How Do You Winterize A House In Charleston?

 

How-Do-You-Winterize-A-House-In-Charleston?

Snow and freezing temperatures in Charleston? They may not occur year round in the Holy City (nor is it the image that first comes to mind when you consider Charleston), but this is a topic numerous homeowners need to be aware of; especially due to the recent events of Snowmageddon. When winter strikes, if you are not prepared damages to your home can be possible. However, this can be avoided if the right measures are put in place early in advance. It is far much easier and cheaper to implement preventive measures than dealing with losses after winter arrives and you’re unprepared.

 

So, what are some of the best ways in which you can prep your Charleston home for winter spells?

 

Clean The Gutters

If trees surround your Charleston house, the gutters are likely to trap leaves. With such accumulation, the gutters may not perform their stipulated task optimally. When winter hits, can be highly underrated because typically people only think about them when it’s raining. It is therefore essential to ensure that the gutters are cleaned up before winter. That way, it will be easier to drain water, which would otherwise compromise the nature of your Charleston house.

 

Replace or Repair Shingles

When it comes to keeping moisture and ice accumulation away, shingles play a significant role. In this regard, it is highly recommended that you trace shingles that are faulty and repair them. If there are shingles that are beyond repair, then it would be ideal to replace them. If possible, seek the assistance of a professional repair man just to make sure that the entire roofing is in perfect shape during winter.

 

Turn Off Exterior Faucets

In an instance where pipes get too icy and cold, bursting is the aftermath. What does this mean? It simply says that you would rather keep the exterior faucets turned off. If possible, make sure that the taps are drained entirely so that there will be no traces of water. Needless to say, if the pipes burst, there might emanate severe damages on your house. Not only can metal pipes burst, even plastic plastic pipes and plumbing can crack due to the freezing temperatures and water flow (like a water inlet valve in your washing machine that’s located on your back porch/patio). While you likely already know to keep your internal pipes (faucets) leaking water during colder temperatures outside, be sure to shut off the water to all external faucets outside if this is not already done.

 

Reverse Fan Blades

What most people do not know is the ceiling fans could be of much help during winter. Most people do not even think of fans as useful in cold weather. By pressing the reverse button on the fan, rising heat is directed back to the house. Doing so reduces the chances of damages that may occur due to lower temperatures in the house.

 

Repair Room Heaters

There is no doubt that room heaters can save the day during winter. When winter approaches, make sure that the room heaters are in perfect condition and that they work efficiently. One thing for sure is that room heaters can be messy when faulty. Considering that said heater will be in use for at least a month or two, it is advisable to keep the heaters in perfect operation to avoid prospective damages.

 

Divert Water

If your house gutters are set in such a way that water lands on the foundation, then you are likely to jeopardize the condition of your Charleston house during winter. You will realize that as temperatures go down, water turns into ice and this may potentially damage your house. It is therefore vital to divert water away from the house as this will keep the foundation from extreme wetness. This is also on top of any possibly freezes or snow that lead to bigger problems than you realize. You simply think the snow or ice might look beautiful but once it melts; if you are not smart that water can lead to damages.

 

Conclusion

Your Charleston house is worth every dime you invested into it. Keeping it safe during winter is, therefore, a good priority to look into. By implementing effective measures in advance, you will have gone a long way in mitigating potential damages on your house during this season.

 

If you’re considering buying or selling, let’s talk about what you should be looking for.

Study Shows “Millennials Deserve More Credit”

Study Shows "Millennials Deserve More Credit" | Simplifying The Market

When it comes to talking about millennials, there are many stereotypes out there that have influenced the way the public feels about the generation. Whether it’s the assumption that millennials are irresponsible with money and would rather buy avocado toast than save for a down payment, or that millennials jump from job to job, the majority of these stereotypes paint the generation in a negative light.

A new study by Bank of America entitled Better Money Habits Millennial Report recently came to the defense of the generation when it reported that:

“Millennials deserve more credit – both from themselves and from others – for their mindfulness when it comes to money and their lives.”

