Make Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger To Home Buyers

Make your Small Bathroom Seem Bigger To Home Buyers

The old adage of “bathrooms and kitchens sell homes” doesn’t apply in every case. However, if you have a bathroom that is on the small side, you’ll want to think about some changes that can make it look bigger to interested home buyers. Here are seven tricks of the trade to consider:

1. Light it up: Adding light to small rooms creates the impression of more space. To increase light in a small bathroom, consider adding recessed lights in the ceiling, wall sconces or if budget allows, a skylight.

2. Color wisely: Color makes a big difference in how spacious the bathroom feels. Choose colors wisely for the walls and flooring to avoid making the space feel smaller. For wall colors, choose soft neutrals (light beige or soft gray), light pastels or whites to create visual openness. Light colored flooring in a similar color continues the open feeling. If there isn’t room in the budget to redo the flooring, a large bathroom rug that covers as much of the floor as possible will help.

3. Reflect on it: Mirrors reflect light and the soft room-brightening wall colors to enlarge the feeling of the bathroom. Swap out the mirror for a larger one (yet not overwhelming) to enhance the perception of more space.

4. Swap sinks: A bathroom with a vanity style sink and cabinet may be helpful for storage, but it takes up a lot of space. Switch out the vanity for a sleek pedestal sink, and move the storage to a nearby linen closet instead. A pedestal sink takes up less room and creates more space in the bathroom.

5. Bust clutter: Clutter can make even huge rooms feel smaller. Remove all clutter from surfaces (goodbye, decorative soaps from 1987!) and walls. Less items in the bathroom equals more space in the eye of buyers. Replace several smaller wall hangings with one large one and if you must, choose one modern and sleek decorative item.

6. Shelve it: Shelves bring the walls in and make a space feel smaller – especially in a small bathroom. Remove shelving, free-standing over-toilet organizers and anything else that sticks out from the wall that isn’t absolutely necessary. Eliminating features that stick out from the wall visually pushes the walls out, making the space feel larger.

7. A better door: If the shower has a frosted glass door, switch out with a clear see-through door to visually extend the space out to the shower walls. If the bathroom has a shower/tub combo, consider removing the door completely and switching to a light, solid-colored curtain that is similar to the wall color and can be pulled open during showings to create a sense of space.

When selling your home, a small bathroom doesn’t have to be a profit-killer. With these seven tricks of the trade, you’ll be surprised just how much bigger your bathroom will appear to home buyers.

Myrtle Beach Condo Life- Oceanfront, Golf Course or Family Neighborhood?

Myrtle Beach Condo Life

Buying a Myrtle Beach condo comes with some great benefits, such as lower required outdoor maintenance and often resort-style amenities. But what type of condo is right for you and your needs? Are ocean views top on your list, are you an avid golfer, or do you prefer a family-focused community? We review the options and explore what each one has to offer.

Oceanfront Condos

Oceanfront condos in Myrtle Beach and the surrounding Grand Strand are some of the most affordable options for ocean view real estate on the east coast. Condos along the Atlantic are popular with professionals who are drawn to the long list of amenities and with investors who intend to use their condo purchase as a vacation rental. Aside from stunning views of the ocean, these condo units provide access to some of the most luxurious amenities in town, including on-site spa services, private beach cabanas, indoor and outdoor pools, lazy rivers, hot tubs, state-of-the-art exercise facilities, on-site restaurants, bars and entertainment. Oceanfront condos are available at many different price points along the Grand Strand. Luxury-seeking buyers will want to check out Anderson Ocean Club and Dunes Village Resort, to start with.

Golf Course Condos

Condos on the golf course are a-plenty in Myrtle Beach, with more than 100 golf courses nestled along the Grand Strand. Golf enthusiasts are drawn to golf course condos, but so are retirees, and professionals who like the low-maintenance lifestyle but prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle of the beach. Many golf course condos serve as second homes or part-year residences, though there are some vacation rentals mixed in. Many golf course condominium complexes are gated and provide golf course views or lake/pond views, indoor and outdoor pools, top-notch exercise facilities, clubhouses with on-site restaurants, and even pro shops stocked with any golf gear you might need to tee-off on time. Golf course condos are available at a wide range of price points throughout the Grand Strand. Start your search by checking out Myrtlewood Villas and World Tour Grande Villas.

