Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Aug. 3, 2020

My House Won't Sell- 7 Things That Turn Off Potential Buyers

My House Won't Sell!  When you're trying to sell your home, you want to entice potential buyers - not send them running away in disgust. We're breaking down the top things that turn away potential buyers and can compromise your home sale.

1. Hoarding - If walking in the front door reminds buyers of an episode of the TV show, Hoarders, that is a red flag. Even a little clutter can be a deal-breaker. However, if a buyer has to walk sideways through a pathway of junk to tour your home, they're more likely to walk back out the front door and head to the next home on their list.

2. Pests - No one likes bugs in their home. Seeing termites, roaches, mice or the evidence they hang around in the home is a major turn off. Buyers don't want to go through a costly extermination process before they can move into their new home.

3. Filth - Layers of dirt or grime built up, even in places rarely cleaned such as the top of the ceiling fan or top of the refrigerator, gives the impression of general filthiness. Buyers see filth and assume there is far more grody grime they don't see.

4. Trash - An open, exposed and smelly trash can not only contributes bad odor but can also attract insects and rodents. Even worse is trash left lying around on counters and tables. Buyers would rather not know where you ordered take-out from the night before.

5. Dirty Laundry - Piles and overflowing bins of dirty laundry don't just smell rank, they add to the impression of dirt and filth that sends buyers running out the door for the nearest jumbo bottle of sanitizer.

6. Neglect - Signs of neglect and disrepair are a red flag for potential buyers. If you've neglected the small things, it's not a stretch to assume you've neglected big things such as roof repairs, termite prevention, HVAC maintenance and other normal upkeep that is part of home ownership.

7. Furry Friends - While many people have pets, a number of people have allergies to certain types of pets or are even afraid of them. Pets also have their own unique odors that you might be used to but could be deeply off-putting to a buyer.

Knowing what sends potential buyers running for the hills helps you understand what turn offs to avoid. Take care of these issues before you list your home.  Make sure your home stands out for the right reasons and not the wrong ones.

Posted in Real Estate
July 20, 2020

New To Myrtle Beach: Locals' Choice HVAC Companies

There is still a whole lot of summertime to go - which means more heat and humidity. If you're new to town and your air conditioner kicks the bucket, you want a reliable HVAC service who can get your system back up and running fast. Whether air conditioning or heating during the few weeks of cold that sweeps in around January, these are the companies that keep locals comfortable all year long.

Carolina Cool
Website: https://www.carolinacool.com
Local Raves: Authorized Carrier Dealer with wide range of services in addition to HVAC (including plumbing, electrical, solar and more). Great service for both repairs and installations. Technicians are timely and professional. Provide both residential and commercial service.

M & M Air 
Website: https://www.mandmairllc.com
Local Raves: Fast response and great service. Specialize in repair, though can provide installation services as well. Knowledgeable and friendly service.

Carolina Comfort Systems 
Website: https://www.carolinacomfortsystems.com
Local Raves: The area's authorized Bryant system dealer and repair service. Second generation family business. Timely arrival of technicians. Great expertise for both repairs and new installations.

Conway Air Conditioning
Website: https://www.conwayac.com
Local Raves: The area's authorized Carrier system dealer and repair service. In business since 1950. Families have depended on them for generations. Great, personal service.

Fire & Ice AC Service
Website: https://www.facebook.com/FireandIceACService/
Local Raves: Super fast response. Friendly and professional service. Reasonable pricing.

Air Mechanical 
Website: https://airmechanicalmb.com
Local Raves: The area's authorized Amana system dealer and repair service. Also, local area provider of Johns Manville insulation. Family-owned business with long reputation for dependable service.

First Choice Heating & Air
Website: https://first-choicehvac.com
Local Raves: Large service area that includes Horry County, Georgetown County and Marion County. Helpful and friendly staff. Reliable and knowledgeable service. Great range of financing options and frequent specials.

With our hot and humid climate, HVAC is serious business. And our short winters do get cold enough to require heat. Now you know who the locals call to keep their homes comfortable in every season. Welcome home!

July 6, 2020

New To Myrtle Beach: Top Local Insurance Companies

Life is unpredictable. Anything can happen at any time. This is just one of many reasons insurance is so important. Of course, there are the big national insurance companies, however, nothing really beats personal face-to-face service. Plus, there are types of insurance coverage you might need information on that are specific to this area, such as wind and hail insurance, that you really want local expertise for. Here are the top local insurance providers most recommended by Myrtle Beach residents.

