3 Top Reasons To Retire In Myrtle Beach

Retire in Myrtle Beach

If upcoming retirement has you thinking “Myrtle Beach,” you are in good company. Often cited as one of the top places to retire in the U.S., Myrtle Beach and the surrounding Grand Strand has much to offer retirees and their families (because you know they’ll want to visit).

Reasonable Taxes
Taxes can make or break a budget, especially for those living on a fixed income. Taxes in the Myrtle Beach area are fairly reasonable, in general. Specifically, property taxes are lower than many other areas and older adult homeowners qualify for a homestead exemption that makes owning a home here more affordable. In addition, the state of South Carolina doesn’t tax Social Security income and provides a helpful retirement-income deduction when calculating taxes owed to the state.

Great Climate
The Grand Strand has a sub-tropical climate, with warm weather most of the year. The chill only hits for about six weeks or so on average, which means more days per year for outdoor fun like golf, boating, fishing, and visiting the beach. Put one more plus in the Myrtle Beach column!

Retiree-Friendly Activities
The Myrtle Beach area is packed with retiree-friendly activities to keep your social calendar full of unique experiences. With more than 100 golf courses and over 60 miles of beautiful beaches, those are the most obvious attractions for active adults. However, there is so much more to see and do from Little River all the way down through Pawleys Island including, historic sites, gardens, museums, zoos, performing arts, community events, bicycling clubs, Shag dancing, dining, shopping, volunteer opportunities, religious organizations, birdwatching, fishing, and boating–just to name a few.

There are so many reasons why people want to retire in Myrtle Beach, and it’s so much more than sun and sand. If you’re ready to begin exploring for your retirement in the Myrtle Beach area, call Century 21 Broadhurst to start planning your next chapter of adventures.

Mid 2017 Myrtle Beach Real Estate Trends

Myrtle Beach real estate trends

The Myrtle Beach area is a fairly unique housing market, with a surprising number of options and benefits. Here are the latest Myrtle Beach real estate trends to keep you in-the-know.

Trends in Home Pricing
Home prices are rising across the country, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that home values are rising along the Grand Strand as well. However, the trend for rising home prices in the Myrtle Beach market is more slow and steady, compared to other markets that have experienced steep and dramatic increases. This steady and more gradual rise in home prices has kept home ownership within reach for many looking to buy.

Trends in Housing Type
While many markets are experiencing inventory shortages that leave buyers with less options in the type of housing available to buy, the Myrtle Beach market still has plenty of options to choose from. Homebuyers looking in this area can choose from town homes/condos, established homes in older neighborhoods, brand new homes in new construction neighborhoods, and even land lots for those who want to plan out every detail of their new dream home. The Myrtle Beach market also offers a unique mixture of features and views, such as golf course views, lake views, oceanfront, and along the Intracoastal Waterway.

Trends in Education
Research shows proximity to top-notch schools can significantly increase home value appreciation over time and the Myrtle Beach real estate market is a clear winner with this trend, featuring a number of top-rated schools. Just some of these great schools can be found in the communities of Carolina Forest, Forestbrook, Myrtle Beach, Socastee, Surfside Beach and Murrell’s Inlet.

Trends in Days on Market
The Myrtle Beach market performs pretty well on this trend also, with the median days on the market for an average home sale trending less than three months, in most area communities.

The Myrtle Beach real estate market is a real trend-setter. Great schools, quick sales, lots of housing options, and steadily rising home prices make this market a top contender for anyone looking to buy a home. For more on the statistics and Myrtle Beach real estate trends, call on one of our knowledgeable agents at Century 21 Broadhurst as your guide.

Most Popular Myrtle Beach Zip Codes In Real Estate

Myrtle Beach Zip Codes

Looking for a new home in the Myrtle Beach area? Welcome to our guide to the most popular Myrtle Beach zip codes in real estate:

The 29579 zip code includes the communities of Carolina Forest and Forestbrook. With an overall median home value of $246,000, it is one of the pricier zip codes on our list, however, there are lots of housing options including established homes, new builds, condos/townhomes, and land lots on which to build your dream home. The area has a top-rated school system that includes Carolina Forest Elementary, River Oaks Elementary, Forestbrook Elementary, Ocean Bay Middle School, and Carolina Forest High School. The area also features a mix of more established neighborhoods and new construction neighborhoods. Established neighborhoods include Plantation Lakes, Avalon, and The Farm. Newer communities include Waterway Palms and Waterbridge.

