Dec. 12, 2018

7 Easy Ways to Make Your Home Look "Expensive."

Whether you're getting ready to sell your home, or you just want to give it a little "lift," these tricks by home stagers can help your place look well put together.


Tall Curtains

Full-length curtains are a great way to make your room look bigger than it actually is. If you mount your curtains at the ceiling level, your eyes will be drawn upwards and they add another layer of framing to the windows. As a general rule, your curtains need to be touching the floor - else they will look cheap and incomplete.



Large Area Rugs

According to Cheryl Eisen, a New York-based home stager, “The bigger the area rug, the bigger the home will feel.” Adding a large area rug to a room, adds layers of color and framing to help make the room feel more dynamic and elegant. Make sure that you have a rug large enough to hold all of your furniture. And typically - the more traditional styles of rugs really make a room seem more expensive and exotic.


Crown Molding/ Trim

A deep crown molding can add architecture to a room that has little, and it draws the eye upward in much the same way curtains hung at ceiling height do. It can make your room look larger than it actually is while adding elegance.



Custom Pillows

Hit up your local fabric store, where you can often find beautiful scraps for a discount—usually 60% to 90% off what it would cost if you purchased yardage off a bolt on the floor. Then find a tailor on Craigslist—it is estimated that you can expect to pay $10 to $20 per pillow, depending on the size.

Large Art
Resist the urge to hit up Bed Bath & Beyond for an anonymous beachscape, though—experts agree that the best art has personal significance. Check out secondhand shops and estate sales for pieces with a backstory. If you're on a budget, get creative and do it yourself (all you need is a giant canvas from an art supply store and the medium of your choice).


Second-hand heirloom-quality pieces

The inlaid wood of an old dresser, the unique shape of a vintage chandelier, and the patina on an antique metal cabinet are unmistakably beautiful, timeless, and often never confused with something picked up at chain-store. These pieces can be repainted, have the knobs replaced, and really help you define a room.






Staging Your Home on a Budget: Tips To Make Buyers Fall In Love


Dec. 5, 2018

Staging Your Home on a Budget: Tips To Make Buyers Fall In Love

Staging Really Does Help. A Lot.

Don't take our word for it, take a look at these figures from a recent survey by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS:

77% of buyers' agents said staging makes it easier for their buyer to visualize the property as their future home. It's like helping the buyer dream it so they can achieve it...and so you and your agent can make the sale.

39% of sellers' agents said staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time a house is on the market. For you, time saved could mean moving into your new house even sooner.

21% of sellers' agents said staging a home increases its dollar value between 6% and 10%.  Simply put, that may lead to more money in your pocket.

Budget Accordingly

Staging costs vary depending on where you live and how many rooms you're staging. On average, home sellers pay between $302 and $1,358 for staging, according to If your house is empty because you've already moved, you might also have additional expenses for renting furniture and other homey decorations to make it look lived-in.

Many stagers offer consultations for as low as $150. If you're on a tight budget, using the advice you learn during the consultation to try DIY staging may be your best option. Listen for tips on how to use the furniture and decor you already have to show off your home's best assets.

First Up: Declutter

Buyers do not want to walk into a messy house. Nobody does.

Take time to clean and declutter your home. Organize everyday household items into crates and keep them out of sight. Stow away seasonal decorations. Make time for, or invest in, a whole-house cleaning, including carpet shampooing. Change light bulbs, make all those minor repairs that have been on your "to do" list, and add a fresh coat of paint to any room that needs it.

Also, remove most personal items from view, such as an abundance of family photos, artwork, or religious keepsakes. The concern is not that home buyers will be offended by you or your lifestyle. but rather, the goal is to neutralize the space and help home buyers imagine themselves living there. (Don't go overboard though. You want the home to feel warm and liveable...not sterile.) 

Focus On the Rooms That Count the Most

You don't have to stage your whole house to make a worthwhile impact.

Staging the rooms where people tend to spend the most time usually makes the biggest impression on buyers. Start with the living room/family rooms, followed by the kitchen and the master bedroom.

Keep in mind that you're not going for an HGTV-worthy overhaul: Small touches like putting fluffy towels in the bathroom or replacing shabby throw pillows in the family room can make your home look and feel more attractive.

Stage Your Yard Too

Your house has to look its best...inside and outside. After all, buyers form their first impression when they pull up in front of your home. Curb appeal can increase your home's sales value up to 17%.

Consider having your home professionally landscaped if your budget allows. Landscaped homes have a sales price advantage ranging from 5.5% to 12.7%, according to research. That would mean an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home. 