Property, Casualty and Business Insurance

There are a number of specific insurance types that fall into the property and casualty category, such as automobile, homeowners, renters, watercraft/boat, wind and hail, flood and even special insurance for vacation rentals. Business insurance could include restaurant insurance, non-profit, standard business liability, workman's compensation and even business cybersecurity liability insurance. Let's take a look at the top choices in this category.

John T. Cooke & Associates
Website: https://www.correllinsurance.com/restaurant-insurance-commercial-vehicle-insurance-south-carolina/
Known for: Offer a wide range of personal insurance products, such as vehicle, homeowners, flood, vacation rental and renter's insurance. Business insurance products include different types of businesses as well as general commercial insurance products, including restaurant insurance, non-profit, business cybersecurity liability and a range of general commercial liability insurance offerings.

Tilghman Insurance 
Website: https://www.tilghmaninsurance.com
Known for: Complete range of insurance products such as auto, homeowners, wind and hail, watercraft and more. Business insurance products go far beyond basic business liability coverage and can customize commercial coverage to meet the needs of your business.

Field Insurance Agency
Website: https://fieldinsuranceagency.com
Known for: Great options for both lines of insurance products - personal and commercial. Personal insurance products include the usual automobile, homeowners, separate personal property policies, watercraft, motorcycle and wind and hail insurance coverage. Commercial insurance products include workman's compensation, business liability, commercial property insurance and more.

Life and Health Insurance

Perhaps one of the more difficult types of insurance coverage to navigate currently, health insurance is a hot topic in every community. Local insurance agencies are better equipped to help customers work through the various options and make sure they are getting the best coverage for them and their family. Life insurance can be similarly complex with term, whole life and universal life options to factor into your decision. Here are the top companies locals prefer for help sorting out their health insurance and life insurance needs.
Note: Some of these companies might also offer products like those in the previous section, however, they appear here because they do a terrific job with life and health insurance needs.

Client First, Inc. of South Carolina
Website: https://clientfirstinc.com
Known for: Expertise with health and life insurance options. Specialize in both individual policies and employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Can also assist with other types of group plans, disability insurance - short and long term, vision/dental and more.

Lowcountry Insurance
Website: https://lowcountryins.com
Known for: Great service and expertise in health and life insurance. Can help clients navigate the marketplace website and plan options or choose options outside of the marketplace. Can also help with dental insurance and vision insurance plans.

Benefit Insurance Services
Website: https://www.benefitinsuranceservices.com
Known for: Great range of insurance products, particularly known for their offerings in life and health insurance. Because they work with a number of companies, they can "shop around" to find the best plans to meet your needs.

Insurance - It's the one thing everyone needs but no one wants to have to use. When you move someplace new, we understand that there are likely a number of insurance policies that need to be converted or switched out for South Carolina policies. The insurance companies in our list help simplify this process and help you with this complex task without any lapse in your coverage. Welcome home!

June 29, 2020

Local’s Guide to Myrtle Beach Ordinances & Parking Fees

Headed for the beach this summer? If you are, there are a few things that you should know about beach ordinances and parking fees in Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas. All of these are designed to keep you safe while you’re enjoying the stunning beaches of the Grand Strand. Keep these things in mind when you’re ready for some sun and sand:

Parking: You probably already know that parking fees are changing. There is no longer free beach access along Myrtle Beach. If you don’t live within Myrtle Beach city limits, expect to pay $4 per hour, up to a total of $20 per day, to park in beach access areas. This could change, as this is a new ruling and is still under debate, but it's a good idea to plan ahead for parking fees for the immediate future.

Swimming: If you’re planning on getting in the water, remember that you must stay within 50 yards of the beach or within shoulder-depth water. Jumping and diving off piers is prohibited, as is swimming within 50 yards of those piers. If floating is more your style, only rafts made of canvas or fabric are allowed in the water. And remember that no thong swim-suits are allowed.

Tents & Umbrellas: The sun can be viscous during the summer. It’s always a good idea to bring along some portable shade, but remember that ordinances for tents and umbrellas change during the summer season (May 1 – Labor Day). Tents and pavilions are banned on all beaches during the summer season and for most beaches, umbrellas must be round and throw shade that is not more than 7.5 feet in diameter. The exception to this is on North Myrtle Beach where umbrellas are permitted to throw shade up to 9 feet in diameter.

