Hilton Head Real Estate Blog

Expert insight.  Stay up to date on the beautiful Town of Hilton Head and what it has to offer YOU!  

Oct. 31, 2018

Four Sleeper Costs – First Time Home Buyers Be Prepared


Buying your first home is an exciting time yet it also can be expensive.  Buying a home may be your biggest financial commitment but it also can be more expensive than you realize if you aren’t prepared for all the costs.

1.      1.  Mortgage Insurance:  it’s much easier these days to buy a home without a 20% down payment.  As a result, more buyers have to insure the mortgage.  Mortgage insurance premiums depend on how big your loan is and how little you put down.  It’s important to factor in this cost into your monthly payment.

2.       2.  Homeowner’s Insurance and Property Taxes:  Another area that first time buyers might not factor into homeownership are property taxes and homeowner’s insurance which can add up to 2 to 3 percent to their monthly mortgage payment.  Many lenders will have this money escrowed into an account and pay the amounts when they are due. 


3.       3.  Home-related Items:  Buying a home for the first time and moving in from an apartment may leave some buyers needing to purchase more furniture, lawn tools, hoses and other outdoor items.  New home buyers may also want to spend money to paint and re-decorate (new flooring, tile, etc.), purchase drapes, and fixtures to their liking.  Those costs can add up quickly.


4.      4.   Home Maintenance:  One of the main costs that first-time buyers fail to account for is ongoing maintenance.  If your HVAC system goes down or you need a new roof, you will need to pay for the repairs.  If you need a plumber or electrician, you have to pay for it. 


Buying a home can be a great financial investment as long as you factor in ALL costs.  It’s important to plan for these costs.



Posted in Other
Oct. 21, 2018

September Hilton Head Area Market Reports

The Hilton Head Area Market Reports are now available!  Please access the reports by clicking on the links below.  And, as always, if you have any questions or would like a complimentary market report for your home, please contact me!

September Monthly Market Indicator
September Monthly Supply Outlook
September Mainland Report
September Hilton Head Island Attached
September Hilton Head Island Detached

Posted in Market Activity
Sept. 19, 2018

7 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid

1) Using bold, custom colors or wallpaper on the walls. Experimenting with color and wallpaper can be a lot of fun as a homeowner. There are so many inspiring things you can do with it, but unfortunately, it has no place in a home that is on the market. Color and wallpaper are very taste-specific, so while you may think they will entice buyers, they can actually turn off buyers and make them feel like they have to invest a lot of money in undoing them before they can move in. 

2) Neglecting the clutter (or not decluttering enough). Decluttering is one of the most important steps in staging a home for sale. It goes farther than just cleaning things up, though. What would be considered “decluttered” to a house one is living in is different from the level of decluttering that a home on the market requires to make the best possible impression on buyers. Go a step further and put away small appliances that are on the kitchen counters, hide toothbrushes and other toiletries in the bathroom, and thin out the décor on your bookshelves and entertainment center. 

3) Personalizing the décor. Just like personalizing the walls, the rest of the décor should follow the same guidelines. Part of owning a house is having the opportunity to put your own stamp on it. If the home you are selling is largely personalized by décor of a specific taste and style, most buyers will have trouble imagining their own décor in its place. While you may feel like buyers should see past all of that, the reality is, most of them won’t. 

4) Keeping personal photographs and artwork out. Family photos are some of the most distracting elements you can keep in a house that’s on the market. They remind buyers that the house they are walking through belongs to someone else and can even make many feel uncomfortable, like they are intruding on someone else’s space. This is the last thing you want them to be feeling. Put away family photographs and highly personalized artworkuntil you move into your next place. 

5) Not doing a deep, thorough cleaning. Just like decluttering, the kind of cleaning a house on the market needs is on a different level than everyday cleaning. Every inch of the home should be spotless and as close to looking brand new as possible. As homeowners, we come to overlook certain things, but buyers will be highly sensitive to a home’s cleanliness as they tour it. They will be looking for signs that the home has been well-maintained over the years. We recommend hiring professionals to do a deep, thorough cleaning before listing. Then, be sure to maintain it every day, especially if you have kids and/or pets living there. 

6) Over-staging the house. Home staging can help your home appeal to more buyers and, consequently, get it sold faster and for more money. But the wrong home staging can have the opposite effect. It is possible to over-stage a house. If you put out too many decorative pieces, it can start to look cluttered rather than staged. It’s important to be tasteful with your choices and not go overboard with the décor. 