Family Neighborhood Condos

Condos are a great choice for families and offer a great set of amenities that family members of all ages will enjoy. Condos in family-focused neighborhoods are often sought after by young families who intend their condo to be a permanent residence. Although one may be found here and there, condos in family neighborhoods are not often used as vacation rentals. Amenities for family neighborhood condos often include playgrounds, walking and hiking trails, community pools – including kiddie pools, fitness centers, and many have screened porches. Wooded and lake views are common in family-focused neighborhoods and like the other types on our list, there are price points to fit any buyer’s budget. A few to check out are Heatherstone in Berkshire Forest and Lakeview Condos at The Market Common, to get you started on your search.

Owning a condo is a great option for those who prefer a low-maintenance lifestyle and enjoy access to a variety of amenities. The key to determining which type of Myrtle Beach condo is right for you – oceanfront, golf course or family neighborhood – is what environment and community features you’re looking for. Our breakdown of the top condo types in the Grand Strand should help you start to narrow down the options that best meet your needs.

Smart Technology & Home Value: Does A Smart Home Sell For More?

Smart Home technology affect Home Value

Many homeowners base their upgrade and remodeling choices on how much they’ll recoup on their investment when it comes time to sell. Smart home technology is becoming more popular but how does it stack up as an investment that boosts home value? The key to getting the best return on your smart home investment is in choosing technology that will age well and saves money. Here are some handy guidelines to help you select the best home tech:

1. Focus on affordability. Choosing smart home technology that is affordable allows you to implement it through the entire home. Similar to just remodeling one or two rooms in an 80-year-old house, if you only incorporate smart home features in one or two rooms, it will be very noticeable to future buyers. Smart home options that make a difference for the whole house include smart thermostats, smart HVAC systems and smart security systems.

2. Forgo pricey high-end “closed” smart home systems. Stick to smart home systems and devices that use popular technology such as WiFi or Bluetooth to communicate with various components. This type of system has more flexibility to add new components as desired or as they are released to the market in the future. Closed systems use less common technology to communicate with components and can result in “lock-in” that restricts the number and type of components that can be added.

3. Start with smart home tech that buyers can easily understand and see value in. The more useful and understandable a smart home component is, the more likely it will appeal to future buyers. Some examples include smart smoke detectors, smart ceiling fans, smart thermostats, smart door locks and smart security systems.

4. Choose smart home options that save money or protect the property from damage. Smart HVAC systems, smart water heaters and smart sprinklers/outdoor watering systems conserve resources and save money. Smart leak detectors, smart smoke detectors and smart carbon monoxide detectors alert you to potential property damage or risk of physical harm.

5. Apply long-term strategy to smart appliance purchases. When choosing smart appliances, be sure to choose brands and models with WiFi connectivity. WiFi is the most popular and easiest way for manufacturers to send software updates and new features through to smart appliances – often automatically. These appliances are likely to receive more updates over time and have greater longevity before the technology becomes obsolete.

Investing in smart home technology can definitely pay off when it comes time to sell your home. To reap the best gains in home value, stick with smart technology that is understandable with a clear value – whether that value is saving money or saving lives. The more buyers can envision themselves easily using the smart home technology you’ve chosen, the more willing they’ll be to pay more for your home.

Top 6 Questions To Ask A Potential Listing Agent

Great Listing Agent in Myrtle Beach

When you consider selling your home, where is the best place to start? Whether you are buying or selling, you need an experienced partner who understands the process, who all of the key players are, and can take care of the details for you – a real estate agent. You may get lots of recommendations from friends and family for realtors they know or have worked with, but you need to make sure whomever you choose is a good fit for you and your needs. Here are the top six questions to ask a potential listing agent for your home:

1. How long have you been a realtor?
A real estate agent who is newer is not necessarily a deal breaker. Even if they take some classes, most agents learn on the job. A newer agent may have fewer clients and thus more time to devote to selling your home. As long as they have an experienced and proven mentor providing support and learning, a newer agent could be an unexpected bonus.