In addition to these rules and guidelines, there are a few more you should keep in mind, as well:

The possession or consumption of alcohol is prohibited on all beaches, as are glass containers or bottles of any kind.

All dogs in public must be on a leash, and no dogs are allowed on the beaches during the summer season. Horses are also prohibited on most beaches year round, and on Pawley’s Island from March 15-Sept 15.

Possession and discharging of fireworks is illegal on the beaches and within the city limits of all municipalities along the Grand Strand.

On a final note, campfires and propane grills are prohibited on the beach, and littering is not only "trashy" but also illegal. Following these guidelines and ordinances keep our beaches safe, clean, and enjoyable for everyone all summer long.

Posted in Real Estate
June 15, 2020

Loan Program for First-Time Home Buyers in Myrtle Beach

One of the biggest barriers to home ownership can be getting together a down-payment and finding a loan you can qualify for - especially if you fall into the category of "first-time home buyer". Who is a first-time home buyer? Surprisingly, the term applies to more people than only those who have never owned a home before. People who haven't owned a home for at least three years (whether solo or jointly with a still-current spouse) and divorced buyers who have only owned a home jointly with a former spouse can also qualify for first-time home buyer programs. Here are a few of the popular options to help you find a home of your own.

FHA Loans
The Federal Housing Administration offers loans with as little as 3.5% down-payment required, with some state programs adding extra incentive for buyers willing to purchase a HUD home. The trade-off on this type of loan is that while your down-payment is lower, you do have to carry mortgage insurance for the entire duration of the loan. Conventional loans often let the borrower drop mortgage insurance after they've surpassed 20% equity.

VA Loans
Home loans through the Veteran's Administration are open to veterans and also active duty military members, including most reservists, National Guard, and spouses of military members killed while on active duty. Many buyers who choose a VA loan can qualify for up to 100% financing - meaning no down-payment required and VA loans also don't require private mortgage insurance coverage.

National Homebuyer's Fund
The National Homebuyer's Fund is a down-payment assistance program available in many states that provides grants of up to 5% of the loan amount. Often paired with FHA and VA loans, the funds provided are a grant and don't have to be repaid. Not all states participate in this program so it's best to check with a mortgage specialist to explore if this grant is available in your state or if your state offers other down-payment programs. In South Carolina, the state down-payment assistance program can help some borrowers with up to $6,000 toward down-payment or closing costs, based on income.

Mortgage Tax Credits
Depending on your state, you may also qualify for tax credits on your federal income taxes, In South Carolina, homebuyers can take advantage of a tax credit for up to 30% of the mortgage interest paid each year, up to $2,000.

Home ownership can seem to be out of reach for many people. Programs like special loans for first-time buyers, down-payment assistance programs, and even tax credits lower the barrier to make owning a home more accessible for more people. Programs and limits can and do change so always explore your options with a reputable mortgage broker. You may have far more options than you realize!

Posted in Real Estate
June 1, 2020

Best Retirement Communities in Myrtle Beach for Active Seniors

Myrtle Beach has been grabbing headlines for several years as a top vacation destination. The warm ocean waves, silky sanded beaches, golf courses galore, unique shopping and dining experiences also make Myrtle Beach a top choice for retirees looking to spend their golden years enjoying all that coastal living has to offer. Myrtle Beach seniors are active and on-the-go! Here are three of the best retirement communities in Myrtle Beach for the over-55 crowd that shows no signs of slowing down.

Seasons at Prince Creek
Seasons at Prince Creek is a thriving community of seniors who are active and social. The community's full-time activities director packs the schedule with everything from arts and crafts, to poker games, gentlemen's lunches, quilting, special classes, and unique lectures. Residents also enjoy a state-of-the-art fitness center, art studio, billiards, computer room, library, and ballroom. Other amenities include both indoor and outdoor pools, a bocce ball court, and two public boat ramps nearby. Homes in Seasons at Prince Creek range from the mid-$200,000's to the low $400,000's.

Cresswind at The Market Common
Cresswind is a terrific choice for active seniors who take their adventures outdoors. The community includes a five acre park, resort-style pool and spa, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, bocce ball courts, horseshoes, walking trails, an event lawn, and outdoor amphitheatre. And for those rainy days, residents can enjoy the indoor full fitness center, computer center, state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, and social ballroom. Whether rain or shine, there is always an adventure to be found at Cresswind. Homes in Cresswind start in the low $200,000's and go up into the $450,000 range.