7) Blocking views and architectural elements. Something we see all too often is furniture blocking a home’s best selling features. Beautiful views and architectural elements can be big draws for buyers ─ so if you hide them, you could potentially be missing out on a sale! One of the worst offenders is covering up a fireplace. Fireplaces add charm to a home and are something a lot of home buyers would love to have, so they should be the focal point of a space. The same goes for a view. If a window shows a nice view of the backyard or something even more enticing, like a lake or ocean, then you should definitely be making an effort to draw a buyer’s eye to the window rather than away from it.

Be sure to avoid these 7 common home staging mistakes to give your home the best possible chance at impressing buyers. 

Article by:  MHM Personal Staging

Posted in Other
Sept. 7, 2018

To-Dos: Your September Home Checklist

Prep your home for cooler weather with these tasks to do in an hour, over a weekend and during the month.

From the first days, which probably still feel like summer, to the last, when you may notice that first chill in the air, September is a time of transition. Get your home ready for the season ahead by ticking off these to-dos, from adding cozy layers to scheduling necessary maintenance — and then curl up in your favorite chair and savor the comforts of home.


1. Cozy up with warm layers. Have you felt that first nip in the air yet? When you do, think about swapping out lighter-weight bedding for flannel sheets and fluffy duvets. Bring added warmth to the other rooms in your house with throws and pillows in rich fabrics like wool, velvet or faux fur. Thicker area rugs and curtains not only feel cozier, but they also can actually help your home feel warmer — and cut down on your energy bills.

2. Order firewood. Whether you use a wood stove for actual warmth or just for coziness, now is a good time to order a delivery of firewood. If you can help it, don’t store large quantities of wood directly against the house, which can encourage pests, but do keep it protected from rain and snow beneath a shelter.

3. Check safety devices. Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.

4. Set up a homework or project area. Encourage kids to get their work done with an area that is comfortable, attractive and well-organized. Ideally, make available a large surface for spreading out big or messy projects. The dining table can work, but if you have the room, consider adding a dedicated project table and keep all the necessary supplies at hand.


Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend

5. Clean leather furniture. It’s important to know whether your leather furniture has a finish before treating it with any products, so check labels or look up the item on the retailer’s or manufacturer’s website before you begin. 

6. Remove window AC units. If you use window air-conditioning units, now is the time to either remove them or cover them outside with protective insulation. Removing the units is the better option because this will allow you to close the windows, minimizing winter heat loss. If you choose to leave them in over the winter, be sure to pick up insulating covers made for this purpose and securely attach them outside.

7. Add weatherstripping. Newer double-pane windows may not need weatherstripping, but it will help most older windows retain heat and stop drafts. Check areas with previously applied weatherstripping and remove or replace as needed.

8. Freshen up your fall wardrobe. If you’ve bought new clothes recently, take this opportunity to sort through the rest of your wardrobe and remove pieces you no longer wear. Collect clothes that need repair and move summer clothes to an out-of-the-way spot so that your fall wardrobe can be front and center. Polish shoes, remove pilling from coats and sweaters, and clean out handbags and totes.

9. Inspect the roof and gutters. It’s generally fine to wait until most of the leaves have fallen in autumn to clean out the gutters and downspouts, but giving these areas a quick visual inspection now is a good idea. Pull out any sticks or other debris blocking the gutters, and make note of any worn-out seals around vent pipes and chimneys. If you do not feel comfortable on a ladder, or have a home of two or more stories, hire someone to do a quick inspection for you. Schedule any needed repairs now so that your home will be buttoned up for winter.


Maintenance and Extras to Budget for This Month

10. Schedule chimney and furnace maintenance. 
Make sure your fireplace and heating system are clean, safe and ready to go by having a pro look at them now. Having your chimney cleaned will also ensure that you don’t try to start a fire when an animal family (or an old nest) is inside. And if you don’t have a chimney cap yet, speak with your chimney sweep about adding a one. The metal cap with screened sides can prevent critters from getting in and helps protect your roof from burning embers.

11. Maintain the washer and dryer. Cleaning out the dryer vents can be a DIY job, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing so (or if you’ve been putting it off), you may want to hire a pro to do washer and dryer maintenance for you. Washing-machine hoses need to be replaced from time to time, and a cracked hose can cause a leak — which can mean costly damage to your home. Clean dryer vents and hoses will help your machine work more efficiently and reduce the risk of fire.


