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!
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.
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!
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
— 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.
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.
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.
7. Not changing batteries in smoke detectors
10. Wearing shoes in the house