Here are some key takeaways from the study proving that millennials deserve more credit for what they are already doing:

  • 63% are saving – (47% have $15,000 or more in savings)
  • 54% are budgeting – (73% who have a budget stick to it every month)
  • 57% have a savings goal – (67% who have a goal stick to it every month)
  • 46% have asked for a raise in the past 2 years – (80% who asked for a raise got one)
  • 59% feel financially secure – (16% have $100,000 or more in savings)

Many have wondered if millennials even want to own their own homes or if they would choose to rent instead. Well, not only do they want to own their own homes, but many already do and are looking to trade up! A recent study by realtor.com shows that 49% of Americans who plan to sell their home in the next 12 months are millennials!

Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s Chief Economist, gave some insight into why millennials are looking to sell,

“The housing shortage forced many first-time homebuyers to consider smaller homes and condos as a way to literally get their foot in the door. Our survey data reveals that we may see more of these homes hitting the market in the next year.”

Bottom Line

Not every millennial fits into the stereotypes that are so prominent in our society. Those who have risen above the stereotype are ready and willing to buy a home of their own, and many others already have!

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2 Major Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

2 Major Myths Holding Back Home Buyers | Simplifying The Market

Urban Institute recently released a report entitled, “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership,” which revealed that eighty percent of consumers either are unaware of how much lenders require for a down payment or believe all lenders require a down payment above 5 percent.”

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Buyers often overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the same report:

Consumers are often unaware of the option to take out low-down-payment mortgages. Only 19% of consumers believe lenders would make loans with a down payment of 5% or less… While 15% believe lenders require a 20% down payment, and 30% believe lenders expect a 20% down payment.”

These numbers do not differ much between non-owners and homeowners; 39% of non-owners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment and 30% of homeowners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment.

While many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, they do not realize that programs are available that allow them to put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”

Similar to the down payment, many either don’t know or are misinformed about what FICO® score is necessary to qualify.

Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.

2 Major Myths Holding Back Home Buyers | Simplifying The Market

As you can see in the chart above, 53.5% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

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U.S. Housing Inventory Crunch Continues… List Your House Today!

U.S. Housing Inventory Crunch Continues… List Your House Today! | Simplifying The Market

Every winter, families across the country decide if this will be the year that they sell their current houses and move into their dream homes.

Mortgage rates hovered around 4% for all of 2017 which forced many buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!

At the same time, however, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Trulia reported that “in Q4 2017, U.S. home inventory decreased by 10.5%. That is the biggest drop we’ve seen since Q2 2013.”

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

U.S. Housing Inventory Crunch Continues… List Your House Today! | Simplifying The Market

The largest drop in inventory was in the starter home category which saw a 19% dip in listings.

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2018, now may be the perfect time.

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5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy [INFOGRAPHIC]

5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • “The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.”
  • The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%.
  • Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day when they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they’d like, or renovate an outdated part of their living space.

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If You’re Considering Selling, ACT NOW!!

If You’re Considering Selling, ACT NOW!! | Simplifying The Market

Definitely an aggressive headline. However, as the final data on the 2017 housing market rolls in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME!

How did we finish 2017?

  1. New-home sales were at their highest level in a decade.
  2. Sales of previously owned homes were at their highest level in more than a decade.
  3. Starts of single-family homes were their strongest in a decade and applications to build such properties advanced to the fastest pace since August 2007.

And Bloomberg Business just reported:

“America’s housing market is gearing up for a robust year ahead. Builders are more optimistic, demand is strong and lean inventory is keeping prices elevated.”

And the National Association of Realtors revealed that buyer traffic is stronger this winter than it was during the spring buying season last year.

The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a four-month supply of inventory. This represents a decrease in supply of 9.7% from the same time last year.

Bottom Line

With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Let’s get together to see whether that is the case in your neighborhood.

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What Are The Best Home Staging Tricks For Selling A Home?

What-Are-The-Best-Home-Staging-Tricks-For-Selling-A-Home?

When selling a home, one of the key parts of a successful sale is making a good first impression. The first thing a buyer sees often stays with them and guides their purchasing decisions. When selling a home proper staging creates a good first impression in buyers and starts the sale from a positive position. Here are seven home staging tips to keep in mind.  