Article courtesy of houzz.com

Aug. 28, 2018

Why Zestimates Can Cost You a Lot of Money In a Resort Market


Most people are familiar with Zillow's "Zestimate" where the website will suggest a value to a listed property as a "guideline" for prospective buyers.  Zillow gathers this information by doing the work that buyers aren't often able to easily do which is to gather sales data from nearby properties that have recently sold.  Imagine, if you will, a dreamy street on Hilton Head Island where you want to buy your next home...one side of the street is Oceanfront homes and the other side of the street have "wooded view" properties.  Zillow can't differentiate price difference based on view so guess what?  All those "wooded view" suggested property values will be inflated based on recent sales of Oceanfront properties.  Don't overpay.  Use a buyer's agent (they are FREE to you) to purchase your property on Hilton Head Island.

Aug. 23, 2018

10 Habits That Can Cost The Homeowner In The Long Run


Every homeowner makes mistakes. The real trouble, however, starts when these blunders become habits that cost a lot of money over time. Some behaviors also create safety issues.

If you’re guilty of these bad habits, break them — pronto.

1. Inadvertently clogging pipes

Be mindful of what you’re putting down your drains, advises Krystal Rogers-Nelson, home safety and maintenance expert at ASecureLife.com. “Don’t flush anything down your toilet besides toilet paper, especially heavier materials like paper towels, diapers or cotton swabs, and paint, oil or harsh chemicals,” she says. “Even ‘flushable’ wipes aren’t recommended.”

If you notice warning signs of clogging — a gurgling when you use the toilet, for instance, or low water pressure — call a plumber ASAP.


2. Not cleaning gutters

Overflowing gutters can damage your house’s roof, siding or foundation, says Eddie Zielinski, a Lowe’s store manager in Harper Woods, Mich. Zielinski recommends clearing gutters of leaves, pine needles and other debris at least twice a year. If you’re worried about falling, you can hire a professional gutter cleaner for about $150, HomeAdvisor says.

To prevent clogs, install gutter guards such as screens, foam inserts, fine mesh or surface tension covers, says Brendon DeSimone, brokerage manager at Houlihan Lawrence real estate in Bedford, New York.


3. Letting trees overgrow

Many homeowners forget to trim their trees, and that can create safety problems, DeSimone says. If you have trees near your house, prune them every two years to keep limbs and branches away from your home. For large or hard-to-reach trees, the risk of injury is high, so consider hiring a trimmer. On average, a tree costs $200 to trim, HomeAdvisor says, but costs can vary depending on the size and location of the tree. (Trees near power lines, for example, require additional time because crews can’t just toss the branches down as they work.)

 One way to mitigate risk is to have a certified arborist inspect your trees for disease, weak limbs and rotting every five or so years.

 4. Slamming the front door

This habit might seem harmless, but repeated slamming can pull the door out of alignment and create gaps that allow outside air into your house — potentially driving up utility bills, Zielinski says. If your front door is slamming shut because of its weight, though, a heavy-duty door closer might solve the problem.


5. Letting dryer lint build up

There are about 2,900 clothes dryer fires a year, and they cause an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Letting lint build up can also increase energy bills because the dryer has to work harder with each spin cycle.

 Zielinski recommends cleaning your dryer’s lint trap before each run and cleaning the exhaust every 90 days. You can do these tasks relatively easily with a vacuum, but if your vent is clogged, it might be worth hiring a dryer exhaust technician to clean it for about $125 to $175, according to Angie’s List.


6. Forgetting to change furnace filters

“Your furnace won’t run as efficiently if you don’t change the filters,” says Zielinski, who recommends replacing furnace filters every 90 days. “A lot of programmable thermostats will remind you when it’s time to change your air filters,” he added.

 This is a task you can do yourself — just be sure to start by turning off the furnace and getting the right replacement. A filter with a plastic frame is reusable, but you have to clean it periodically with a vacuum and water and let it dry completely before reinserting it, Consumer Reports says.


7. Not changing batteries in smoke detectors

 Smoke detectors work only when they’re juiced up. Unfortunately, one in every five home fire deaths results from malfunctioning smoke alarms, the National Fire Protection Association reports. In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not sound, almost half (46 percent) of the devices had missing or disconnected batteries.

The moral: Replace or change your smoke detector batteries according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.


