How to Sell Your Home During the “Off” Season

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Sometimes, life happens. Maybe you’ve been hired at a new company across state. Or a sudden change in your family requires you to take in a relative and you need extra space pronto. Perhaps you’re retiring early so you need to downsize. Whatever the case may be, you need to sell your home during the “off” season.

Put simply, the “off” season refers to the period of time when the real estate market slows down. Generally, this means decreased inventory and competition from both buyers and sellers.

So, if you’re tasked with selling a home during the “off” season, you may be asking yourself how you’re going to do it. If you follow these tips, your home sale should go off without a hitch.

Don’t Pause for the Holidays

Person holding a box wrapped in off white gift paper, with seasonal decor tied to the front.While you may have heard other real estate agents say that it’s a good idea to pause your sale during big holidays like Christmas or New Years, we actually don’t recommend it.

If a buyer really needs to find their new home as soon as possible, they won’t likely be deterred by the holidays. And who knows, your home may just be the perfect one for them.

Stage it for Perfection

Living room space with patterned rug, glass coffee table, tasteful decorations, and a lit fireplace.Home staging is a delicate art. You should make sure your home is inviting and warm, but not too overwhelming with personal decor or large furniture. Generally, the best way to stage your home is by following these steps:

  • Hire a professional to deep clean it
  • Go through every single room and de-clutter (get rid of everything you don’t use/want — consider hosting a garage sale or making a donation to your local Goodwill)
  • Highlight the natural space of your home with a few pieces of furniture, but consider renting a storage unit to store excess pieces

Also, take advantage of the cooler weather! Create a cozy atmosphere for people who come to tour your home. Put out a plate of holiday cookies or have a pot of cider simmering on the stove top. This way, they’ll feel at home the minute they walk through your front door.

Price Your Home Effectively

Person doing research by consulting a page of research complete with graphs.Pricing your home is a tricky business no matter what time of year you decide to sell. But if you’re listing your home during your market’s “off” season, you have to be especially careful.

Potential buyers know that the inventory is low, and that the competition is as well. They’ll be looking for every opportunity to bring the listing price of your home down a few notches.

That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced real estate agent to price your home. The right agent will know what listing price is best for your home, and how to get you the most amount of money for your home sale no matter what month it is.

Looking to Sell Your Home Before the Holidays?

We should talk. We would love to guide you through the home-selling process and get your home sold as soon as possible.



Snowbirds Unite!

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Sea Cloisters on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island & Bluffton

Real Estate News

November 2018 

Calling all Snowbirds! Have you ever wanted to stay an entire month on Hilton Head Island? Many of our summer vacation properties during the winter months of December, January, February and March are available for monthly rentals. While these reservations book out quickly, the cost for an entire month is about the same cost as a summer week. This is a great way to experience the Island and the Low-Country in the “Off Season! If this sounds good to you, please call us at (843)785-2242 or send an email us at Rental@HHPRandR.com for availability and monthly rentals.

Awesome Properties for Sale

Just click on photos for more information

Click Here for all our Listings



Why You Should Buy a Hilton Head Home During the Off-Season

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Your personal home-buying schedule doesn’t have to correspond with the real estate market! In fact, buying during the “off-season” can yield tremendous advantages on Hilton Head Island!

The “off season” on the Island offers easier access to some of the best properties for sale. The Island’s off season includes the months of November, December, January and February.  During this time of year the pace is slower, dinner reservations are not necessary and their is less competition bidding on the properties for sale

If you’re buying a home or villa, you may just want to begin looking for your dream home during this period of time. Here’s why: Read the rest of this entry



5 Tips Every Military Home Seller Should Know

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Whether you’re retiring from the military and planning a move, or you’ve just received PCS orders to relocate, we’ve got your back. As a military homeowner, it’s always smart to have a game plan ready for selling your home on a timeline.

Here are five tips to help get you there!

Make a List of Things to Fix

Man applying plaster to a wall in his home.Before listing your home, go through each room and note any repairs or improvements that need to happen. Make sure you’re taking care of any damaged or malfunctioning appliances. Things like leaky faucets, broken appliances, and carpet damage are a huge turnoff to buyers.

You should also see what aesthetic improvements you can make! This includes things like repainting the walls, replacing tarnished door knobs, and switching out old faucets.

Use Listing Photos from Last Spring (If Possible)

Now that it’s getting colder outside and your grass, trees, and plants might not look so fresh, you may want to consider using exterior photos of your home from spring or summer when listing it. You want your home (and yard) to look as lush and verdant as possible.

