2018 Sellers Alert for Hilton Head Island

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Some of our Hilton Head sellers may be a bit shell shy after the last few years with hardly a nibble, but given the current state of the market, sellers need to get back on the horse that threw them.  Some sellers think they should take a break and this is the opposite of what they should be doing right now.  Rising interest rates will slow down buyers and sellers need to take advantage of the current timing.   The favorable factors for selling have gotten a whole lot better, and this is a sellers alert!



Costly Mistakes to Avoid After You Buy Your First Home

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A single-level ranch-style house with a front porch, two-car garage, and well-maintained front yard.You’re smart. You’re doing your research about home buying and homeownership (like you are right now!), so you feel like you’re prepared to avoid common home buying pitfalls. But you’ll soon find that once you’ve moved in, there is a whole new list of common problems that plague unwary first-time homeowners.

To help you make the best buying and ownership decisions possible, we’ve outlined some of the the biggest blunders that first-time buyers make after closing on their home.

Investing in Too Many Upgrades

Not every home improvement project is worth the money or effort. Many first-time homeowners make the mistake of not considering a project’s return on investment, at least until it’s time to sell the house down the road.

If you want to know which home improvements are worth the investment, talk with a real estate agent or get a market report for your neighborhood. Give us a call and we’ll send one to you.

Ignoring “Minor” Maintenance Issues

Water dripping out of a long kitchen faucet and into the sink.As your home ages, seemingly minor issues may arise. But be careful: A dripping faucet, crumbling caulk, or slanting floors could spiral into much bigger headaches if you don’t take care of them quickly.

To avoid shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the road, tackle these maintenance issues as soon as you can.

We’re happy to provide local vendor recommendations if you need maintenance work. Just give us a call!

Choosing the Cheapest Repair Option

Quality comes at a price, especially when it comes to making repairs. Whether it’s picking up a cheap tool set or going with the lowest bid for a service provider, many first-time homeowners make the mistake of sacrificing quality for cost.

Contact us and we’ll be happy to recommend a high-quality local service provider.

Trying to DIY a Complicated Project

A large bathroom with white countertops, a white standing tub, white bidet, frameless glass shower, and orange walls.Some things can be done yourself. Think painting, hanging up shelves, or sprucing up the front entry.

But when it comes to stuff like plumbing, electricity, or structural engineering, think again. Hiring a professional will save you time and money — and keep you from starting a project you don’t know how to finish.

Need to talk to a contractor? Call us and we’ll give you recommendations.

Not Preparing for the Unexpected

A sudden job change, severe weather damage, or major maintenance problem can throw a wrench in your plans. Be sure that you budget accordingly for unexpected expenses as a homeowner.

We’re Happy to be a Resource

As local real estate experts, we have a wealth of information that can help you avoid many of these first-time home buying and homeownership mistakes. Contact us to learn more.



Do You Know What These Crucial Real Estate Acronyms Mean?

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A man standing on a flat field and juggling apples.Acronyms are tossed around like crazy in the real estate world, which can be confusing to even the most veteran home buyers. But don’t worry — it doesn’t take long to learn the language.

Here’s a quick list of the most widely used home buying acronyms and what they actually mean. Of course, if you’d like to know even more real estate terminology, don’t hesitate to call us.

MLS: Multiple Listing Service

The multiple listing service is a massive database of available properties that is split up into hundreds of different regions. If you’ve ever heard someone refer to a home as “on the market,” it means that the home is available on the MLS.

Buyers can search for properties that are on the MLS by using a real estate agent’s website (like ours!), but that’s not the only way to find homes. Your agent can send you updates whenever new properties hit the market.

Want to get these email updates? Call us and we’ll set them up for you!

PITI: Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance

A wooden cutout of a house standing next to three stacks of coins, each taller than the next and with a sprout growing out of the top.Principal, interest, taxes, and insurance are the four parts of a mortgage payment. Initially, you will pay more toward the interest on the mortgage, but you will start to pay off more of the principal (the initial loan amount) the longer you stay in your home.

Want to see the estimated PITI for your next loan? Check out our handy mortgage calculator on Zillow.

FHA: Federal Housing Administration

The Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, is a mortgage insurer that offers a variety of home buying assistance programs to help people purchase homes that they otherwise couldn’t afford.

FHA-insured loans generally offer more flexible credit qualifications and a lower down payment. However, borrowers are required to pay for mortgage insurance.

Interest rates and terms depend on the FHA-approved mortgage lender you choose.

PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance

Speaking of mortgage insurance, many lenders require you to have private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you can’t put 20% down on your home. This insurance protects the lender in case you can’t pay off your mortgage.

HOA-POA: Homeowners Association

A community pool with orange inflatable innertube floating on top.Want to live in a community with a pool or clubhouse? Chances are you’re looking for a neighborhood with an HOA or POA, homeowners association or property owners association.