8. Leaving lights on

 Sure, it’s okay to leave a bathroom light on when you go to bed — and, for safety reasons, it’s good to keep a porch light on when you’re out of town. But, in general, it’s cost-effective to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

 To maximize your savings, consider buying energy-efficient lightbulbs. They cost more upfront but use a lot less energy and can significantly reduce your electricity costs in the long run.


9. Taking long, steamy showers

Long showers — showers lasting more than 10 minutes — can strip your skin of moisture, make you itchy and, of course, increase your water bill. And although they feel great, steamy showers can create mold and mildew. Aim for five-minute showers and avoid blasting the hot water.


10. Wearing shoes in the house

 Want to keep a clean home? Wearing dirty shoes in the house spreads dust, toxins and allergens. In fact, researchers at the University of Houston found that nearly 40 percent of soles carry Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, that nasty bacteria often spread in health-care facilities that can cause infections. Moreover, abrasive soles can scratch or scrape floors and turn your beautiful hardwood into a disaster zone.

 The solution is simple: Take off your shoes at the door.


article by Daniel Bortz / The Washington Post


Posted in List Articles
Jan. 17, 2018

Housing Prices are Not Heading For Another Crash

Housing Prices are NOT Heading for Another Crash


Are prices appreciating at the same rate that they were prior to the crash of 2006-2008? Let’s look at the numbers as reported by Freddie Mac:

Housing Prices are NOT Heading for Another Crash | Simplifying The Market

The levels of appreciation we have experienced over the last four years aren’t anywhere near the levels that were reached in the four years prior to last decade’s crash.

We must also realize that, to a degree, the current run-up in prices is the market trying to catch up after a crash that dramatically dropped prices for five years.

Bottom Line

Prices are appreciating at levels greater than historic norms. However, we are not at the levels that led to the housing bubble and bust.



March 31, 2017

Hilton Head Island Real Estate Market Reports

The Real Estate Local Market Reports are available! Please click on any of the links below to view the statistics. If you have any questions about the information in the reports, please let me know!  Or if you'd like a specific market analysis for your community, I can help!  Please let me know!

Monthly Indicators: http://bit.ly/2ogz0Ao
Monthly Inventory Supply: http://bit.ly/2nD0bTf
Mainland Report: http://bit.ly/2ooXDbu
Condos/Villas Report: http://bit.ly/2nS5II1
Hilton Head Homes: http://bit.ly/2nD6N3X

Feb. 24, 2017

10 Reasons to Get Rid of More Clutter

Is clearing clutter on your to-do list this year? Having trouble getting started? Sometimes finding the proper motivation is what finally gets us to take action on a goal — so to help, here are 10 good reasons to give clutter the boot, once and for all.

1. Enjoy more free time. A clutter-free abode makes it much easier to find what you need when you need it — meaning less time wasted looking for misplaced items. Having less stuff also makes your home quicker and easier to clean.

2. Spend less money. You’ll naturally spend less on things in general when you’re conscious about maintaining a clutter-free space — but you’ll also save by not spending on organizing tools and storage containers to house those extra items. You could even potentially spend less on your home if you decide you don’t need as much space once you’ve cleared the clutter!

3. Feel more calm. Just imagine coming home to a serene, welcoming space where everything you own fits comfortably, with room to spare. When we overstuff our home, we can feel more stress and anxiety. Why not clear some material goods and give yourself the gift of more peace and calm instead?

4. Always have something to wear. A stuffed closet and nothing to wear is a common “complaint” these days — but have you stopped to consider why? If your closet is packed with clothes that don’t make you feel and look your best, those clothes are simply getting in the way. A pared-back wardrobe filled only with favorites you love makes getting dressed in the morning easy.

5. Help others by donating to a good cause. Those old winter coats, cellphones, toys and even crafting supplies can be put to good use by nonprofits and charitable organizations helping people in need. Wouldn’t it feel good to know that, rather than taking up space in your closets or basement, your unused belongings were helping homeless families, veterans, the elderly or another group dear to your heart?

6. Get better sleep. Distractions can make it more challenging to fall asleep, so if you’ve been having trouble getting some quality shut-eye, clearing the clutter from your bedroom may help. Leave the worries of the day behind when you enter your clean, serene and clutter-free space to rest and destress.

7. Simplify your child’s life. Toys getting a bit out of control? Decluttering is a great way to refocus family life on creativity and imagination. When sorting through toys, consider whether the toy does more of the work or whether your child can use it in many ways. Simpler toys and materials encourage open-ended play and problem solving.

