How Can I Keep My House Cool In The Summer?


Summertime in Charleston, South Carolina can be a brutal time of the year when temperatures start climbing into the 90’s and don’t stop until they’ve peaked somewhere in the lower 100’s (and that’s not even taking humidity into account). These are the days you want your home to be a cool haven to come back to, yet not cost you a pocket full of money to keep habitable. If you’ve been wondering how can I keep my house cool in the summer, there are  a number of ways for you to cool off during the summer heatwaves by getting the absolute most out of your cooling system. These are tips on how you can chill out this summer and not spend a fortune.


Proper Maintenance

The first tip is to make sure you’ve performed the proper maintenance to your system. The coils on your air conditioner as well as the fins on the outside of the unit should be cleaned regularly to avoid any obstruction in the air flow. A soft-bristle nylon brush works well to remove debris from the fins along with a garden hose to wash away dirt or leaves that have gotten stuck to them. To clean the coils, you can even use the soft brush attachment from your vacuum to remove the dust, dirt, or any other substances and then wipe them with a damp, soft cloth.


Nonetheless, be  sure you have changed your filter before the temperature start climbing and you expect more out of your system. A clean filter puts less burden on your unit and provides you with better inside air quality. The filter should be checked at least once a month so your system is not forced to work harder which would increase your energy costs.


Proper insulation is essential to make sure the cool air stays inside your home. Windows should be caulked if they are showing any gaps that cool air could escape through and draft snakes under doors are also good ways to ensure cool air always stays inside.


Calling a professional HVAC operator is a great way to make sure your system is capable of handling the heat. Having a systems check is an excellent idea to ensure your unit doesn’t fail when you need it the most.


Keeping Cool without Spending More

Even if you have completed all the maintenance requirements for your air conditioner, the best way to keep cool without spending more is to adjust your thermostat. First, try to keep the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures as small as possible, as long as you remain comfortable. Keeping (as much as possible) this temperature similar to the heat increases outside will cause less stress on the system and make it more efficient to operate.


Nonetheless if you feel it’s definitely time to lower temps in your home; don’t drop down right away. It will not help the cooling process, and you will spend more as your air conditioner starts to work harder. Ceiling fans running in a counter-clockwise rotation will draw more cooling air up from the floor, and attic exhaust fans can push hot air into the attic where vents can force it outside.


Furthermore, there are smart Thermostats (like Nest) on the market that allow you to connect to them through a smartphone app (and your wifi) and fully automate your heating and air conditioning. These apps make it possible for you to control the temperature in your home from anywhere in the world. You can automate the temperature for when you leave for work and lower them before you head home to arrive in a comfortable setting. This feature allows you to truly save money by not running the air as much in an empty home when it’s pointless to have your system exerting that energy. If a smart Thermostat is not currently a viable option for you, you can also try leaving your AC on ‘Auto’ (cheaper and more efficient that ‘On’) as well as increase the temperature before you go to bed or leave for work when everyone is currently not at home. This is a great way to cut costs but also ensure your living conditions are still bearable nonetheless.


There are a number of ways to keep your cool this summer in Charleston without costing you a bundle.


If you’re looking to find the right energy efficient home in Charleston, let’s talk about what’s available today.

5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy a Home [INFOGRAPHIC]

5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy a Home [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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What’s the Median Home Value in Your State?

What’s the Median Home Value in Your State? | Simplifying The Market

If you’ve entered the real estate market as a buyer or a seller, you’ve inevitably heard the mantra “location, location, location” in reference to identical homes increasing or decreasing in value based on where they’re located.

In today’s housing market where home prices are appreciating quickly, it’s important to know that not every home appreciates at the same rate. The map below demonstrates that point on a state-by-state basis using data from the National Association of Realtors.

What’s the Median Home Value in Your State? | Simplifying The Market

Demand often dictates value, even for houses in the same area of the country! High demand for starter and trade-up homes have driven prices up in these categories by nearly 10% over the past year, while those in the premium markets have appreciated at closer to 6%.

