The Hilton Head Eclipse Event!

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The solar eclipse on August 21 is creating quite a stir in the Hilton Head area.  Although not total on Hilton Head, the photo to the left shows the eclipse from the Island.  Pretty darn close!  If you are planning on visiting, many hotels and rental companies are offering specials including free “eclipse” glasses(while they last). The information and links below will help you plan your viewing party!

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Want Top Dollar for Your Home? Hire a Real Estate Pro

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A quick Google search is all it takes to discover hundreds of new recipes, do-it-yourself projects, and tips about how to stage your home. With so much information available online, especially about the home selling process, many homeowners start to wonder whether it’s faster and more cost-efficient to sell their own homes rather than hiring a real estate agent to do it for them. (Spoiler alert: It’s not.)

Sold sign in front of single-family houseMaybe you’re just now thinking about selling your home. All those HGTV shows and helpful articles make it look so easy — how hard could it be to sell your home yourself? Or maybe you’re already elbows deep into selling For Sale By Owner and are thinking, this isn’t so bad.

A helpful tip when considering whether to skip right over hiring an agent: Just because you can do something yourself doesn’t mean that you should, especially when it comes to selling a home.

So what makes a real estate agent so invaluable?

What Does a Real Estate Agent Do, Anyway?

Everything from preparing paperwork to negotiating the price and terms — you name it, a real estate agent does it. But what many home sellers forget is that a real estate agent’s job is a lot of behind-the-scenes work.

contract to purchase a homeWhen you hire a real estate professional, you’re not only benefitting from the agent’s intimate knowledge of what’s happening in the local housing market, you’re also working with a licensed professional who is legally bound to work in your best interests. A few essential elements of their job include:

  • Researching recent comparable sales to determine the best price for your home
  • Spending their own time and money to market your listing
  • Promoting your home through their network of contacts and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
  • Coordinating showing appointments and open houses on your behalf
  • Responding quickly to inquiries about your property
  • Writing counteroffers and filling out required disclosures
  • Doing everything they can to help you achieve your goals

Isn’t It Cheaper to Sell My Home Myself?

Commission — a percentage of the sale proceeds that goes to the real estate agents involved in the transaction — is a major factor in the decision to go FSBO (For Sale By Owner) or hire a real estate pro. Working without a real estate agent will certainly save you a few thousand dollars on commission, but there’s a catch.

If You Go Down the FSBO Road

If you decide to go FSBO, you won’t save as much money as you think. You might not even save money at all.

Sign that says For Sale By OwnerYou will have to spend your own time and money to invest in quality photography for your listing, purchase marketing materials (and not just a For Sale By Owner sign), carefully research which home improvements will bring you the most bang for your buck, and list your home on the MLS, just to name a few.

This all assumes that you price your property correctly, manage to entice more than a couple of buyers with your marketing efforts, investigate whether interested buyers are actually qualified to purchase your home, make all the right repairs so no red flags surface during the home inspection, and don’t make a costly mistake involving disclosure forms or the contract!

If You Work with a Real Estate Agent

Since real estate agents are licensed professionals, they are experts at handling all the details of your transaction. They will help you avoid costly mistakes, negotiate the best price and terms for your property, and ensure that it sells for top dollar.

At the end of the day, working with a real estate agent instead of going FSBO will save you time, money, and headaches.

Okay, I’m Convinced — What Do I Do Next?

If your goal is to sell your home quickly and for top dollar, we can help. We’re more than happy to share our wealth of home selling resources, including staging tips and a home evaluation. Give us a call and let’s talk about your plans.



Fall back to Hilton Head Island in 2017

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August is a transitional month for sales on Hilton Head Island.  The traffic from the summer visitors starts tapering as school sessions begin.  The visitor we see in the fall traditionally are “baby boomers” looking to enjoy some time on the Island.  Some of these baby boomers are heading down the east coast and up the west coast researching possible retirement or 2nd home locations. Read the rest of this entry



Should You Hire a Professional or DIY on Those Home Repairs?