An HOA is responsible for maintaining common areas and any amenities, and it typically sets standards for how homes should look in order to keep property values up. In some cases, homeowners associations may even include Internet, cable, and lawn care with their HOA dues.

If you’re considering buying a home in a neighborhood with an HOA, check the community fees on our website, association’s CC&Rs — Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions — to see what rules the HOA enforces.

We’ll Help You Speak the Language

Understanding real estate terminology is one of the best ways to start your research as a home buyer. Want to know the meanings of other commonly used terms? Give us a call, visit our website, blog, Zillow Page or shoot us an email!



2018 – The Year of Multiple Bids on Hilton Head

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It’s January and we already have seen multiple bids on several properties we were working on.  Prices are still fantastic, but inventories are dropping putting the spotlight on these properties around the Island.  The best way to buy a property in 2018 is to be prepared.  If you snooze, you lose in this changing market.  Listed below are some ideas to win the bid in 2018 on Hilton Head Island.

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Book Direct and Save on Hilton Head Island

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Looking to save on your next Hilton Head Vacation?  Did you know some of the bigger internet vacation directories like VRBO and Homeaway charge a booking fee?  This fee is based on the rental amount and typically can range from 4%-9% that is charged to the guest.   The best way to avoid being charged this additional fee is to book direct with Hilton Head Properties Realty and Rentals.   Simply go to our rental website and book online there. Read the rest of this entry



Jumpstart the New Year: 3 Goals for Your Island Property

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A 30-day calendar with the number 18 circled in red marker.We’re almost three weeks into the New Year, but it’s not too late to develop goals for 2018.

Now is the perfect time to jump right in and start fresh in your current Hilton Head property! Need ideas? Here are a few real estate goals that you can achieve this year.

Fix Those Pesky Maintenance Issues

Maybe it’s a leaky faucet. Maybe it’s a drafty window. Maybe it’s a clogged shower drain. You can probably think of one or two issues off the top of your head that you haven’t gotten around to addressing yet. The New Year is the perfect time to get those problems fixed.  If you are not sure who to call, contact us at Hilton Head Properties for our vendor list.

Reclaim That New-to-You Feeling

The longer you live in your property, the easier it is to let the clutter build up in your closets, attic, or garage. Make 2018 your year to reorganize!

A well lit living room with a flat screen TV on the wall, a beige couch under a window, and a wooden table in the center.

Don’t try to tackle these massive home organization projects in a weekend. Instead, follow these tips to slowly but surely reduce the clutter in your home:

  • Sort through one room (or one storage space) at a time.
  • Separate the items you want to keep, donate, and toss out.
  • Expand your storage space with shelves or over-the-door organizers.

Sell Your Home in 2018

If you have been thinking about selling your Hilton Head property, why not start your research early? The more information you have, the more prepared you will be when you finally list your home. Here are a few ways to start:

  • Hire a home inspector to identify any major maintenance issues — Call us and we’ll provide recommendations.
  • Learn more about the local real estate market — Ask us for a report of recent home sales.
  • Find out what your property is worth — Contact us for a complimentary evaluation.
  • Start cleaning and decluttering — Get in touch for additional ideas.

We’re Here to Help You Achieve Your Real Estate Goals

We have all the information you need to know about the local Hilton Head real estate market and the selling process. Contact us today and we’ll provide you with our best resources.



Awakening the Sleeping Giant on Hilton Head Island

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Last month, we had six homes over $2 million go “pending” on Hilton Head.  This big jump in buyer activity for luxury properties on the Island is good news for high end sellers.  With 6 sales in December 2017 compared to 1 sale the year before, this segment of the residential market is finally awakening.  Based on this news, high end buyers and sellers on Hilton Head might want to get off the fence soon!  See the market trend report below for more details why. Read the rest of this entry



6 Ways to Save for Your Down Payment

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A 20% down payment is a significant chunk of change. But with enough time to prepare and a little bit of creative budgeting, you’ll be able to save up for your new home sooner than you think. Follow these helpful budgeting tips to get started!

Break Down Your Budget

Closeup of the black and white number keys on a basic calculator.While it’s never a bad idea to start saving for a down payment, it’s an even better idea to analyze your budget before you consider a home purchase. This will help you set realistic expectations and concrete goals.

First, make a list of all of your necessary monthly expenditures — rent, power, water, phone service, student loans, etc. Add these expenditures up and subtract them from your monthly take-home pay. Then, look at everything that is left over and consider what to cut back.

After you’ve taken a look at your spending, determine what home price range (and, consequently, a 20% down payment) you could comfortably afford based on your current monthly budget. Our handy mortgage payment calculator might help!

Set a Concrete Savings Goal

Once you have an idea of how much money you’ll need to put down toward your new home, set a timeline for your savings. For instance, if you need to save up $20,000 for a down payment and want to move in five years, consider setting a savings goal of $335 per month.

Use a finance app like Mint to track your spending and your savings. Apps like these may also provide you with your credit score, which is essential to receiving the mortgage you need.