Bottom Line

If you are debating whether or not to buy and/or sell a home this year, let’s get together to help you figure out exactly what’s going on in our market.

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Are You Wondering If You Can Buy Your First Home?

Are You Wondering If You Can Buy Your First Home? | Simplifying The Market

There are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they get married or start a family, some might think they are too young, and still, some others might think their current incomes would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

We want to share what the typical first-time homebuyer actually looks like based on the National Association of Realtors’ most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Here are some interesting revelations on the first-time buyer:

Are You Wondering If You Can Buy Your First Home? | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first homes. Let’s meet to determine if your dream home is within your grasp today.

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Top Tips For Buying a Home In Charleston In The Summer


Several reasons make summers ideal for house hunting, and among them is that it’s typically easier to do with children (on their summer break), plus the weather can be more accommodating. The time allows every member of the family to be present and duly approve of a potential home purchase. This may have left you wondering ,what are some top tips for buying a home in Charleston in the summer?


Charleston is a tech-industry hotbed, a top culinary destination, and has some of the friendliest neighborhoods in the United States. It is, therefore, no surprise that many people want a piece of the fun by moving to this amazing city.


Why people love Charleston

The climate in Charleston is favorable, with mild winters, a warm fall and favorable spring months. The summers may be a little hot, but you can easily beat them by embracing outdoor life as the locals do. You can catch a cool ocean breeze as you watch and interact with the friendly people, still enjoying the breeze no matter how humid or hot the summer days can become (which makes the weather all the more enjoyable).


The diverse community in Charleston makes the city a truly unique and hospitable place. It is a place that you can truly be proud of calling your home.


Tips on Buying a Home in Charleston in the Summer


  • Get a Feel of the Neighborhood

Before you can make the purchase, know how the neighborhood is like, and consider bringing your family along. A good scouting of the area will reveal some good parks and social clubs that you and the family may like.


Talk to the neighbors, and pay attention to their perspective regarding the area. Read local notice boards and banners to know more about the neighborhood or to even understand what’s going on in other parts of Charleston (if you find yourself at a local coffee shop or checking out the local library, the Charleston area even has some of the busiest libraries in the entire state of South Carolina).


  • Consider your Budget

Overstretching financially is one of the easiest ways to have sleepless nights. Be sure to never buy a house in haste, but rather talk to your bank or other financial institutions about your options, and the amount you can borrow. Seek advice from other homeowners that had to borrow to own a home, and then move on from there.


  • Think about Other Associated Costs

Before you can close the deal and exchange handshakes, be absolutely sure to think beyond just the price of the house. The running expenses vary depending on the efficiency of the property. There are heating bills, insurance, rates, and other possibly additional construction you may require that will add up to the total cost overall.


  • Practice your Negotiation Skills

Never be afraid of making a counter offer as it is common in the market. You may get surprised and even make savings in the process, when the buyer finally decides to go down on their original price.


  • Property Appreciation

The numbers may not be your thing, but it is always best to check the appreciation rate in the area that the property is in and determine whether you are getting a great or possibly raw deal. You may not be planning to sell the property, but you never know what may happen in the future. A good rate of appreciation may be a source of windfall, sometime in the future.


  • Builder and Realtor Reputation

If you are buying a new house in the Charleston area, be sure to check on the reputation of the builder to determine if you are getting quality. How many projects does the builder have under his belt? Are there unresolved litigation and what do other people have to say about them?


Final Word

Raising the necessary amount to buy a home in Charleston may be easier than finding the ideal house. Don’t rush to close the deal, but carefully weigh your options. Just like a great project requires a good plan, sit down and list your needs, and together with the above tips, you may find your ideal house in one of the best Southern cities!


If you’re looking to buy a home in Charleston this summer, let’s talk today!

You DO NOT Need 20% Down to Buy Your Home NOW!