Regardless of the time of year, high-quality listing photos pay for themselves. Professional photos will make your home look much more appealing than ones taken on your cell phone, and will invite potential buyers to come see it in person.

Research the Market

Woman smiling at a laptop as she researches the real estate market.The market has probably changed a lot since the last time you bought or sold a home. Before you list your home, take some time to thoroughly research your local real estate market.

Familiarize yourself with things like the current listing prices in your neighborhood, average turnaround times, and the type of housing for sale around where you live. Need a jumping off point for your research? We’ve got your back! We’d love to share some complimentary market reports and research tools with you.

Create a Cozy Atmosphere with Staging!

Now that it’s officially fall, take advantage of cozy fall staging to really welcome buyers into your home. As it gets colder outside, potential buyers will be feeling the cooler temperatures; imagine their relief when they step into your warm and cozy home after being outside in the cold.

Play up the cozy aspects of your home by lighting lightly-scented candles (like cinnamon or cloves, nothing too crazy!) or putting a pot of cider on the stove. Place throw blankets on furniture, highlight your fireplace or wood stove, and make sure to keep all your shades or blinds open to let in the natural light.

Get a Property Valuation

Two parents in military fatigues smiling as they hug their child.The most important step to selling your home within your timeframe is pricing it correctly! It may seem easier, but you really can’t rely on on online home value estimators. These automated systems use algorithms to price homes, and often rely on outdated or even incorrect information. Too often, we see sellers lose out on their hard-earned equity by using one of these tools—sometimes even missing out on thousands of dollars!

Instead, work with a Realtor with extensive experience buying and selling homes in your area. If you’d like a free property valuation, one that takes into account the specific qualities of your home and the surrounding neighborhood in real time, please reach out to us!

Ready for a Successful Home Sale?

As an active duty or retired military member, you deserve a real estate experience that’s custom-tailored to fit your unique needs. When you choose to partner with us, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Give us a call today to get started!



Hilton Head Properties Reusable Grocery Bags

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Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Say goodbye to plastic grocery bags on Hilton Head Island.  Beginning November 1, all retailers are prohibited from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout bags.  Marine birds and sea turtles can mistake plastic bag pieces as food.  Hilton Head Properties Realty and Rentals supports this environmental effort with our reusable grocery bags.  They are also great for the beach!  Beginning immediately, all vacation rental properties managed by Hilton Head Properties will have these strong totes for use by our guests and clients.   Be kind to the environment and visit us at www.HHPRandR.com.



How to Sell Your Home (While Buying a New Home)

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It’s a common real estate predicament: selling the home you currently live in while trying to buy a new one. So… what’s the most efficient way to go about it?

All in all, it depends on your situation. Are you willing to buy a second home without having sold your first one? Or are you relying on the payoff from your current home for the down payment on your new one? Are you relocating? Upgrading? Downsizing? Your reasons for selling will most likely dictate how you’ll go about the process.

So, here are four things to keep in mind when you’re buying and selling a home at the same time.

It’s All About Timing

Group of people consulting a calendar.What works best for you? If you’re selling your home because you’re relocating to a different area on the Island, it might make more sense to sell your current home first before buying a new home.

However, if you have enough money saved up for a down payment, it may be easier to buy your new home first, then sell your old home once you’ve moved to the new one.

So Do Your Research

A great place to start is by researching the Hilton Head Island market. If there are a lot of buyers and not a lot of homes in your area, this is called a “buyer’s market”, meaning the conditions are ideal for buyers. Oppositely, if there are a lot of buyers and not a lot of homes, the conditions favor sellers (a “seller’s market”). If you’re buying and selling in two different markets, you’ll have to research both.

If you opt to buy before selling, make an offer on the new home with a sale and settlement contingency. You can also request an extended closing to give you time to sell your current home.

And Consider Your Money, Money, Money

A pile of money next to a checkbook with a pen.Look closely at your bank account; what is it telling you?

The answer to your current question (Should I buy or should I sell first?) most likely lies within. Begin by meeting with your financial adviser or mortgage lender. You’ll want to look at three main financial factors: a) The amount of money you have in liquid cash, b) The equity in your current home, and c) The amount of the new loan you qualify for.

A big part of this is knowing the resale value of your current home. It’s also a good idea to have one of our agents complete a Market Preparedness Report on your home, so you will have an idea of what you may need to get it ready for the market… this maybe even bump up your home value a bit.