Get Prequalified for a Mortgage

A calculator sitting next to a paper document, which is signed at the bottom.Setting goals based on your current spending is a great place to start. To take the next step to buying your new home, meet with a lender about prequalifying for a mortgage.

Prequalifying for a mortgage will let you know how much financing you may qualify for — and how much you’ll need to save for your down payment. When you talk with a lender, ask for the maximum amount of financing that’s available to you based on your credit score and financial history. This may open up a lot of options when you’re searching for homes.

Not sure how to find a reputable mortgage broker? Give us a call and we can connect you with a trusted local lender.

Find Creative Ways to Save Money

If you’re having trouble meeting your savings goals for the month, even after you’ve carefully budgeted for the essentials, find ways to cut out superfluous spending or think of ways to earn a little bit of cash on the side. For example, you can:

  • Sell gently used clothing and household items at a yard sale
  • Substitute a movie streaming service for cable TV
  • Collect your loose change in a jar and cash it in every month
  • Use coupons while shopping at the supermarket
  • Use browser extensions like Honey to save while shopping online

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

A young woman holding colorful shopping bags in her hand over her shoulder.Saving for a down payment is no easy task. Every time you reach a major milestone, be sure to congratulate yourself!

Obviously, don’t spend all of that money in one place, but feel free to treat yourself to something special to reward yourself for your hard work.

Consider Home Buying Assistance Programs

Are you still having trouble saving for a 20% down payment? It might be worth looking into home buying assistance programs, such as FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans.

How Can We Help You Achieve Your Goals?

We are always available to discuss your home buying plans. Connect with us and we can provide you with the resources and advice you need.



Ring in the 2018 New Year on Hilton Head Island

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Come spend New Years with us on Hilton Head Island and enjoy a fun filled night “out” or hang “in” at one of our awesome vacation properties near the beach!  Nothing better than to celebrate a New Year in new space!  Listed below are several spots to ring in the New Year in the Hilton Head, Bluffton and Savannah!  From all of us at Hilton Head Properties Realty and Rentals we wish for you a Safe and Happy New Year!

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A Quick Guide to Tax-Deductible Donations in Your Home

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Coffee cups protected by paper in a cardboard moving box.In the season of giving, many local organizations and businesses often accept donations of clothing, household goods, and other gently used items to help those in need.

Homeowners looking to downsize or preparing for a move (or just clearing up some space at home) can not only pay it forward by donating to a local charity, they can also take advantage of tax deductions. We’ve created this handy guide to tax-deductible items to help you know what to donate and how to write off your contributions.

Belongings and Household Items That You Can Donate

Most organizations have guidelines about the specific items that they accept, but in general, you can donate these kinds of items to local charities:

  • furniture, such as beds, desks, tables, and chairs
  • clothing, such as shirts, shoes, and new underwear
  • appliances, such as heaters, working TVs, and A/C units
  • vehicles, such as cars or boats
  • building materials, such as doors, windows, and wood flooring

How to Deduct Your Contributions

Dozens of suitcases, duffle bags, and boxes packed into a tiny attic.The IRS allows homeowners to take itemized deductions on charitable contributions on their tax returns. If you have an attic full of items that you don’t use or have several boxes of items that you don’t want to move to your new home, don’t just throw them out! Here’s what to do instead.

1. Find a Charity That Qualifies for Deductible Donations

The IRS’s Exempt Organizations Select Check tool is a great place to start. You can search by city or state to find a list of organizations that qualify for tax-deductible contributions. It’s important to note that donations to individuals aren’t tax deductible.

2. Determine the Value of Your Contributions

Knowing the monetary value of your contributions is essential to writing off your donations on your taxes. Some organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill, have helpful guidelines about the fair market value of appliances, clothing, furniture, and other household goods.

Neon sticky notes and a pen sitting on top of a document with a long list.Before you donate your items, make a list of each item and its value. You can evaluate your items by checking with the organization or, for any high-value items, having them appraised.

3. Know Your Limits

There are limits to what you can deduct for charitable contributions on your income tax returns. If your donations are more than 20% of your adjusted gross income, certain caps may apply based on what kinds of items you donated and to what type of organization.

If you contribute over $500 in items, you will need to fill out and attach Form 8283 to your return. If you make any contributions over $5,000 for items like rare art, collectibles, or real estate, you will also need to have them appraised.

4. Ask for a Receipt or Other Written Record

Once you’ve donated your items, ask for documentation, such as a receipt. Having a record of your contribution will help you know exactly how much you donated (and what to write off on your taxes).

Are You Donating Items to Prepare for a Home Sale?

Granite kitchen countertops that are free of any clutter and appliances.You’re off to a great start. Clearing out your closets, basement, attic, or other storage space is the best way to lighten the load for your move. We can help you take your preparations a step further.

Whether you’re starting to research the value of your home or are simply considering the idea of putting your home on the market, we’re here to help. Contact us and we’ll provide you with all of the information you need.




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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