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equipment for a do-it-yourself home repairTo DIY or not to DIY? That’s the question on many homeowners’ minds when there’s a repair or home improvement project on their to-do lists. The good news is that you can do plenty of things on your own. But for other projects, you’re better off hiring a licensed contractor, plumber, or electrician to do the work for you.

When undertaking a home improvement project, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you want to strike a balance between saving time by hiring a professional and saving money by doing it yourself. So here’s how to know when to hire a professional and when to go DIY.

Replacing Hardware — Do It Yourself

Need an upgrade from tarnished doorknobs, outdated cabinet pulls, or boring light switches? Pick up new hardware from a local home improvement store and go for it. Replacing hardware is a fairly simple fix that any homeowner can do on their own.

roofer's tool belt on top of a houseReplacing Roof Shingles — Hire a Professional

Unless you have significant roofing experience (and aren’t afraid of heights), you’re better off leaving this job to the professionals. Contractors can repair your roof in significantly less time — and save you risk of injury.

Installing Ceiling Fans or Light Fixtures — It Depends

If the wiring is already there, you can put in a new fan or light in your living room yourself with little problem. Just make sure that you’ve turned off the power on the circuit breaker before removing the original fixture.

However, if you want to add a ceiling fan or overhead light to a room that doesn’t have wiring already in place, you will need to hire an electrician. They will check to see if your home has sufficient amperage (and rewire the room if necessary), cut and patch drywall to install the fixture, and add a light switch.

Installing Major Appliances — Hire a Professional

Installing a new oven, refrigerator, washing machine, or dishwasher takes quite a bit of know-how, so you’re better off hiring a professional to get the job done right. They will check the wattage, check gas and water connections, and ensure that your new appliance is level, among other things.

white tile backsplash in updated kitchenAdding a Backsplash — Do It Yourself

Adding wall tile to your kitchen or bathroom is something you can do yourself. Home improvement stores have all the equipment you need, from mortar to tile cutters to the wall tiles themselves. When considering this DIY project, make sure that you have the time to prepare the mortar and grout, lay the tile, seal the backsplash, and allow everything to dry.

Adding Granite or Quartz Countertops — Hire a Professional

Upgrading your countertops involves precise cutting of the quartz or granite and assistance from several people to lift the heavy countertops — plus the initial assurance that your cabinets can support the weight of the heavy material. So when installing new granite or quartz counters, it’s better to hire a professional.

Need Recommended Service Providers?

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, we can connect you with trusted contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other professionals who can save you time and money on your home improvements. Contact us and we’ll be happy to provide recommendations!



11 things sellers should do once the for sale sign is up

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Source: 11 things sellers should do once the for sale sign is up  BY ZETA CROSS

The sellers have decluttered, painted, made repairs and spiffed up the landscaping. The curb appeal is at its best. After the long process of getting the home listed, the for sale sign is up. Now what?

Here are 11 things your sellers should do once they’re ready to get their home sold once and for all.

1. Never turn down a showing

Remember the Murphy’s Law of real estate: Whenever it is inconvenient, the appointment center will call. Try your best to accommodate all showings.

Every showing could be “the one.” Some buyers cannot, or will not, reschedule. The more buyers who see your house — particularly, right after it hits the market — the quicker it will sell.

2. Leave the lights on

Buyers decide within 30 seconds if they like a house. Opening the door to a welcoming and cheery bright room impacts a buyer’s emotions.

On the flip side, a room with low light and shadows is a little gloomy. It makes you hesitate to enter. Many buyers ask for houses that are bright with sunlight.

If a house is not particularly “light filled,” $20 IKEA-type floor lamps can work wonders. Even if you are at work all day, it pays to leave plenty of lights on. The cost is low, and the effect is major.

3. Crank that air conditioning

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. On a hot day, that air conditioning might be just the feature that gets the buyers to make an offer.

4. Humor the nosy neighbors, and invite them in

Neighbors are naturally curious to know all about your sale. Count on them to show up at the open house. Chances are good that someone in the neighborhood knows someone who might be the perfect buyer for your house.