The 29577 zip code is classic Myrtle Beach, at the heart of it all. This zip code features a median home value of $174,000 and offers a wide range of options for home buyers. The Myrtle Beach school district has plenty of accolades as a top school system and includes Myrtle Beach Elementary, Myrtle Beach Middle School, and Myrtle Beach High School. This zip code also dips into the desired neighborhood of The Market Common, with mixed residential and commercial options to choose from. Sought after communities in this zip code include Myrtlewood, Seagate Village, Pine Lakes Country Club, The Market Common, and Cresswind–an amenity-rich 55+ active retirement community.

Welcome to the Family Beach! The 29575 zip code is home to the town of Surfside Beach. With a median home value of $218,000, Surfside Beach is a reasonable choice for home buyers who love that small town feeling. Great schools for students in this zip code include Seaside Elementary, St. James Middle School, St. James High School, and Socastee High School. Top-choice neighborhoods in this zip code include Prestwick, Deerfield Plantation, Waterway Estates, Surfside Beach Club, and the Retreat at Ocean Commons.

The home of the Socastee Heritage Festival, the 29588 zip code is most well-known for the Socastee Swing Bridge and several historic sites. This zip code is one of the more affordable with a median home value of $188,000. Aside from the highly-rated Socastee High School, kids living in this zip code attend top-rated schools from K-12 including Burgess Elementary, Palmetto Bays Elementary, Forestbrook Middle School, St. James Middle School, and also St. James High School. Desired neighborhoods in this zip include Silver Fox Landing, The Farm at Timberlake, The Lakes, and Cameron Village.

Which zip code do you want to explore first? Your Century 21 Broadhurst agent is your guide to all the great perks each of these popular Myrtle Beach area zip codes have to offer.

Closing Checklist for New Home Buyers

Closing Checklist for New Home Buyers Myrtle Beach

You’ve finalized a contract for your new home. Congrats! But, your work is far from done. There is a lot to do before closing to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Here is our closing checklist for home buyers:

Inspections and Testing

  • Set up your home inspection and come prepared with questions you may have.
  • Discuss any concerns you may have with your home inspector. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. The more informed you are about the home you are buying, the better your experience as a homeowner will be!
  • Take any photos or measurements you may need to prepare for the move into your new home.
  • Measure windows for window treatments, take photos of paint colors, and make notes about layout of the home that will help you be more prepared for move-in day.
  • Make sure your agent is provided with a list of any issues found in the home inspection that need to be fixed prior to closing.
  • Set up any specialty inspections you may need. Sometimes the main home inspector is certified in these areas and sometimes you’ll need a specialist. Some of these specialty inspections might include mold inspection, radon gas inspection, or termite inspection and certification letter.

Communications with Lender and Attorney

  • Touch base with your lender to verify they have all of the information they need from you, your real estate agent, and the seller to finalize all of the financials.
  • Make sure the appraisal is taken care of (your real estate agent can also help keep tabs on this detail as well).
  • Make sure a closing appointment is scheduled with a real estate attorney and notify your lender of the appointment to ensure all paperwork is ready in time for the closing appointment.

Two-Week Out Details
About two weeks out from closing, you’ll want to make sure you’ve taken care of details that can often get lost in the shuffle.

  • Notify your insurance company of the closing date and set up homeowner’s insurance for your new home.
  • Set up service (or transfer of service from your old home to the new) with your utility company (electric/gas) and the water company.
  • Submit a change of address to the U.S. Postal Service two weeks ahead to give enough time for their forwarding service to be activated.
  • Set up service (or transfer of service) for your internet, phone, and/or television service provider.

Final Walk-through
Your final walk-through should be between one to three days prior to closing.

  • Ensure there have been no changes to the condition of the home since signing the contract and/or inspection. This could be damages caused when the previous owners moved out, appliances removed that should remain in the home, or anything else that seems questionable.
  • Verify that repairs requested as a result of the home inspection have actually been completed. Receipts should be either left in the home or should have been provided to your real estate agent for the work. As a precaution, inspect the fixes to ensure they truly are fixed.

Having a closing checklist can help you keep track of everything that needs to happen between finalizing the contract and closing. And of course, your Century 21 Broadhurst agent will be there to guide you every step of the way.

July is National Picnic Month: Best Picnic Spots in Myrtle Beach

best picnic spots myrtle beach

July is National Picnic Month! Warm weather, blooming flowers, summer breezes… what could be better? A picnic! Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas offer lots of options for the perfect summer picnic. Here are a few of our favorite places for picnicking.