8. Get out the door quicker. Are mornings frantic at your house? Little things, like not being able to find your keys or a child’s backpack, can completely derail the morning. Clear the clutter and your morning routines will go more smoothly. Just imagine easily choosing clothes from your closet, making breakfast and lunches in a neat kitchen and selecting a coat and shoes from a clutter-free coat closet on your way out the door.

9. Make room for your car in the garage. Can’t fit your car in the garage? You’re not alone. The Department of Energy estimates that 25 percent of people who have two-car garages can’t fit a car inside because it’s too packed with stuff! Clear the clutter and finally get your vehicle inside, protecting it from weather damage and maybe even break-ins.

10. Sell your home for more. Thinking of putting your home on the market? Decluttering is one of the best ways to make it look its best, and it costs nothing! A clutter-free home looks cleaner, more spacious and more inviting, potentially helping boost the sale price, especially when paired with strategic staging.

Article provided by Houzz
Posted in Other
Jan. 13, 2017

5 Vows to Make Now to Sell Your Home in 2017

People vow to do all kinds of things—hit the gym, get more sleep, quit Froot Loops—and if you plan to sell your home this year, making a few promises matter here most of all. After all, selling your home for top dollar takes work and the right mindset to strike a deal.

To help make that happen, we put together a list of good habits all home sellers should start now so that you’re fully prepared once opportunity knocks.

Vow No. 1: Get realistic about how much your home is worth

It’s natural to think your home is priceless, or hope it’s worth at least more than when you bought it. As such, many sellers make the epic mistake of placing a pie-in-the-sky price on their home with the hopes that some buyer somewhere will bite. But the reality is, overpriced homes tend to languish on the market.

In addition to setting their asking price too high, sellers are often stubborn about lowering it. Or they get offended when a buyer makes an offer below what they’d hoped to get.

Stop seeing these as insults. Instead, see them as a sign that the way you see your home may not be the way others do. For a reality check, ask your Realtor® to show you comps on the recent sales prices of similar homes in your area. 

Vow No. 2: Keep clutter from creeping in

No one wants to buy your clutter, or try to determine what the house looks like without it. So it’s crucial that you toss, donate, gift, or recycle anything you don’t love or use. This is also true for those hidden areas like your closets and cabinets. Yes, buyers will (nosily) poke their heads in these areas—and seeing a pile of half-folded clothes is a definite downer.

But even if you purged the clutter, it has a way of slowly sneaking back in, so you should develop some habits to keep it at bay. For instance, rather than let your mail pile up, vow to deal with it every day. For any paper statements or bills you receive regularly, sign up for electronic versions or autopay to stem the wave of papers flooding your mailbox to a trickle.

Vow No. 3: Banish bad smells

A simple truth: Even beautiful, well-priced homes won’t sell if they smell rank. It can be as subtle as the presence of pets, bathroom mildew, or last night’s broiled carp. Scented candles and sprays can mask smells, but it’s best to root out the source.

If the problem is pet urine, there are sprays that break down these molecules. If that doesn’t work, toss the rug or replace that section of flooring. If the offender is food odors, vow to take out the garbage more often and air out the house after cooking.

If the smell of mildew pervades your bathrooms, install a fan to vent the room, and leave the doors to your bathrooms open to get more air. You can also get a dehumidifier. To keep mold from growing, indoor humidity should linger 30% to 60%. 

Vow No. 4: Keep your home show-ready 24/7

We know it’s hard to keep your place picture-perfect for buyers all the time, but it’s well worth the pain and suffering.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Keep a Swiffer handy to quickly wipe up dust and stains from wood floors.
  • Clean your windows—they not only sparkle but also let in more light.
  • Even if you don’t want to spring for yet another new coat of paint, at least wash off wall marks and smudges. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser does a great job of removing wall blemishes.
  • Also, in case some buyer wants to swing by,  like, right now since they’re in the neighborhood, develop a five-minute cleanup plan. Keep a basket nearby where you can swipe the contents of your kitchen counter or anything else you want to vanish quickly.


Vow No. 5: Keep your personal items and styles to a minimum

You know those things that make a house your home—family pictures, artwork from your kids, souvenirs from the family trip to Dollywood? Stick ’em in a drawer or safely stored box. We know your home won’t feel so homey, but this step is essential to getting someone else to see themselves in your home.

Article provided by Realtor.com
Posted in Other