Your Equity is Also Crucial

To find the equity you have on your home, take its current market value and subtract what’s left on your mortgage.

Need to know the current market value of your home? Find out the value of your home here! Please reach out to us to learn more.

Work With the Right REALTOR!

Even if you’re not buying and selling a home at the same time, the right Realtor can transform your real estate experience. A great local agent has the expertise and resources you need for a streamlined, stress-free, and successful real estate transaction.

If you’re in search of an expert agent in the area, we have the experience, resources, and area knowledge to assist you in your upcoming home sale and/or purchase. Contact one our REALTORS today to learn more.



Getaway from it all this fall on Hilton Head

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Red vintage bicycle with basket and flowers lleaning against wooden fence at beach.

You will fall in love with Hilton Head Island at this time of year.  The pace of the Island is relaxed, dinner reservations are easy, off-season rates apply, temperatures are wonderful and the beaches are beautiful.  The bright sunny days and clear night skies make this one of the favorite months by Islanders and Visitors alike.

Read the rest of this entry



Home Buying Terminology: A Cheat Sheet

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Buying a home shouldn’t be rocket science. You find the perfect home, make an offer to the seller, pay a couple of fees, and bam! You just bought a home.

However, buying a home actually has a lot of moving parts which include a number of funny real estate terms you’ve probably never heard before. Are Realtors and real estate agents even speaking English anymore?

To help you out, we’ve come up with a cheat sheet so you’ll know exactly what we are talking about when we explain the home-buying process.

Pre-Approval

Two adults meeting over a stack of paper.If you meet with an agent before you begin looking for homes, they’ll likely recommend you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Mortgage pre-approval is the best first step to buying a home, because it essentially sets your budget for you.

Pre-approval involves sitting down with a lender to discuss your financial portfolio. This includes your credit score, borrowing history, outstanding debts, annual income, and any assets you have. After reviewing all of this, the lender gives you an exact number: that’s how much the bank is willing to lend you.

Not only is your budget set, home sellers will take you more seriously because they know you can qualify for enough loan to support your offer.

Earnest Money

Two parents sitting with a child who is opening a piggy bank full of coins.Defined loosely, earnest money is the money you pay to confirm a contract. When you’re buying a home, this is essentially a good faith deposit. It lets the seller know that you’re serious—serious enough to go ahead and put money down.

This money sits in a joint account (called an “escrow” account) held by both the buyer and seller. When the home purchase is finalized, the earnest money goes toward the buyer’s down payment.

Due Diligence

A few bills next to a checklist that has home-buying items on it.Due diligence refers to the period of time after the seller has accepted a buyer’s offer. This is the time when you as the buyer can schedule inspections, confirm financing, and make sure that buying this home is in your best interest.

Now’s the time to do some research! Have the home inspected by a professional to ensure nothing is wrong with it, consult public records to learn more about its past homeownership, as well as any environmental issues in the neighborhood, and work with your lender to make sure this is a good financial decision.

So…. Are Realtors and Agents the Same Thing?

Yes and no. The primary difference between REALTOR®s and real estate agents is the National Association of Realtors, also known as the NAR. The NAR is a professional organization of real estate brokers that abides by a specific Code of Ethics that all REALTOR®s are required to follow.

A real estate agent works under a brokerage, but is not necessarily a licensed NAR member.

Let’s Find Your Dream Home Together

Young couple being handed the keys to their new home.We’ll never hide behind big words when it comes to helping you find the home that’s right for you.

Give us a call today to begin your home-buying journey.



How to Sell Your Home During Back-to-School Season: A Complete Guide

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As summer draws to a close, so dawns every parent’s favorite season: the beginning of another school year. This time of year can be hectic for every parent, but it may become especially overwhelming if you’re also trying to sell your home.

Don’t worry, though! We’re here to help. We’ve come up with a bonafide game plan to help you sell your home, handle back-to-school season, and maintain your sanity. Ready to learn more?

Here’s what you need to do:

Prepare a Fresh Start with Staging

Bright kitchen interior.The first step to staging a home is to create a blank canvas. After all, you want potential buyers to be able to picture their lives in your home. To do that, you’ll need to take down any personal artwork, decorations, or mementos—school accomplishments, artwork your kiddos may have made for you, personal school pictures, and anything else.

While this may seem like a bummer, it is essential to selling your home.

Get Some Extra Storage

Another essential part of staging your home is removing any and all clutter. This may seem impossible with all the new school supplies, clothing, and toys strewn about, but it’s doable—and necessary!