2. What is your fee?
Real estate agents charge a percentage of the sale as their commission, usually somewhere between 2 to 4% to represent one side of the transaction (seller or buyer). The buyer’s agent will also get a commission based on the final sale price and within the same range as the listing agent. While all fees in real estate are negotiable, top-producing agents generally command a higher fee – and they’re often well worth it.

3. What strategy would you use to market and sell my home?
Their answer should include things like where they advertise new listings and how often, if they provide professional photography services, if they use online marketing or social media (and what platforms they use), as well as open houses.

4. What is your cancellation policy?
The cancellation policy is frequently determined by the real estate company they work with and not the individual agent. Signing an agreement to work with an agent creates an exclusive relationship. It’s important to know what is required to dissolve that relationship if you are unhappy with the service provided or if it just isn’t a good fit.

5. Can I review the agreement documents privately before signing?
You will want a copy of the Agency Disclosure, Seller Disclosures and Listing Agreement. Being able to read them privately gives you a no-pressure chance to review all of the terms in these documents, make note of any questions you need clarified or if desired, have an attorney review any items you are uncertain of.

6. What other professionals can you connect me with throughout the process?
A good real estate agent is more than just a sales person, they are a resource to help you complete various parts of the sales process as efficiently as possible. They should have great connections with other professionals that will be involved along the way, such as real estate attorneys, home inspectors, appraisers, mortgage specialists, home stagers, movers and handymen/contractors.

Choosing a great listing agent can make a big difference when you’re selling your home. These six questions are a good way to assess a potential listing agent’s experience and abilities, as well as how well they can meet your individual needs during the selling process.

Inlet Life : Spotlight on 3 Amazing Murrells Inlet Neighborhoods

Murrells Inlet Neighborhoods

Murrells Inlet is a hidden gem along the Grand Strand. Residents and visitors stroll along the Marsh Walk, enjoy watching birds and local wildlife and enjoy water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking through the unique ecosystem of the salt marsh. Murrells Inlet is also home to Restaurant Row, a set of restaurants along the inlet that feature some of the best seafood in the area. With so much to savor and enjoy, it’s easy to see why Murrells Inlet is a desirable place to search for a new home.

Belle Vue
Belle Vue is a gated community along the banks of the Murrells Inlet tidal creek. Historic oaks, marsh views and coastal style custom homes are just a few of the features that make this neighborhood amazing. Residents have use of a community dock and many homes have permits and space for private docks to boat right out into the tidal creek. Homes without a waterfront view start around $500,000, while homes with a spectacular view of the water are priced starting around $1 million and up.

The Hermitage
A gated community on the waterfront, just a few blocks from the Marsh Walk is the neighborhood of The Hermitage. Named after the nearby National Historic site of the original Hermitage, site of the tragic story of Alice Flagg, this community is pure luxury. The homes in The Hermitage pay homage to the original historic homes of the area. Many home sites feature magnificent fountains, private pools, private boat docks and sculpture gardens. Homes directly on the water range from $1 million up to more than $4 million. Homes that are not on the water start around $500,000.

Mount Gilead
For buyers of slightly more modest means, Mount Gilead is a hot neighborhood in the Inlet area. This mature, lush neighborhood with moss-draped oaks and plantation-style homes offers unique channel-front lots. The channels provide access to the Inlet and farther out, the Atlantic Ocean. A favorite of water sports enthusiasts, homes along the channel offer private docks on the water and range into the $800,000s in this neighborhood. Homes that don’t directly access the channel start around $200,000 – easily making Mount Gilead of the more affordable amazing luxury communities in Murrells Inlet.

For information on homes for sale in Murrells Inlet neighborhoods, search our site at century21broadhurst.com or call one of our experienced agents for guidance.