If professional landscaping is out of your budget, start with these DIY improvements:

Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery. Even if it's winter, you can add colorful winter blooms and seasonal touches such as garland or lights.

Mow the grass.

Reseed bare patches of lawn and add fresh sod if needed.

Lay fresh mulch.

Then move on to these easy upgrades to your home's exterior:

Wash the front windows.

Power wash siding and walkways.

Repaint or stain porches and stairs, as needed.

Make sure house numbers are easy to see, visible, and pretty. 

Make sure important outdoor features such as the front door, porch, and sidewalks and paths are well lit. (If not, install new fixtures or lighting.)

Install a new mailbox if yours looks tired.

First impressions do matter...and just wait until they come inside and see what else you've done with the place!

For more information on Home Improvement tips, check out  5 Remodeling "Splurges" That Make Life Sweeter...and Easier.

Nov. 28, 2018

Single Women are Much More Interested in Home Ownership Than Their Male Counterparts

If there is such a thing as a battle of the sexes for home ownership, women are winning. 

Single women are one of the fastest growing segments in the home buying segment. 

According to Bank of America's latest homebuyer insight report, single women value homeownership at a rate of 73 percent to 65 percent of single males. They also place a higher priority on saving for a downpayment...65 percent to 55 percents.  And they prioritize improving their credit score more than their male counterparts at a rate of 49 percent to 42 percent. 

"It's exciting to see single women embrace their tremendous buying power," Bank of America's head of consumer lending, Steve Boland, said in a statement. "They're interested in buying homes now more than ever before and are taking solid steps to prepare for the financial responsibility homeownership entails."

What, if anything, is holding them back?

While single women are confident in themselves and their abilities, many of them are still having a rough time saving for a down payment. Nearly 50% of single women surveyed who are interested in homeownership haven't yet taken the leap because they don't feel like they have saved enough money.  Not feeling like they have enough money put away is likely tied to the fact that they are also more likely to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of single ownership...40 percent to 30 percent of single males.

Another reason they haven't taken the leap? High prices. In a survey by ValueInsured, respondents blamed flippers and speculators for the exorbitantly high housing prices in their areas...along with "wealthy transplants" moving into their areas to avoid the high housing prices in their former locations.

Whatever the reason, nearly 60 percent indicated that they are now planning to wait until "a meaningful correction" takes place in their market's home prices.



Nov. 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Beer Pairings


Forego the wine this year and pair your Thanksgiving with some craft beer instead! Check out the tips below to help find the right one for your Traditional Thanksgiving courses.

Nov. 5, 2018

5 Remodeling "Splurges" That Make Life Sweeter...and Easier.

Of course, you want to think that your remodeling projects will pay off when you sell. But there's also value in things that just make your home life sweeter, easier, and more efficient! Think about that as well while you're making your choices!

Here are some remodeling "splurges" that could be great for your life now and also appeal to buyers in the future!

1. Steam Shower

What: A sealed shower attached to a steam generator that turns the stall into a steam room. You can build a steam shower from scratch or buy a prefab fiberglass unit.

Why: Steam relaxes, opens sinuses, soothes muscles, and cleans pores. Installing a steam shower is a major project that includes wiring for the generator; vapor-proofing walls, floors, and ceiling; installing a tightly-fitting door; and having a bathroom fan outside the shower to suck up the extra humidity.

Tip: A sloped ceiling in the shower room ensures that condensation runs off.

How much: Starting around $2,600

2. Heated Bathroom Floors


Thin, thermostatically-controlled electric radiant mats that install under tile.


No more cold feet when stepping out of the shower in the morning. Many systems come with timers so warm bathroom floors await you each morning.


Heated floors help stem mold growth in humid places.

How much:

$6-$16/sq. ft. for materials or at least $870 installed (not counting cost of tile or adding 20-amp GFCI dedicated circuit starting at about $125)

3. Skylights


Upscale models feature insulated glass, solar-powered shades, and rain sensors that’ll automatically close an open skylight in bad weather.


Avoid dark, dreary room syndrome in areas you can’t brighten with windows — hallways, interior rooms, even closets Skylights save you money on heating, cooling, and lighting bills.


If you plan to open and close skylights, order screens to keep out bugs and roof debris.

How much:

$500-$3,500 (depending on size, glazing, and complexity) installed

4. Towel-Warming Drawer


A stainless steel, heated drawer that slips into cabinetry, plugs into an outlet, and warms towels.


Because there’s nothing more snuggly than wrapping a warm towel around you after a bath or shower.