Lauderdale Bay
Lauderdale Bay is a gated senior community on the Intracoastal Waterway for folks who are a little more laid-back. This community features an Olympic-sized swimming pool, elevators in each building, expansive private balconies with waterway views, a private sand beach, peaceful gazebo overlooking the waterway, and a lighted promenade along the waterway for those sunset strolls arm-in-arm. And for seniors who want to venture out on the water, there are 30 ft. and 50 ft. boat slips to sail away from. Homes in Lauderdale Bay range from the $250,000's to around $400,000.
If you think retired life in Myrtle Beach is a crowd of seniors around an old TV watching reruns and eating mushy peas, think again! Myrtle Beach retirees are too busy going on adventures and enjoying their active lifestyles to fit that stereotype! Need proof? Just visit one of these top retirement communities and see for yourself!

Posted in Real Estate
May 18, 2020

Using Drones In Real Estate: Best Practices

Using Drones to Showcase Real Estate: Best Practices for Privacy and Safety

Technology is ever-evolving with new innovations emerging every day. These innovations can benefit many industries, including the real estate industry. Everyone has heard of drones in the military to keep our troops safe in perilous situations. Using drones in the private sector may still feel a bit like science fiction to many, but is just around the corner.

Drones in Real Estate
Drone technology has advanced in ways that make it a viable tool for many industries, including real estate. How would drones be used in real estate, you ask? Drones can be used to collect aerial photographs and videos of a property for sale, especially if the property includes quite a bit of land. In cases of natural disasters, drones can be used to assess whether it is safe for a homeowner to return to their home or to assess the extent of damages and repairs required that may not be readily visible from the ground.

Best Practices for Privacy and Safety
While drones may have some very useful applications for the real estate industry, care must be exercised to keep people and data safe - just like any other technology. Here are a few best practices for sellers considering using drones to capture photos or video of their property.

1. Notify neighbors of the upcoming filming activity and when it is expected to take place. You want to avoid neighbors or someone else being unintentionally filmed or photographed by the drone without their permission. To reasonably protect the privacy of others, don't use footage that includes other people.

2. Have clear instructions for what you want filmed or photographed and what you don't. Also, provide clear information about where your property lines are to avoid accidental filming of a neighbor's property.

3. Ask questions to ensure the drone operator has security measures in place to keep all visual and other data collected by the drone private and protected. This protects you and helps you make sure the aerial photos or video ultimately released is what you want to show prospective buyers. It also protects you in the event someone else is unintentionally filmed (see point 1).

When using drones in real estate, it's important to understand best practices for safety and privacy.  Should you decide to use drone technology to capture aerial views and video of your sale property, protecting the safety and privacy of others, as well as protect you from potential lawsuits should be of importance. With advances in technology comes the duty to make sure your use of that technology is done responsibly with utmost respect for the security and privacy of all.

Posted in Real Estate
May 4, 2020

Myrtle Beach Seller Checklist: Staging Your Open House

An open house may be the best way to show potential buyers your listing. A house might look nice in a few photos but not so nice in person, or vice-versa. So how do you put on the kind of open house that is likely to leave you with an offer? Our Open House Checklist can show you what to do (and what not to do) to increase your chance of putting on the best and most successful open house.

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What to do before the open house-- here's a Myrtle Beach Seller Checklist:

You need to take your place from lived-in to open-house-ready. At a loss for where to start? Follow these suggestions!

  • Clean, clean, clean.
  • Work on your landscaping.
  • Get rid of any personal items (especially family photos).
  • Declutter the house—no knickknacks, please!
  • Plan the open house for off-hours, like weekends.
  • Create an info packet about the house.
  • Put up signs advertising the event.
  • Clear out the driveway so there is room for guests to park.
  • Manage the temperature so the home is not too warm or too cold.
  • Set out some fresh-cut flowers or other plants.
  • Turn on all of the lights and open the curtains.

What not to do for the open house:

Everyone has different preferences, but the following things may have an adverse effect on potential buyers. Avoid these mistakes when you’re planning your open house.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to fix broken objects.
  • Don’t hover.
  • Don’t put on music.
  • Don’t run out of copies of the info packet you made.
  • Don’t have an overwhelming smell—whether that be cleaning products or cookies.
  • Don’t let your pets stay around during an open house.
  • Don’t leave any room or area in the house off limits.