You DO NOT Need 20% Down to Buy Your Home NOW! | Simplifying The Market

The Aspiring Home Buyers Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The results of the survey show that the main reason why non-homeowners do not own their own homes is because they believe that they cannot afford them.

This brings us to two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

A recent survey by Laurel Road, the National Online Lender and FDIC-Insured Bank, revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan.

According to the survey, 53% of Americans who plan to buy or have already bought a home admit to their concerns about their ability to afford a home in the current market. In addition, 46% are currently unfamiliar with alternative down payment options, and 46% of millennials do not feel confident that they could currently afford a 20% down payment.

What these people don’t realize, however, is that there are many loans written with down payments of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO®Scores

An Ipsos survey revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores for approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in May had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with an average score of 676. The average across all loans closed in May was 724. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in May.

You DO NOT Need 20% Down to Buy Your Home NOW! | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but you are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, let’s sit down to help you understand your true options today.

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4 Reasons to Sell This Summer [INFOGRAPHIC]

4 Reasons to Sell This Summer [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying The Market

Some Highlights:

  • Buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale which means that buyers are often competing with one another for the few listings that are available!
  • Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed to sustain a normal housing market.
  • Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

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Homes are More Affordable in 44 out of 50 States

Homes are More Affordable in 44 out of 50 States | Simplifying The Market

With both home prices and mortgage rates increasing this year, many are concerned about a family’s ability to purchase a major part of the American Dream – its own home. However, if we compare housing affordability today to the average affordability prior to the housing boom and bust, we are in much better shape than most believe.

In Black Knight’s latest monthly Mortgage Monitor, they revealed that in the vast majority of the country, it is actually more affordable to purchase a home today than it was between 1995 to 2003 when looking at mortgage payments (determined by price and interest rate) as compared to incomes. Home prices are up compared to 1995-2003, but mortgage rates are still much lower now than at that time. Today, they stand at about 4.5%. Here are the average mortgage rates for each of the years mentioned:

  • 1995 – 7.93%
  • 1996 – 7.81%
  • 1997 – 7.6%
  • 1998 – 6.94%
  • 1999 – 7.44%
  • 2000 – 8.05%
  • 2001 – 6.97%
  • 2002 – 6.54%
  • 2003 – 5.83%

On the other hand, wages have risen over the last twenty years.

Black Knight’s research revealed that, when comparing “the share of median income required to buy the median-priced home” today, to the average between 1995 to 2003, it is currently more affordable to purchase a home in 44 of 50 states.

Here is a state map of the percentage change in the price-to-payment ratio. Positive numbers indicate that it is less affordable to buy while negative numbers indicate that it is more affordable.

Homes are More Affordable in 44 out of 50 States | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Whether you are moving up to the home of your dreams or purchasing your first house, it is a great time to buy when looking at historic affordability data.

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3 Issues Facing Today’s Real Estate Market

3 Issues Facing Today’s Real Estate Market | Simplifying The Market

Last week, the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) held their 52nd Annual Journalism Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Among the many highly anticipated sessions was one called “Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate™,” given by Joseph Nahas, Jr., Chair of the Counselors of Real Estate & Senior Vice President of Equus Capital Partners. 

The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) “is an international organization of high profile property professionals which include principals of prominent real estate, financial, legal, and accounting firms as well as recognized leaders of government and academia.” 

Their annual “top 10” list spans any and all issues that could have an impact on the real estate market. This year, the list was broken up into “Current” and “Long-Term Issues.”

Today we’re going to focus on three of the five “Current” issues with a brief explanation of their impacts on the housing market today!

E-Commerce & Logistics

With promises of 2-day shipping no matter where you live, we are benefiting more now than ever before from the speed and ease-of-use of online retailers like Amazon. These e-retailers haven’t changed whether or not we buy certain items, but rather HOW we buy them!

Many traditional malls or big-box stores are being repurposed as warehouses or distribution centers for online retailers so that they can get their products out faster.

A Look to the Future: “Developers who are including experiences into their locations are the ones who will succeed. It’s about the experience and gaining something over just going to buy a product.”