Huntington Beach State Park
This park has lots of options for your next picnic. Enjoy your picnic on the beach, viewing the wildlife in the protected salt marshes or even in the beautiful courtyard of the Atalaya Castle. Huntington Beach State Park is also a favorite picnic spot of avid birdwatchers, known throughout the east coast for the more than 300 species of birds documented on the grounds.

Brookgreen Gardens
Featuring great picnic options, including shelters and stunning gardens, Brookgreen Gardens is a great choice for your next picnic. After your packed lunch is done, kids and kids-at-heart can enjoy the Lowcountry Zoo and the Enchanted Storybook Forest playground.

Grand Park
Across from The Market Common, Grand Park may seem like only a sports park but also offers picnic shelters, ponds, playgrounds and walking paths – perfect for your next picnic day. And you can always finish up your day by exploring the various shops and galleries tucked into The Market Common.

Myrtle Beach State Park
One of the oldest state parks in the southern United States, Myrtle Beach State Park is a favorite of frequent picnickers. With plenty of picnic options including picnic tables with nearby individual grills, oceanfront picnic shelters, handicap beach access and larger areas to reserve for group picnics, you can have a totally unique picnic experience with each visit.

North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex
Part sports mecca, part nature experience, North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex has tons of options for your next picnic. Aside from designated picnic areas, the park features plenty of walking trails, a dog park, an amphitheater, a 10 acre meadow, playgrounds and a 25 acre lake.

Few things are as symbolic of summer as the humble picnic. Celebrate National Picnic Month all July long by taking your packed lunch along to explore these perfect picnic venues. Enjoy!

5 Benefits of Hiring A Listing Agent

Listing Agent Myrtle Beach

If you are planning to sell your home, you may be considering whether to hire a listing agent (also called a seller’s agent) or selling it directly yourself. While lots of websites and articles on the internet make selling your home on your own sound like an easy way to save money, they tend to leave out the little details that end up costing you big in the end. Here are 5 of the best reasons to hire a listing agent.

1. Your listing agent is your guide to the process – Selling a home is far more complicated than it seems for the uninitiated. The volumes of paperwork, the showings, the appraisal, the inspection, the back and forth of negotiating, going under contract, taking back-ups or not taking back-ups and so much more makes the home sales process an often difficult terrain. Your listing agent is your tour guide through the whole sales process from start to closing.

2. Your listing agent has the right tools – From access to the multiple listing service (MLS), to marketing channels, data on neighborhoods and local sales, social media networks and connections within the local real estate industry, your listing agent has all the right tools and training to use them that helps get your home sold for top dollar in the quickest time frame.

3. Your listing agent is an expert on your local market – Listing agents spend a lot of time staying tuned-in to what local buyers are looking for, what homes in your neighborhood are selling for, what features are getting top dollar offers, what competing homes nearby are offering buyers and how to best position your home within your market and neighborhood to make it stand out to potential buyers.

4. Your listing agent is a gatekeeper – Having a listing agent managing the sale of your home means only qualified potential buyers are coming to the home for showings, keeping unqualified people from wasting your time and energy. Your listing agent also acts as a buffer between you and the sometimes unreasonable demands of potential buyers and can advise you on what is worth compromising on and what isn’t.

5. Your listing agent has the right network – A good listing agent doesn’t work in a vacuum. They work with a list of other professionals at various steps in the process and can guide you to these other parties at the right time and ensure the process continues to move along. Just a few of the folks in their network include mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home stagers, inspectors, appraisers, insurance agents and movers to help you move on to your next adventure.

Navigating the unpredictable terrain of selling a home can easily become overwhelming if you try to go the do-it-yourself route. Having a listing agent with Century 21 Broadhurst to help guide you through all of the ups and downs, while avoiding troublesome trails, not only gets you through the process faster and easier but also helps ensure you get top dollar for your home.

Real Estate Trends: Home Values Rise & Increase In Number of Buyers

real Estate trends Myrtle Beach

The trend of rising home values continues across the country. At the same time, the number of buyers looking for a home in most markets has continued to rise as well. What are the factors driving these real estate trends and how long will they continue?

Rising Home Values
Across the country, home values have been steadily rising for the last several years as the housing market recovers from the recession. In many markets, price increases are driven by a very low inventory of homes available for sale. With more potential buyers than homes available, the market has shifted to a seller’s market. Additionally, rising rental rates in many markets allow more room for home values to rise in competition with other housing options.