Season of Giving: How To Help In Myrtle Beach

Season of Giving | Myrtle Beach

Giving back is a way of life in the Myrtle Beach area and the season of giving is upon us once again. Whether you’re new to the area and want to know how you can help out, or are looking for additional opportunities to help those in need, we have a great list of local organizations who would appreciate your help this season.

The Community Kitchen of Myrtle Beach
The Community Kitchen provides meals every day for the hungry in our community. Their website keeps an updated list of current needs posted year-round. Items typically include large/bulk size non-perishable foods like breakfast cereals, grits, pork and beans, and pasta sauce. Financial donations are also helpful and allow the kitchen to purchase items when they run low.

Habitat for Humanity of Horry County
Habitat for Humanity is always in need of volunteers to help build the next project. Financial donations are also welcome, if swinging hammers isn’t your thing.

All 4 Paws
All 4 Paws is a local no kill animal shelter, located in Pawleys Island. All 4 Paws rescues both dogs and cats and maintains an Amazon wish list that is updated weekly with their most pressing needs. They do tend to take in more dogs as Sav-R-Cats of Surfside Beach is dedicated to cat rescue. Financial donations are always welcome as well.

Sav-R-Cats
Sav-R-Cats is a no kill animal shelter that rescues cats exclusively and is also the main organization managing the feral cat population of the Grand Strand through its TNR (trap-neuter-release) program and care-taking of feral cat colonies. Sav-R-Cats wish list is on the newsletter on their website and includes paper towels, Purina Naturals cat food, cat toys, scratching posts and cat beds. Of course, financial donations are appreciated also.

Salvation Army of Horry County
The Salvation Army helps families in need with food, clothing, utilities and other services. They have collection sites and pick-ups throughout the area. More information about their needs is available on their website.

Blue Star Mothers
The Blue Star Mothers are always in need of supplies for care packages (Hero Boxes) for our military men and women serving overseas this holiday season. A list of suggested items is posted on their website as well as local events.

Help 4 Kids/Back Pack Buddies
The Back Pack Buddies program provides food for needy children over the weekends and holidays when they are away from school (and school meals). Additionally, the organization is currently in need of gloves, mittens and hats in all sizes as the weather in the area approaches the coldest part of the year.

Grace Ministries Neighbor to Neighbor
The Neighbor to Neighbor program pairs volunteer drivers who can provide free transportation with older adults or disabled individuals who would otherwise be homebound with no way to get to important doctor appointments, go shopping or other necessary tasks of daily living. Contact Grace Ministries to provide a ride to an older neighbor in need this giving season.

There are many, many more worthy charities and organizations throughout our area. Keep an eye out for fundraisers and toy drives for organizations such as Toys for Tots and Fostering Hope at local businesses you frequent. Doctors’ offices, real estate offices, local restaurants and other area businesses often hold fundraisers and donation drives for non-profits in the area. Whether you donate food, items, clothing, money or your time, there are lots of ways to help out in our Myrtle Beach community this giving season.

 

Haunts of the Low Country: Most Haunted Places in Myrtle Beach

Haunted Places Myrtle Beach

Every area has legends and ghost stories. The Grand Strand is no different. In fact, some of the most well-known haunts and ghost stories come from coastal South Carolina.  Let’s take a look at some of the most haunted places in our area…

The Gray Man of Pawleys Island
Pawleys Island is fairly well-known for being the first vacation destination on the east coast, back in the days of the rice plantations in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Viewed by locals as a protector of sorts, the Gray Man has been warning people of incoming hurricanes for close to 200 years. Typical sightings involve an individual or a couple being approached by a man dressed all in gray with old-style buckled boots waving his hands in warning at them. In some encounters, he walks away into the fog and in others he simply vanishes. In several accounts, he has spoken to tell of a dangerous storm approaching and in a few tales, even knocking on the doors to awaken people in the middle of the night before vanishing into the darkness. Those who heed his warnings and quickly relocate inland live to tell the tale and often return to find their homes still standing while others are piles of rubble. In the days before satellite and radar could track hurricanes from the other side of the world, a warning from the Gray Man might be the only notice of an impending storm, growing his reputation. Record numbers of Gray Man sightings were reported after Hurricane Hazel in 1954 and Hurricane Hugo in 1989 – two of the strongest hurricanes to impact the region.