Towels take time to heat up — some people say as much as 45 minutes — so you’ll have to plan ahead to have a toasty one ready when you are.

How much:


5. Central Vac (aka Whole-House Vacuum)


A super-suction, built-in vacuum system that features convenient inlet ports throughout the house where you plug in 25-to-50-foot lightweight vacuum hoses. The collection bin is usually located in a basement or garage.


No more dragging heavy vacuum cleaners up and down stairs and throughout the house. With central vacs all you need to schlepp is a lightweight hose fitted with a power brush.

Central vacs have up to five times the suction power of portable vacuums, and they store dust far away from where it’s collected — great for allergy sufferers. Some high-tech systems have retractable hoses that disappear into the wall.


Make sure you have enough ports — at least one for every 500 sq. ft.

How much:

$1,200-$3,000 to retrofit a house; add about $150 for retractable hose.

Nov. 1, 2018

A Millennials Guide To Passive Income with Investment Properties.

The Best Types of Cities for Investing in an Investment Property

Real estate has made many of the world’s wealthy people, so there’s no question that good investment properties can net a huge payoff down the road. Put your money to work for you.

When you’re young and only have a little to invest, it can get hectic trying to figure out where’s the best place to keep your money.

Typically the safe bet you want is a balance of security and a reliable return on your initial investments – you’re looking to build a foundation.


But like any investment, it's better to arm yourself with as much information as you can before diving in with your hard earned money.

Avoiding "It" Cities.
You already know the drill, if its mainstream, you missed the come-up. Cities that are “hot” right now such as Austin, Portland, Brooklyn are great places to live. People are moving to them in droves, and if they aren’t already moving there it seems like they are at least dreaming about it.

But the developers are already there, fanning the flames and buying up every desirable investment, or at least that's how the conventional wisdom goes.

Saturated Market Cities.
Places like, Chicago, San Francisco, and Atlanta can be quite a big pool to jump in for a young investor looking to get their bearings. Typically real estate in these markets come with a high price tag - well over the national average for what you get in regards to square footage and amenities. Saturated Markets are the first to stagnate before dropping in a market correction.

With that said though, the saturated market cities typically have good opportunities for “fixer-uppers” in transitional neighborhoods. This can be a great way to get started with investment properties, especially if you have a knack for DIY and home repair and can reduce the cost of labor required to put the home back on market.

Small Growing Cities.
Some of the most successful real estate investors keep their focus on the small cities that are hitting a growth spurt. Keeping an eye on things like distribution centers, manufacturing plants, higher education will help keep you in ‘the know’ for which towns are about to start booming. Some of the best moments to invest in a small city is during the point in which the city is in a transitional phase between a manufacturing economy and an information technology-based economy. As a general trend, this seems to happen right before the old neighborhoods become gentrified and lead way to some great investments returns.

Start off Close to Home.
Your ability to effectively maintain and manage your investment properties will greatly depend on your proximity to them. Unless you intend to lose out a sizeable chunk of your profits and hire a professional management company to oversee your rental properties, it typically makes sense to invest in your general vicinity.

Run the numbers, then run the numbers again.
Savvy investors might carry some debt as part of their investment portfolio, but for the average person - that should be avoided. If you have student loans, unpaid medical bills, make sure you have those covered before investing.

Run your numbers, make sure that you still have some sort of safety net after the downpayment and expenses of your investment. Make sure to give yourself some financial wiggle room, and when you’re done, check those numbers one more time.


A great place to start.

Myrtle Beach is a great place to get your feet wet with investment properties. A vast influx of visitors and seasonal residents mean the rental market is always robust. Add that with the fact that our prices are some of the lowest along any of the coastal regions and you find a good opportunity for success as a real estate investor. Use our Advanced Search options to find a property that fits your requirements, or call us. Many of our agents are seasoned real estate investors, and they're always happy to share that knowledge with young investors.












Oct. 26, 2018

Myrtle Beach Events This Weekend!

Check out these Halloween events going on around Myrtle Beach this weekend!

BooFest at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach complete with costume contests for the kids and the pets!

Oct 27, 2018 noon to 4 pm

Music, entertainment, activities, a DJ, inflatables, pumpkin patch, and a stiltwalker making balloons!

Children's & Pet Costume Contests:

Registration for all contests begins at 11am and continues until noon. 

Costume contest times and age groups are broken down as follows: 

Noon: Pets

1pm: 3 Years of Age and Younger

2pm: 4 Years of Age to 7 Years of Age

3pm: 8 Years of Age to 12 Years of Age

Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in all three children's age and pet categories.