FacebookNextdoor posts and the neighborhood grapevine all help get the word out that your house is for sale.

5. Stay ‘show worthy’

The cleaning and decluttering never stops. Cooking smells, pet odors, wet towels in the bathroom — all signs of normal life need to go.

Keep empty laundry baskets ready for quick room sweeps before showings. Pick up toys, mail, toasters, cereal boxes — anything taking up space on horizontal surfaces. Hide the laundry baskets under the bed, in the garage or in your car.

11 tips for homesellers infographic. Content by Zeta Cross.

6. Fido can cost you $10,000

That is no exaggeration. Sellers cancel showings every day because they can’t get home to walk the dog.

Putting off showings means days on market (DOM) quickly accumulate. If a house does not sell in 30 days, buyers take that as a signal to offer less than asking.

The price of doggy daycare pales next to a $5,000 or $10,000 price drop.

7. Tone down the kids’ rooms

It pays to minimize the Star Wars and princess decor — no matter how well-done. Orchid colored walls, music star posters and stuffed animal collections broadcast that you are selling a “used” house.

Even an adorable baby room that is too “precious” can hurt a sale. Keep decor and furnishings as minimal and neutral as possible.

Let the kids dream of decorating their new rooms in the new house in return for letting you box up and store their decor.

8. Keep your stuff safe

In 18 years as a Realtor, I have never known sellers who have had items stolen at a showing or open house, but it can happen.

Don’t create temptation by leaving cameras on the coffee table, diamond earrings on the dresser or prescriptions in the bathroom.

Buyers will read the paperwork that you leave out. They will open your medicine cabinets and closets. Guns should be unloaded and locked up. Hiding a gun in the back of the closet is not secure.

9. Don’t get sued

Get rid of tripping hazards, like small rugs. Make sure flooring is not loose or uneven –particularly on stairs, porches and decks.

Mark “half steps” that are hard to see with tape or some shiny indicator. Pick up stray toys.

Use mats, and put towels down when it rains. Shovel ice and snow. Sounds obvious? Many sellers don’t bother.

10. Make yourself scarce

Innocent questions from buyers can cost you. If they ask “Who cleans your chimney?” — you’ll have to admit that you haven’t had it cleaned for 10 years.

If they ask about the neighbors, what do you tell them about the crabby woman next door who complains about your kids?

Chatting with buyers is more likely to hurt the sale price than help you sell.

11. Don’t let buyers make you nuts

Buyers can be inconsiderate. They come late for appointments, or they don’t show up at all. They make offhand comments about the home that can hurt the homeowners’ feelings.

Selling a home is business. The agent should handle the buyers until it is time to hand them the keys.

What do you tell homesellers to help prepare them for the sale process? Please share in the comments section below. 

Zeta Cross is an agent with HG Realty Services in Philadelphia. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Email Zeta Cross



Tips for a Stress-Free Move with Your Pet

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boxes and household items in moving boxesYou’ve just bought a new home, and Fluffy and Fido are starting to worry about all the moving boxes going into the truck outside. Pets can easily become stressed during a move, which might cause them to lose their fur, become aggressive, or even run away.

Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your pet’s anxiety before, during, and after your move.

Plan Ahead and In Detail

Many people consider their pets as part of the family, so it’s only natural to be concerned for their comfort and safety during a move. Meticulous planning well in advance of moving day is the best way to ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible with moving to a new home.

First, Make a Checklist of Moving Tasks

We recommend making a checklist of things to do — call the vet, have your pet microchipped, research veterinarians, buy calming medicine, etc. If you’re planning to transport your pet in a crate or carrier, take time to introduce them to it, especially if your dog or cat hasn’t been in their carrier in a while. Put their food or a few treats in it in the weeks before the move; that way, they’ll be more accustomed to the space and will feel less stressed.

