice for your romantic getaway.

Marina Inn at Grande Dunes

Book the honeymoon package with Marina Inn at Grande Dunes and enjoy all kinds of romance. They offer several romance packages with upscale accommodations including a fireplace, whirlpool hot tub, terrace and more. You can enjoy a wonderful dinner at the Waterscapes Restaurant and even relax with a martini from the bar. They even offer hot stone massages in your private room.

Avista Resort North Myrtle Beach

The location of the Avista Resort allows you to enjoy the best of North Myrtle Beach, but you don't even need to leave the resort for romance. Avista Resort offers plenty of luxurious amenities with a full-service restaurant called Just Off Main and plenty more. 

 

If you're looking for the right way to enjoy Valentine's Day this year, book a stay at one of the best resorts in Myrtle Beach. Even just a couple of days can be enough to let you escape from normal life and reconnect with your special someone.