New Year, New & Improved Home Value

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Happy 2019! What do you want to accomplish in the New Year? If you’re thinking seriously about selling your home this year, or just want to add some value to your property, then it’s time to make a game plan for 2019.

You don’t have to break the bank to build your home equity; there are a number of small, easy projects you can do to increase your home’s value. And bonus: they’re indoor-only, so you can get started right away!

Here are three DIY, cost-effective ways to add value to your home.

Update Your Kitchen

Light-filled kitchen with hanging light fixture.Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. It’s just a fact. If you’re aiming to add value to your entire home, start with these areas.

In the kitchen, refinish wooden cabinets or use a faux-wood finish on non-wood cabinets to give them an updated look. You can also replace your sink with a trendy single-basin fit and sprayer nozzle, and upgrade your appliances to stainless-steel.

With just a few small updates, you can have your whole kitchen feeling brand new!

Give Your Bathroom a Facelift

New construction bathroom with a soaking tub and granite countertop.Let’s head to the bathroom. With a few small upgrades, you can have your entire bathroom feeling like new.

Consider installing a low-flush toilet, updating your faucets, updating your flooring, re-caulking your bathtub, and even replacing the vanity. Strike the perfect balance between energy-efficient upgrades and aesthetic finishes to create a space that’s peaceful, luxurious, and comfortable.

Bring Some Light Into Your Home

Chandelier light fixture.Consider replacing all the lights (and light switches) in your home for a more modern aesthetic. Swap out traditional light switches with dimmers, install wall-mounted lights in your bathroom for a more luxurious feel, and be sure you’re using high-wattage bulbs in every room.

Adding light to your home will instantly make it appear more open and spacious.

Planning to Sell Your Home in the New Year?

We can help with that. Give us a call to begin exploring your real estate options. We’d love to share some additional tips on how to add even more value to your home!



How to Buy a Home in One Year: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Let’s start the new year off right. If you’ve been dreaming of a new home, it’s time to get started. Here’s a month-by-month guide to planning for and buying a new home. It’s about time to set your new year’s resolution, right?

January: Brush Up on Your Market Knowledge

Woman typing on a laptop with a paper pad and pen sitting next to her on the desk.The best way to get started? Brush up on your real estate knowledge. Scour the market with a fine-tooth comb. Check out things like current inventory in your city, average sales prices, and the listing-to-sales-price ratio.

This research will help you familiarize yourself with the market.

February: Address Your Budget

Let’s finalize our budget shall we? The easiest way to do this is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with a lender (let us know if you’d like a recommendation) to review your finances. The lender will go over your financial history, and then let you know what the bank is willing to lend you.

Now you have an idea of what your mortgage will be and what you can afford in a home.

March: Find Your Perfect Location

A park full of bright trees, each at a different stage in the fall process (one is red, one yellow, and one green).Do some soul searching. Where will you be happiest? Explore locations based on their job market, housing affordability, and overall quality of life. The goal is to narrow down your search to one city.

If you have the means, try to take some time off to go and visit a few cities. Once you find a city, it’s time to narrow your search down even further by pinpointing specific areas or neighborhoods that will best meet your needs.

April: Find the Right Agent

Find the right real estate agent to help you buy a home. Trust us: they’ll save you time, money, and more than a few headaches.

If you need any recommendations, let us know. We have more than a few ideas.

May: Define Your Dream Home

Luxurious living room with winding staircase, bright furniture, and hanging light fixtures.Now is the fun part! Start putting together a list of everything you want in your dream home. We recommend starting by defining your “must-have” features. Think of the things in your home you can’t live without. That’s a great place to start.

It’s also important to know the difference between “must-have” (i.e. you need 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms) and “nice-to-haves” (it would be nice to have granite countertops but you can also live without them.)

June-July: Begin Searching

Use a handy home search tool like ours to begin browsing homes for sale in your target area. Once you find a home that you like, it’s time to schedule a tour.

Private home tours are often better than traditional open houses because you have more time to walk through the home, without the pressure of competing with other potential buyers.

At some point in your home-search journey, you’re likely to come across at least one home that calls your name.

August: Fall in Love and Make an Offer

Bright dining room with hardwood floor, small black table, modern decor, and a ceiling fan.You’ve found the one; now make an offer!

Work closely with your agent to compare recently sold homes in the area and craft the perfect offer.

Ask your agent for their advice—like whether or not they think the price is right for this home, as well as what other contingencies you might want to include in your offer. This is when your real estate agent will prove truly valuable: they’ll be able to provide useful insight in order to help you get the home of your dreams for the best possible price.

September: Schedule All the Things

Let’s get down to business. It’s time to negotiate with the seller, schedule an inspection, have your real estate agent complete any renegotiations (based on that inspection), and get the home appraised by a professional.

You’ll also have to take care of some more paperwork to finalize your mortgage loan.

October – December: Let’s Start Closing

Two adults reaching over a table to shake hands.Next, you’ll start the closing process.

Buckle up, because we’re in it for the long haul! Here’s where you’ll finalize your mortgage approval (this requires a ton of paperwork) and meet with an attorney to set closing dates and sign paperwork prior to closing. This is also the time when you’ll review closing fees and the exact monthly costs for your home.

At the end of it all comes the close. You’ll pay the remaining closing fees, sign all the paperwork, and collect your keys Congratulations! You just bought a home.

Ready to Begin?

We’re ready to help. Give us a call today to get started.



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!



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.




Copyright © 2019 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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