Litchfield Plantation – A Doctor and the Chambermaids
While the Litchfield Plantation near Pawleys Island dates back to 1740, it wasn’t known for being haunted until the late 1800s after the passing of Dr. Henry Tucker. Dr. Tucker was a member of one of the last families to own the plantation before it became the historic landmark it is today. After Dr. Tucker’s passing, witnesses began reporting sightings of old-fashioned chambermaids in various rooms and walking down stairways. As for Dr. Tucker, he prefers to spend his time in The Blue Room, where witnesses have described his apparition as fairly friendly in nature.

The Hermitage and All Saints Cemetery – Alice Flagg
In Murrells Inlet, the National Historic site of The Hermitage, nearby All Saints Cemetery and marsh area encompass the tragic tale of Alice Flagg. After moving to the Hermitage estate to live with her brother, Alice fell in love with a local lumberman, accepting his proposal for marriage and his ring on her hand. Outraged, her brother sent her away to a school in Charleston where she wore her true love’s ring on a ribbon hidden under her dress. In Charleston, Alice fell critically ill with malaria and was brought back to the Hermitage where she died. While preparing her for burial, her brother found the lumberman’s ring hidden in the folds of her dress, ripped it loose and threw it into the marsh. Alice was buried in neighboring All Saints Cemetery. Her apparition has been sighted leaving the Hermitage, and wandering the cemetery and the nearby marsh searching for the ring of her beloved.

These areas are only a few of the haunted places near Myrtle Beach. The rich history of the South Carolina coast provides an ideal backdrop for the restless to wander. And an ideal backdrop for those who love to explore a good haunt. Do us a favor though? If you happen to see a man all in gray, be sure to thank him for his (weather) service.

Millennial Home Buying Trends: Wait, Skip the Starter Home?

Millennial Starter Homes | Myrtle Beach

There is a common misconception that millennials are not interested in buying homes. The truth is that millennials simply approach home buying differently from previous generations and at a different stage or age in life.

Skipping the “Starter Home”
Millennials (people aged 18-34) are skipping the common “starter home”. One reason for this trend among millennials is that many are choosing to marry and start families at older ages than many previous generations. Getting married and having children is a common driver for first-time home purchases, by putting off those life milestones, millennials naturally put off buying a home as well. Another reason supporting this trend is the lack of starter home inventory available for sale compared to number of buyers in the current real estate market. Competition is fierce for lower and mid-range priced homes and the shortage isn’t expected to end anytime soon. With the rising home values, builders are focusing on larger more expensive homes to make more off of each building project. This means the new construction homes coming to market are in a higher price category than the average “starter home”. Millennials see this dynamic and are renting longer and skipping over the starter home.

Bigger and Pricier First-Time Home Buys
By skipping the starter home, when millennials do buy a home, they are buying larger and more expensive homes as first-time home buyers than prior generations. Renting for a longer period of time gives millennials more time to save up enough for a down payment on the home they really want, rather than settling for a starter home. Millennials are also leveraging financial gifts from parents and other family toward their down payment more than home buyers who have come before them. By saving longer and leveraging financial gifts, millennials better position themselves to have adequate down payment for larger and more expensive homes.

Millennials are actually the largest group of home buyers in the market, contrary to the mistaken belief that they just aren’t interested in home ownership. Millennials simply approach home buying differently by delaying until they can afford the size and type of home they want, rather than settling.

The 411 On Upfront Costs Of Buying A Home

Upfront Costs of Buying a home | Myrtle Beach

When saving to buy a home, it helps to have a checklist of all of the upfront costs of buying a home to make sure you have enough set aside. There can be variation in how much you’ll need depending on the area, type of loan or loan program, and the buying process in your state. For example, some states require a real estate attorney for the transaction while others require transactions be handled by the title company. Here is an overview of the upfront costs you’ll want to plan for when buying your next home:

Earnest Money
Earnest money is usually submitted with your offer, and demonstrates the buyer’s sincere interest in buying the home. Earnest money is generally from 1-3% of the price in your offer. If the seller accepts your offer, your earnest money becomes part of your down payment.