Generational Change & Demographics

By now we’ve all heard that the millennial generation is the largest yet, just by sheer volume. The largest group of millennials turns 30 years-old in 2020. The average first-time homebuying age is between 30 and 32, depending on marital status. Real estate professionals will be inundated with more and more buyers as the years roll on. Nahas commented on this in his presentation, saying that,

“Too many developers have become dependent on making decisions based on baby boomer’s preferences.

The 75 million millennials are coming, and they will influence real estate and commerce even faster than the baby boomers in the 50s and 60s.”

Interest Rates & the Economy

The interest rate that you secure for your mortgage is a big factor in your monthly housing cost and in how much you ultimately pay for your home. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates rose to 4.62% on a 30-year fixed rate loan last week.

The Federal Reserve also raised the federal funds rate for the second time this year. If unemployment continues to be at or near record lows, two more hikes are likely to come later this year.

Nahas added,

“Rising rates can be good and bad for the economy. Bad for borrowing money with additional costs, but good to control inflation and help grow the economy at a moderate pace.”

Bottom Line

If you are planning on buying and/or selling a home this year, let’s get together to help you navigate the conditions in your market and set you up for success.

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How To Handle Buying A Home In Charleston From Out Of State?

House hunting is as exciting as it is strenuous. You have to make a lot of considerations based on various factors such as price, location, maintenance among others. The situation worsens when you want to purchase a house outside your local area, for instance, in another state. It can be a scary process at first bearing in mind that you may not be familiar with the new area, its real estate agents or even neighborhoods. Despite these challenges, buying a home in Charleston from out of state be a seamless process, especially if you adhere to the following tips.


  • Have Specific and Realistic Goals

When shopping for a home, keep in mind that the market will have a wide array of options. Since you are not looking for just any house, try to narrow down the list by coming up with the specific features you would want your new house to possess. Some of these aspects include the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, or the type of kitchen, etc. Having a self-customized list of what you want will also assist your buyer’s agent in identifying the ideal home on your behalf.


  • Have You Tried Web Searches?

If you’re want to purchase a house outside your state, the most obvious way to commence your search is via the Internet (and we’re more than happy you found us here!). Be sure to take advantage of online home listings to view the different homes on sale. You can even filter the specific location or neighborhood. Even so, online listings will allow you to interact with or contact real estate agents who are well conversant with the housing space/market in that area. The beauty of dealing with local agents is that you can get to know when new homes are up for sale or possibly get informed about pocket listings.


  • Take a Trip to Charleston

Regardless of your reasons to buy a house in another state, it is imperative that you take a trip here even for just a few days. Take a weekend off with a friend or family member to familiarize yourself with your soon-to-be local area. Use the opportunity to meet with a real estate agent who you may have bonded with earlier via the Internet. They might be able to take you around to see some open houses in a bid to get a feel of the neighborhood.


  • Seek Referrals

In case you have family members, relatives or friends in the other area, you can seek their assistance in spotting ideal neighborhoods that meet your needs.  While on your visit to the other state, you can stay with your friend or relative as they show you around the city. What’s more, they can connect you to buyer’s agents who may have helped them or people they know get or buy a great home in the area.


  • Research about the Cost

Before making any offer (link), make sure that you assess all the potential costs associated with purchasing a home. Some of these expenses include insurance costs, replacing and repairing costs or even the cost of upgrading certain aspects of the house such as the bathroom or kitchen. Also, you may want to ensure that you meet all the requirements for mortgage financing. In this case, be sure to prepare all the vital paperwork and research about the homeowner’s insurance costs through calling several insurance companies.


Overall, Charleston is a great area and has some beautiful real estate. Be sure to use the above tips to rid of your long-distance home-buying jitters. Also, try to focus on the positive side of the entire exercise including the chance to meet new people, gain new experiences or even the opportunity of owning your dream house in a new neighborhood in one of the top cities in the United States.


If you’re considering buying in Charleston, let’s talk today!.