Next, Gather Up These Important Documents

Your new state, county, or community might have different rules for owning a pet, so research what records you will need and what fees you must pay in order to register them. It might be best to put the following in one organized file just in case:

  • Vaccination records and health certificate
  • Rabies tags (if they’re not already on your pet’s collar)
  • Emergency contact info for your current veterinarian
  • Contact info for a recommended veterinarian

kitten chewing on a stuffed toyKeep Medication, Food, and Toys Handy

You won’t want to pack your pet’s medications, treats, toys, or food until moving day, so you may want to set aside a box just for your pet. Be sure to pack this box either in the car with you or within easy reach, just in case of an emergency.

Update Your Pet’s ID

Engrave a new ID tag with your new home address and phone number in case your pet gets lost. Hopefully, this will never happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure that your dog or cat is microchipped or at least is wearing a collar, especially in the weeks leading up to moving day.

Keep Them Comfy on Moving Day

In the chaos of loading boxes into the moving van, the last thing you want to happen is your beloved furry friend escaping. Keep your dog or cat in a separate room with their toys, food, and carrier until the time comes to load them into the car. Alternatively, you could let a friend or family member pet sit until it’s time to go.

Book a Pet-Friendly Hotel in Advance

If you’re driving a long way or need to stay at a hotel overnight, reserve a pet-friendly hotel room well in advance so you’ll have one less thing to worry about on moving day.

senior couple with dog at the beachTake Plenty of Stops on Long Car Rides

While on extended car trips, take frequent stops along the way to give your pet fresh water and food, let your pet go to the bathroom, and take your dog for a refreshing walk around the rest area.

Give Them Time to Adjust to New Surroundings

Pets can become agitated when exposed to new surroundings, so it’s important to keep their collars on and keep an eye on them for the first few days after moving. Surround them with their favorite toys and comfort items, like a blanket or pet bed from the old house, to give them a familiar scent to latch on to.

Be sure to stick to a routine, too! Take your dog on a walk at the same time and stick to your regular feeding schedule.

We’ll Help You Move Quickly and Easily

owner playing with her catWe hope these moving tips will come in handy as you’re moving with your pets! If you haven’t yet settled on the perfect home or if you’re thinking of selling your current home, we can help you with all the details, not just the transaction.

Call us and we can talk about your plans.



Vacation Rental Properties on Hilton Head Island

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Have you ever considered owning and renting a vacation property on Hilton Head Island?   While these properties don’t always pay for themselves, there are many benefits of ownership that make these properties a great way to get your foot in the door on Hilton Head Island.  We have listed below a few shopping list requirements in choosing a vacation rental property to buy and several articles highlighting possible benefits of ownership. Read the rest of this entry



The 5 Emotional Stages of Buying Your First Home

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Ask anyone you meet and they’ll likely recall vivid details about their first roller coaster ride, their first day of school, or their first kiss. A first home purchase is no different! While buying your first home comes with its fair share of ups and downs, it will ultimately be an enjoyable experience you’ll remember for years to come.

two people jumping on a beach

Stage 1: Elation

You’ve checked your budget and the numbers all line up. You can now buy your first home! While you’re busy pinning home décor ideas to your Pinterest board, taking a peek at homes for sale in your favorite neighborhoods, and uncorking the champagne, you’re grinning from ear to ear. In no time, you’ll be stepping over the threshold of a home you can call yours.

deep hole lined with books

Stage 2: Apprehension

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of research involved with buying a home — something you’ve realized very quickly. You feel like you’re drowning in the vast sea of available homes, being crushed under the weight of your mounting to-do list, and losing your way down the rabbit hole of home buying tips and topics. Buying your first home is a bit more overwhelming than you thought!

But don’t worry. Once you’ve chosen a lender, gotten pre-approved for a loan, and found an experienced real estate agent, both of your trusted guides are there to help you with all the details.

children looking at a computer

Stage 3: Giddiness

With help from your awesome real estate agent, you’ve checked off all the items on your to-do list and have arrived at the fun stage: the house hunt! You feel like a little kid unwrapping a present when you see all those homes (in your price range!) with cool features like swimming pools, grassy yards, community amenities, and dreamy kitchens. Any one of these properties could potentially be your next home!