 

Seven Home Staging Tips

 

1. Do Not Ignore The Exterior: the exterior of your home is part of it and needs staging as much as any room inside the home. Your home’s exterior is likely the first thing a potential buyer sees so it is vital that it sets a positive tone. Consider having the landscaping redone, clean all pathways to the home, power wash the exterior, and touch up or repaint any exterior blemishes. Also, do not overlook the little things such as an inviting welcome mat.   

 

2. Reduce Clutter: A fact of modern life is you tend to collect possessions the longer you live in a single place. When staging your home, be sure to reduce as much clutter as possible. Anything that is not essential to daily living should be stored. This creates a neater home and gives an impression of more space. Homes with smaller rooms especially benefit from clutter reduction.   

 

3. Remove The Drapes: By removing drapes you not only show more of your home’s interior design but you also increase the amount of light in a room. Increased light makes a home feel larger, brighter, and less deary.

 

4. Consider Repainting The Interior: A fresh coat of paint can help with the overall staging process, especially if you are going for a specific style or look. In the general sense neutral colors are advisable as they don’t clash, come across as loud, or as too weak. Even if completely repainting your home is unnecessary, be sure to consider touch ups as paint fades over time even in well-maintained homes.

 

5. Hire A Professional Cleaner: Always have a home professionally cleaned before staging it. The carpets should be deep cleaned and any wood floors refinished as needed. Your home needs to be immaculate and professional cleaning is part of the overall staging process.    

 

6. Remove Personal Items: When staging a home you want potential buyers to imagine the home as their own. Part of achieving this is making them forget somebody already lives there. You can do this by removing family photos, keepsakes, and use a more neutral layout in rooms that have a particular theme such as a game room.

 

7. You Do Not Need To Stage The Entire House: Lastly, if you are already in process of moving out (or have already done so) remember that only certain rooms need staging. These are the most important rooms in the home and include the dining room, living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and master bathroom.

 

Final Thoughts

By using proper staging techniques, a home is far more likely to sell. As the above shows, there are a lot of different considerations when staging your home. There is an ‘art’ to successful home staging and expert advisers can help you succeed. By hiring an experienced realtor you gain someone who can provide expert advice and assistance in properly staging your home.

 

If You’re Looking To Learn How Much Your Home May Be Worth, Get Your Free Home Evaluation Here.

What Is There To Love About Sullivan’s Island And Mount Pleasant?

What-Is-There-To-Love-About-Sullivan's-Island-And-Mount-Pleasant?

Whether you live here or visit, no Charleston experience is complete without a trip to Mount Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island. Both represent the early history of the area and many of the early residences and plantations are still intact. Both places provide a glimpse into the history of the area from architecture to food.

 

Mount Pleasant

  • Discover the history. As one of the nation’s oldest cities, you’ll find plenty of places to experience the earliest days of this country. Boone Hall Plantation and Garden, lined with oak trees covered in Spanish moss, gives you a chance to see a working plantation with authentic gardens. If you go there in November, you can watch the 1862 Battle of Secessionville reenacted.
  • Patriots Point Maritime Museum displays warships and planes, along with exhibits that include the Cold War Submarine Memorial and the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum.
  • Explore the neighborhoods. The Old Village Historic District consists of a 37-block area that’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The homes on the bluffs represent the most affluent, while small homes are sprinkled in between the homes that line the streets. The wooden electrical and cable poles show how electricity originally made its way into the community.
  • Festivals. Come in the spring for the Mount Pleasant Arts Festival or the Blessing of the Fleet, which celebrates the shrimp industry with shrimp eating contests, live music and a parade. The Arts Festival offers plenty of food, fun and exhibits.
  • The Mount Pleasant Holiday Extravaganza starts with a parade and ends with a holiday-oriented farmer’s market laden with arts, crafts and food
  • Enjoy the outdoors. Mount Pleasant boasts six golf courses that enjoy year-round play, four of which are public play. Take the family dolphin watching or try your hand at offshore fishing on a charter boat!
  • Walking and cycling trails give you a chance to see the lush coastal pines and swampy wetlands. There’s no shortage of local parks that have water activities for a warm summer day and shaded picnic shelters.
  • Have a bite to eat. Try Graze, Crave, or Pages Okra Grill for dependably delicious food. If you want to taste Lowcountry food, go to Gullah Cuisine Lowcountry Restaurant and Coleman Public House. Lowcountry cooking features seafood and rice combined in classics like gumbo, boils, and beans and rice. If Sushi and tacos are more you’re thing, you can expect great service and impeccable prices at Local’s. Go there on a Monday for happy hour, and you’ll love their half off Sushi (all night). You’ll walk away with a great experience, a full belly, and a wallet that won’t be emptied out.
  • The Mount Pleasant Library is one of the busiest libraries in the entire state of South Carolina. Whether seeking a place to take your kids to read, a quiet place with wifi to get work done, or seeking community events; it’s a great place to check out.