Consider investing in a storage unit to house excess furniture, summer toys, and old clothing, or even replace a bench, ottoman, or coffee table with one that doubles as a storage chest to house excess items.

Plan for Showings (but make it fun!)

Young girl swinging in the park.Guess what time is perfect for back-to-school shopping? House-showing time!

To get kids out of the house during showings, come up with a list of kid-friendly outings or activities you can take.

Consider going to the library, a movie theater, an outdoor park or nature center, or the mall to kill some time as your Realtor shows off your home.

Make a Showing-Prep Checklist

As your Realtor schedules your home for showings, try to request at least a one to two hour buffer for each one. Then, create a checklist for what you need to accomplish to get your home showroom-ready before each tour.

Have bags pre-packed for when you need to be out of the house for an extended period of time. Depending on your kiddos, you may want to have have extra diapers, toys, books, games, snacks, and anything else you may need (and keep your list of outings handy!).

Create a Cozy Atmosphere Before You Head Out

Cute living room with cacti on the table.Before grabbing the kids and making yourself scarce, be sure to create an inviting and warm atmosphere for your buyers. Here are some general tips for last-minute staging:

  • Open all the windows — pull back the curtains, raise the blinds, and let in the light!
  • Light a soft-scented candle (nothing too crazy) or put out a bowl of potpourri to cover up any odors.
  • Set some calm, instrumental music to play in the background.
  • Put out a bowl of treats for potential buyers to munch on as they tour your home.

Want to Sell Your Home Fast (and stress-free)?

Then you need to partner with a real estate agent who knows their stuff. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you sell your home for top dollar—without all the extra stress during this busy season.



Home Buying 101: The Service Providers You Need for Your Home Purchase

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When it comes to buying a home, there are more things to consider than you may realize. After all, it’s a lot more complicated than walking into the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk!

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases the average person makes. As such, you can expect there to be a lot of preparation, negotiation, and paperwork involved. In addition to obtaining a mortgage and signing the paperwork, there are a number of other tasks that need to be completed before you can open the doors to your new home.

Here’s a quick crash course in Home Buying 101: what service providers you need to hire while purchasing your new home.

Mortgage Lender

Man and a woman speaking with a bank lender holding pens.Ideally, you should start talking to lenders before you even begin looking for homes—and get pre-qualified for a mortgage as soon as possible.

Pre-qualification involves reviewing all of your finances, including income, expenses, and savings, with a lender.

Then, the lender will do some math and let you know exactly how much the bank is willing to loan you.

Home Inspector

Before you purchase the home, you absolutely must schedule a home inspection! This usually happens after you negotiate a price and sign the initial Purchase and Sale Agreement with the seller.

The home inspector will carefully go through every room of your new home (including basement, attic, and roof) to ensure everything is in proper working order. If the inspector finds any major issues, you can negotiate with the seller to get them fixed.

The average home inspection costs around $315, but it may end up being higher depending on the size of your home as well as any other add ons. For a larger home greater than 2,000 square feet, it may cost upwards of $400 or $500.

Appraiser

Woman at a computer explaining a home appraisal.After the home inspection comes the appraisal. Your lender requires an appraisal because they want to protect their investment by making sure the home is worth at least as much as they’re lending you.

The appraiser will take a close look at key features in the home and compare them to the features in other homes (and what those homes have sold for). If the appraiser values the home at less than the sales price, the bank will lower the amount of your mortgage to match it. If this happens, you have several options.

Depending on the contract you signed with the seller, you may be able to get your deposit back and walk away. You can also dispute the appraisal by talking with your Realtor about property values. Another option is to negotiate the price with the seller.

Title Company

Title insurance promises peace of mind when buying a home. Basically, when you purchase title insurance, a title company will come in and ensure the seller actually owns the home and the title is valid. This protects you down the line, in case any issues come up regarding past taxes, contracts, or prior mortgages with the home’s title.

It’s also a good idea to purchase owner’s and lender’s title insurance to protect yourself and your lender from any issues with claims to the title of your property.

The cost of title insurance depends on the size of your mortgage and your location.

Have any Questions? We’re Here for You

For even more information on how to navigate the purchase of your home, including all the fees, paperwork, and legal jargon, give us a call today. We’re always here to help.




Copyright © 2018 Hilton Head Real Estate. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: All content on this blog is my own opinion and should not be treated as fact or relied upon when purchasing or selling real estate.
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