Armed with a pen, notepad, and your phone’s camera, you’re ready to explore your favorite homes and take note of what you liked. In one of the most emotional stages of the first-time home buying process, it’s hard not to fall in love with every home you visit!

person at the light at the end of the tunnel

Stage 4: Panic

Maybe the home you liked was sold before you could make an offer. Maybe you’ve taken a tour of ten listings and haven’t found “the one.” Maybe you realized you can’t afford your ideal home in the location you prefer. A million doubts start running through your mind: What if I miss out on my dream home? What if I can’t find the home I need? Will I have to settle for something beyond my budget? What if I won’t be able to buy my first home?!

But luckily, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Your real estate agent is here to provide you with an objective view of the situation, ease your fears, and work tirelessly to find you the right home.

a couple of homeowners in their first home

Stage 5: Bliss

Your real estate agent found a brand new listing for you and it’s a home you adore. And just like that, you’ve taken a tour, made an offer, and breezed through due diligence. You’ve just bought your first home!

Sure, it might not have all the fancy tech and high-end features like in HGTV’s dream home, but it has everything you need. And now it’s yours. Congratulations, new homeowner!

We’ll Minimize the Headaches

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, the home buying process can come with its share of ups and downs. But we’re here to take the stress out of the whole process! Let’s chat about your plans, and we’ll help you discover the home you’ve been looking for quickly and easily.



Internet values for a Hilton Head Property

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The internet has become an important tool for both buyers and sellers researching real estate in the Hilton Head area. If you go this route, it’s a good idea to check at least 2 or 3 of these sites to get an estimated range of value.  That’s because these sites often do not take into account the unique features of the property and can have incorrect data about the property or location.

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3 Home Selling Prep Essentials

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You’ve got to start somewhere when preparing your home to sell, but it’s not where you would think. Before jumping right into cleaning, decluttering, staging, and marketing, take some time to review. Having a solid understanding of the real estate market and the home selling process is essential for a smooth and stress-free sale. So let’s get to it.

1. Know What’s Happening in the Real Estate Market

aerial view of residential community

Are homes in your community flying off the market in just a couple of days? Are properties selling over asking price again and again? What have homes like yours recently sold for? Knowing about current market conditions will give you an idea of how quickly your home is likely to sell, as well as how high a price you’re likely to receive. Ask us for a Neighborhood Sales Report for an inside look at market activity!

2. Find Out How Much Your Home is Worth

You’ve probably asked yourself “what’s my home worth?” a dozen times over the past few years. Now’s your chance to learn the answer!

When we’re determining how much homes are worth, we don’t just pull a number out of thin air. Home buyers are the ones who determine what properties are worth, so we take a look at current market activity (which you’ve already done!) to see how much buyers are willing to pay for homes like yours. At the end of all of our research, we have a detailed report of what your home is worth, which in the real estate industry is called a “comparative market analysis.” Call us and we’ll provide one for your home!

3. Wait Before Making Drastic Home Improvements

highly upgraded kitchenBefore you decide to shell out thousands of dollars to completely gut your kitchen and bathrooms, talk with a real estate agent who’s familiar with your community and what buyers are looking for in a home like yours. You may be surprised to learn that your potential buyers don’t want top-of-the-line appliances, quartz countertops, under-cabinet lighting, or any of those “must-haves” that you see on HGTV.

Save yourself the time, money, and headaches and talk with us. We can tell you which home improvements are worth the money and which ones aren’t.

Bonus Tip: Find the Right Real Estate Agent

The best way to save time, money, and unnecessary headaches? Work with a professional. The best real estate agent takes the time to understand your goals, provides you with the resources you need, and tells what to expect when selling your home. Plus, your real estate agent will be there to answer any questions you have at any time in the process.

We’d be happy to talk with you about your plans to sell your home. Call us!




Copyright © 2017 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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