 

Sullivan’s Island

  • Historical locations. The Edgar Allen Poe Library may be small, but for Poe and literary aficionados, it’s definitely worth the visit to see where Mr. Poe wrote The Raven. It’s on the way to Fort Moultrie, the only national park in the U.S. that showcases the complete history of the American seacoast defense. It also contains one of the only continental U.S. military installations that had air conditioning during World War 2. 
  • Outdoor adventures galore. How about learning to kiteboard? It’s a sport  enjoyed by locals that combines every aspect of water skiing, surfing, skateboarding, paragliding and sailing. For the less adventuresome, try Sullivan Island’s Beach that sits on the Atlantic with broad, sandy beaches and will be much less busy than Folly Beach.
  • Go for a walk. Sullivan’s Island is small enough to walk the neighborhoods to view some of the most luxurious homes in the Charleston  region. You might catch a view of the Eye of the Storm house, world-renowned for its hurricane-proof, monolithic design. Others showcase the architectural styles in this region, from colonial to Queen Anne to Greek and Gothic Revival.
  • Stop to eat. In spite of its size and residential character, you’ll find ample restaurants to enjoy meal. The Obstinate Daughter, Sullivan’s Restaurant and Fiery Ron’s Home Team Barbecue (they have amazing wings) have earned high ratings and each offers vegetarian and gluten-free options.

 

If You’re Considering Buying, Let’s Talk About What’s Available In Mount Pleasant And Sullivan’s Island Today.

Gap Between Homeowners & Appraisers Narrows to Lowest Mark in 2 Years

Gap Between Homeowners & Appraisers Narrows to Lowest Mark in 2 Years | Simplifying The Market

In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. Many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 4% or more over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

When prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that recently closed) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Every month in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth and what an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home is.

In the latest release, the disparity was the narrowest it has been in over two years, as the gap between appraisers and homeowners was only -0.5%. This is important for homeowners to note as even a .5% difference in appraisal can mean thousands of dollars that a buyer or seller would have to come up with at closing (depending on the price of the home)

The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last two years.

Gap Between Homeowners & Appraisers Narrows to Lowest Mark in 2 Years | Simplifying The Market

Bill Banfield, Executive VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges homeowners to find out how their local markets have been impacted by supply and demand:

“Appraisers and real estate professionals evaluate their local housing markets daily. Homeowners, on the other hand, may only think about their housing market when they see ‘for sale’ signs hit front yards in the spring or when they think about accessing their equity.”

“With several years of growth, owners may have more equity than they realize. Many consumers use the tax season at the beginning of the year to reevaluate their entire financial life. It also provides a good opportunity for them to consider how best to take advantage of their equity while mortgage interest rates and borrowing costs are still near record lows.”

Bottom Line 

Every house on the market must be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. If you are planning on entering the housing market this year, let’s get together to discuss this and any other obstacles that may arise.

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Why You Need a Professional on Your Team When Buying a Home

Why You Need a Professional on Your Team When Buying a Home | Simplifying The Market

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream homes or if they should first try to go through the buying process on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide If You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with landmines; you need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and is ready for you to move into can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in order to secure your dream home. 

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating his or her commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal. 

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

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