The main objective of your open house should be to make prospective buyers envision your home sweet home as their own. If you follow these tips (and avoid the mistakes) you may be able to create an open house that does just that.

Posted in Real Estate
April 20, 2020

Buying A Home: Benefits of Having a Buyer's Agent

If you are in the market for a new home, one of the best investments you can make in the process is finding a great buyer's agent. While a listing agent or seller's agent represents the seller's interests during the process of selling a home, a buyer's agent is focused on representing you, the buyer, and your best interests. Here are just a few of the benefits of working with a buyer's agent:

* Exclusive Representation - Your buyer's agent is exclusively representing you and your interests in the process. If you are negotiating or dealing with the seller's listing agent directly, that person is focused on what is best for their client - the seller - and not what is fair or best for you as the buyer. Having a buyer's agent ensures you have someone who knows all of the ins and outs that is focused on what is best for you.

* Needs Analysis - Buyer's agents are experts at helping aspiring homebuyers uncover their needs for a new home, and separating the "must haves" from the "nice to haves" to make sure your new home will meet your most important needs. Buyer's agents have deep knowledge of area neighborhoods, various builders, features of different types and styles of homes and more. By getting a thorough understanding of your top priorities, they can sift through available inventory to find homes that fit your family.

* Inventory Selection - Your buyer's agent has access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and an extensive network of other agents and brokers to sort through the available housing inventory in your area and select the home options that best meet your needs and priorities. Your buyer's agent will also set up appointments (showings) for you to tour available homes, collect your feedback, and use your likes and dislikes to further fine tune their list of homes to present to you. Rather than spending hours on the computer looking through website after website of homes for sale, your buyer's agent does the legwork for you to find homes that work for you and eliminate ones that won't.

* Expert Negotiator - Buyer's agents are masters in the art of negotiation. When you find a home you would like to put in an offer for, your buyer's agent reviews all relevant data like similar homes recently sold in the area, sales history of the home you are interested in and market conditions to help advise you on how much to offer. They also fill out all of the paperwork and submit the offer to the seller's listing agent to get the negotiation process going. Your buyer's agent will be there with you every step of the process to guide you through counter-offers, requesting seller concessions when necessary and any surprises along the way.

* Professional Network - Buyer's agents develop and maintain a network of qualified professionals you will need during the process. Their network of home inspectors, appraisers, mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, title companies and even repair services or moving services help keep the entire process running smoothly from start to finish - including move in!

When you are looking to buy a new home, you want someone who is dedicated to you and your interests to guide you through the often-complex process of looking for and buying a home. A buyer's agent is there to ensure you are treated fairly and also help you navigate through each step as efficiently as possible.

Posted in Real Estate
April 13, 2020

Why Relocate to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina?

Relocating is A Big Decision

If you've been considering relocating, you might consider Myrtle Beach. Long known as a top vacation destination, living in Myrtle Beach comes with tons of perks.  Why Relocate to Myrtle Beach? Here are just a few of the benefits of coastal living here in the Grand Strand.

- The Beaches! Sixty miles of stunning beaches and crashing ocean waves make up the Grand Strand, which includes Myrtle Beach and surrounding communities.

- The Weather! Myrtle Beach boasts 215 sunny days per year and an average annual temperature of 74˚F. The semi-tropical climate means fewer chilly days than other areas and lots of sunshine to enjoy those beautiful beaches.

- The Home Prices! Myrtle Beach offers some of the most competitive home prices along the east coast. And many area communities provide an array of amenities to entice buyers to choose them for their next home, adding even more value for home-buyers (and homeowners).

- The Southern Hospitality! Warm and friendly locals embody the true spirit of southern hospitality. Anyone who has visited Myrtle Beach can attest to the welcoming spirit of the area.

- The Community! Part of that southern hospitality is a strong focus on community. Being a part of our thriving community is important with several professional organizations, religious organizations, charity events, community service groups, social get-togethers, networking groups, and hobby enthusiast clubs to choose from.

Relocating is a big decision, but relocating to Myrtle Beach might be an easy one. If sandy beaches, flip flops, sweet tea, and southern hospitality sound like your speed, then Myrtle Beach is the place to be.  Contact a Century 21 Broadhurst agent today for more information about homes in this area.

Posted in Real Estate