Down Payment
Your down payment will be a percentage of the total purchase price, typically between 3% and 20%. Some lenders or special loan programs offer better terms for higher percentage down payments. For many buyers, the closer you can get to 20%, the better your chances of getting the best terms from your lender.

Inspection
The buyer is required to pay for the inspection. The cost of an inspection can vary depending on area/location, size of home and property, and if you request special evaluations like a termite evaluation. The average cost of an inspection is from $300-$500. Your buyer’s agent will be able to give you more exact information about the cost of inspections in your market.

Closing Costs
Closing costs are due on the day of closing and generally include things like tax payments, title expenses, real estate attorney fees, mortgage processing fees, and handling or administration costs. The amount you’ll need for closing costs varies by market/area and the price of the home. A general guideline is to plan for closing costs to be from 2-5% of the total purchase price.

Moving Fees & Pre-Move Remodeling
If you plan to do any remodeling that is easier before move-in, such as installing new flooring or repainting much of the interior, you’ll want to add that to your up-front budget. Also, make sure to include costs of moving, whether you’ll be doing the heavy lifting yourself or hiring movers.

Cash Reserves
Some lenders and types of loan programs may require buyers to have a certain amount of cash in reserve to approve a loan. When cash reserves are required for loan approval, the amount is usually between 2 to 6 months of mortgage payments.

Buying a home is an exciting milestone that can quickly become stressful if you haven’t saved enough to cover upfront costs. Your buyer’s agent can provide more exact advice for your market on how much you’ll need. Planning appropriately for the upfront costs of buying a home helps you have a smoother buying experience.

Neighborhood Spotlight: 3 Grand Strand Neighborhoods for Retirement

Grand Strand Neighborhoods

The Grand Strand area is a top retirement destination for buyers. The warm climate, variety of activities and attractions, and reasonable cost of living appeal to those who have no intention of slowing down after retirement. Here are 3 Grand Strand neighborhoods for 55+ young at heart buyers.

Cresswind at The Market Common
Located in Myrtle Beach in the popular Market Common area, Cresswind has been named one of the Top 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in the U.S. by Where to Retire Magazine. Homes in this neighborhood are priced from $250,000-$350,000 and are currently being built in a second phase of the development. The amenities include fitness center, ballroom, pool, spa, tennis courts, outdoor fireplaces, water features, a 5-acre park, miles of nature trails for walking, and courts for horseshoes, pickle, and bocce ball. There is always plenty to do with planned classes, activities, and group trips – and of course, everything nearby at The Market Common.

Seasons at Prince Creek
Nestled in Murrels Inlet is the gated community of Seasons at Prince Creek. The community has an impressive number of amenities for residents, including several lakes, the Blackmoor Golf Course, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis court, bocce ball court, and clubhouse featuring a ballroom, card room, game room, media room, wet bar, library, and an outdoor veranda. Homes in Seasons at Prince Creek range from $250,000 to $400,000+.

Del Webb Myrtle Beach at Grande Dunes
Currently under construction along the Intracoastal Waterway is Del Webb Myrtle Beach at Grande Dunes. Prices start in the high $200,000s and feature all newly constructed homes. Active residents in this community enjoy access to the amenities of the larger Grande Dunes community, such as the 130-boat slip Grande Dunes Marina, and golf courses. Del Webb features its own clubhouse, fitness center, pool, and beach access at Residents Only Ocean Club. Within walking distance of this neighborhood, residents can enjoy a 3+ acre off-leash dog park, and the Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA. Del Webb will also have a full-time lifestyle director to ensure residents have the most enjoyable retired life on the Grand Strand.

For buyers who are looking for a community of like-minded retirees, these 3 great retirement neighborhoods are must-see!  Contact a Century 21 Broadhurst agent today!  We’ve been making our clients #1 since 1974.