Specifically in the Myrtle Beach area, the steady stream of retirees relocating to the area has continued to drive up home values throughout the Grand Strand. Additionally, as more land lots are bought up in new residential communities, demand increases for remaining open lots and newly-built homes. With established home owners staying put, the increased demand from incoming residents will continue the trend of rising home values along the South Carolina coast.

Increased Number of Buyers
Despite rising home values, the number of buyers looking to purchase a home continues to increase. A few different factors account for the increase of homebuyers, one of which is the rise in mortgage interest rates. After several years of record low interest rates, buyers see the uptick in mortgage interest rates as a sign to get into a home before the rates rise to a level that puts homeownership out of reach. With rising interest rates comes higher monthly mortgage payments, something that price-sensitive buyers are keenly aware of. For some buyers, the current rates may be the last affordable chance for homeownership for the foreseeable future as forecasts indicate rates will continue to climb.

Another factor increasing the number of buyers searching for a home is the rise in rental rates. In most areas of the country, the cost of rental housing has increased as the general housing market has rebounded. As renters watch their yearly increases get steeper, they look for options to purchase that will be the same or lower than the monthly cost of renting and will help them shift out of the ever-rising rental market before increasing home values and climbing interest rates put such a shift out of reach.

The two big real estate trends are rising home values and increased number of buyers. Both trends are expected to continue for the rest of 2017 and well into 2018, at minimum. It’s a great time to consider selling your home with higher home values and lots of buyers providing the opportunity to get the most out of your home sale.  If you are looking to buy a home in Myrtle Beach, contact Century 21 Broadhurst today.

Home Improvement Watch: Beware of Shady Contractors!

Upgrading your home can be an exciting project, whether it’s one feature in a single room or a multi-room overhaul. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and jump right in with that contractor that your neighbor’s brother’s friend used for their home. However, home improvement projects are first and foremost an investment and like any investment, it’s important to do your research and find the best option for you. Here’s how you avoid the shady characters in home improvement.

Research and verify – Check the Better Business Bureau website to research any complaints filed against them and what the resolution was. You may also find information about their insurance agency, licenses and permits. Also search for reviews online to see what experiences others have had with them. This basic research and verification of their business practices and reputation can help you weed out many of the shady contractors in your area.

Get written estimates – Once you’ve narrowed it down to 3-5 potential contractors that look reputable, get estimates from them in writing. Make sure the estimates spell out the costs for materials, any necessary permits, labor and the timeline for the project.

Talk to their references – If possible, ask for references you can speak to. If you can visit and look at the quality of work, even better. Visiting may not always be feasible but any good contractor should be able to provide you with references who will talk to you by phone.

Check with your insurance agent – The agent who handles your homeowner’s insurance can be an invaluable resource! Your agent has likely heard of or dealt with most of the contractors in town and can often give you the inside scoop on who they would recommend and who they would avoid.

Require a written contract – When you decide which contractor to proceed with, always get a written contract for the work. The important points to make sure are included are payment schedule, work schedule, details of what constitutes satisfactory completion of the work and any local ordinances or codes that must be met and/or must pass inspection before work is considered complete.

Require a copy of insurance certification – Require a copy of the contractor’s up-to-date insurance certificate that demonstrates necessary coverage for the work to be done. Otherwise, you could be left footing the bill should an accident or injury happen on your property.

And one last point – NEVER pay the full cost in advance! While many contractors will need a portion of the money up front to purchase materials for your project, never pay the entire balance up front. Ever.

Before home improvement, doing a little bit of research and making sure to get everything in writing at every stage of the process help protect the investment you are making to upgrade your home. And a few conversations can help you make sure the contractor you are considering is the real deal.

Low Home Appraisal? 5 Things You May Want To Check

Home Appraisal Myrtle Beach

When selling your home, you want to make sure your home appraisal is high enough to justify the price of the contract with the buyer. And if you are refinancing, the higher your appraisal is, the better. If the numbers don’t match up with your expectations, here are five things to check to make sure your appraisal is where it should be.

1. Check the Appraiser’s Report – You can request a copy of the appraiser’s report to review – especially if the appraiser did not actually tour the inside of the home. If the appraiser did not come inside, they may have missed key upgrades that would increase the appraised value. While some upgrades require permits, many do not and that is why making sure the appraiser has toured the home is important. On the flip side, even if you have some really great upgrades, if your upgrades have exceeded the maximum market value of your neighborhood, you may not be able to capitalize on them.

2. Check the Comps – Part of the appraisal process is to review the selling prices of other homes in your neighborhood that are as similar as possible to your home in terms of size, upgrades, type of home and lot size – these are called comps or comparisons. If very few recent sales have happened in your neighborhood, the appraiser may have had to look outside your neighborhood to find data for comps. Ideally, in these cases, the appraiser should seek out a neighborhood of similar value and with similar features to yours like proximity to top rated schools and easy access to public transportation. If the appraiser used comps from another neighborhood, it’s possible that the market value of that neighborhood doesn’t match up with the value of yours. Also, in cases of limited recent comps data, the appraiser may have used comps for homes that don’t match up closely enough with your home to be a good fit.

3. Check the Season – The real estate industry has a seasonal cycle in most areas of the country. During peak selling seasons like spring and summer, homes sell for higher prices than they do during the slower sales season of late fall/early winter. If the appraiser is using only data from other homes sold in your neighborhood in the preceding few months, and those months happen to be September through December, your appraisal can be lower than if the appraiser included comps from the most recent spring and summer months (in some areas, appraisers are limited in how far back they are allowed to look for comps).

4. Check the Appraiser’s Record – Your agent may have to assist with this, but in most cases, you can get some amount of data about the amount of experience and background of the appraiser. If the appraiser is new or inexperienced, they may not have had the appropriate knowledge of your neighborhood to provide a fair appraisal. Likewise, if the appraiser has a history of challenges filed on their appraisals, they could typically overlook details that other appraisers take into consideration.

5. Check into a Second Opinion – While it may cost you money out-of-pocket to do so, if you feel your appraisal is not where it should be, you can have a second independent appraisal done by a different appraiser. Neither the buyer nor the lender are required to abide by the second appraisal but if there is a significant difference in value between the two appraisals, the lender may re-evaluate decisions that were based entirely on the first appraisal.

The appraisal can make or break a pending sale or refinancing agreement. If the numbers don’t seem to add up, check out these five things to make sure your appraisal really is where it should be and communicate any concerns you find to your agent.

Why The Home Inspection Is So Important

Home Inspection Myrtle Beach

With all of the different steps in the process of buying a home, it is easy to overlook just how important a good thorough home inspection truly is. The home inspection looks for any issues inside and outside that should be addressed prior to completing the sale to help prevent you from discovering too late that your dream home is actually a money pit. Recently, our friends from Rivertown Home Inspections joined us at an open house to demonstrate for 40 of our Century 21 agents what should be included in a properly-done home inspection. Here are a few key take-aways that you can use too:

Home Inspection by Rivertown Property Inspections– Inspections should include both interior and exterior, including surrounding land, driveways and sidewalks. Inspections should also look at grading, foundation and integrity of crawlspace access points.

– Exterior structural elements should be inspected up-close. Your inspector should climb up onto the roof to inspect condition of the roof and shingles up-close, as well as chimneys, skylights, gutters and any other structure that accesses the roof or is best examined from the roof. From the ground, the inspector should check the exterior of doors and windows, columns, steps, water spouts, exterior water hook-ups and exterior components of the HVAC system.

– Inside the home, the inspection should include the interior of windows and doors, walls, ceilings, floors, attic (including proper ventilation), basement and any crawlspaces that are accessible from inside rather than outside.

– Your home inspector should inspect all appliances for proper operation, including running appliances like washer, dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, stove/range and oven.

– The inspection should include a thorough look at the HVAC system components, whether heat pump system or other style, as well as inspecting hot water heater.

– Inspectors should do a complete examination of the electrical system in the home, including all switches, lights, fans, testing all plugs and receptacles to ensure they work properly and are code-compliant. Your inspector should also include smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as well, whether they are wired into the electrical system or battery-operated.

– Your inspection should include a full review of all plumbing throughout the home, including water fixtures, sinks, tubs, showers, drains, toilets, water main and all visible/accessible pipe lines under counters, in crawlspaces and basements or in garages.

– Your inspector should also recommend additional specialized inspections if they notice issues that require a specialist to assess them. In South Carolina, these issues may include suspected termite damage and mold issues.

A properly-done home inspection is your best protection against costly repairs that should be covered by the seller and ensuring your new home has structural integrity and is up to code so you and your family know your home is safe before you complete the sale.