Halloween Bash on The Avenue at Broadway at the Beach with some major prizes for Adult Costume winners!

Oct 27, 2018 7pm

The Grand Strand's largest Halloween Bash on The Avenue at Broadway at the Beach! The fun starts at 7pm with a DJ on The Avenue and the costume contest will follow with prizes awarded for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place!


Atalaya Fall Festival and Haunted Castle at Huntington Beach State Park

October 26 & 27th 6pm - 9pm

The Atalaya "castle" will be the setting for an evening of frightfully fun family entertainment! Enjoy 2 separate haunted house attractions: a not-so-scary maze of creepy rooms and a Haunted Castle for the brave at heart. For the younger children, there will be carnival games, children's crafts, spooky cartoons on the big screen, marshmallow roasting station, a bonfire, and more! Event admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children 6-15. Children 5 and under are free, but parents, please note: some of the special effects used in the haunted houses may be too intense for younger children. Park Admission is free. Free Park Admission during this event.





Oct. 18, 2018

Using A Reverse Mortgage To Down-Size, Right-Size, or Accommodate Your Empty Nest

Right-Sizing Your Home Through Your Mortgage

It's no surprise that here at the beach we get a lot of home buyers looking to downsize.  The kids have moved out and frankly, they're tired of shoveling snow and freezing all winter long! Many families have vacationed along the Grand Strand for years and it becomes a natural choice for many to retire. Housing is affordable, the beaches are beautiful,  the weather is great, and we have some incredible options for active senior living! (Check out this incredible selection of Homes for Sale in 55 Plus Communities!) Add to that, you've got more space than you need and more rooms than you care to heat and clean. If you've thought at all about downsizing, then you're in good company. 

The problem is that the path to a more manageable home for these transitional years isn't always clear. Traditionally, downsizing meant selling your home and then purchasing a smaller one, with some or all of the proceeds from the sale of your larger home.

Depending on your equity, the market, and the condition of your home, you could stand to profit from downsizing in the traditional manner. But there are other options, specifically using a reverse mortgage to purchase a new, smaller, more manageable home. Read on to find out if this is the solution for you, once you're ready to have less space to manage.

A Reverse Mortage

Although you may not know the specifics, you've probably at least heard of a reverse mortgage, or HECM ( Home Equity Conversion Mortgage.) For the most part, people use this option as they get older to pull equity out of their homes, without having to sell the property. Anyone with a fixed income or limited retirement savings can tell you that being able to access a portion of the equity in your home without having to sell it and move is a great way to supplement your retirement.

But what many people don't know is that you can use a reverse mortgage to purchase a new home. A HECM for Purchase basically works like a conventional HECM, but it allows you to purchase a home without having to make mortgage payments, leveraging the equity in the home against the day when the loan comes due. This is typically when you sell the home, leave the home for other living/care options, or pass away.

Using a Reverse Mortgage to Purchase a Home

In order to qualify for a HECM, you have to be at least sixty-two, just like with a regular reverse mortgage. You also have to make a down payment of about one-half of the purchase price, which seems huge, but it is typically done with the proceeds from the sale of your prior home. You get a lump sum at a fixed-rate and can put some of the proceeds aside as a line of credit (if you choose an adjustable-rate loan), paying interest only on what you use.

The money you pay up front serves as your equity in your home and will be consumed by the loan in lieu of mortgage payments the longer you live in the property. The interesting thing is that the older you are, the more you can get and the less you have to put down upfront as a down payment to qualify for the loan. It's an interesting way to put the equity you have (or your savings) into a home for your golden years.

Is Using a Reverse Mortgage to Down-Size (or Right-Size?) Your Home a Good Match for You?

Using a reverse mortgage to purchase a home for your retirement years isn't for everyone. They aren't as straightforward as a Conventional Loan, and they aren't as easy as just paying cash from the proceeds of the sale of your former home. But the new home purchased with the HECM doesn't accrue any equity. At the end of the day, that's the trade-off for having a no-payment loan.

We highly recommend speaking with a Mortgage Lender/Specialist in order to help you identify the best way to finance your Retirement Home.

Oct. 10, 2018

Myrtle Beach Events This Weekend!

Seems like there's always something fun going on here at the beach and this weekend is no exception:

Friday and Saturday are Oktoberfest at Market Common with beer, food, a pumpkin patch, beer, kids activities, music, beer, vendors, and beer!


October 12-13, 2018
4:00 PM – 9:00 PM Friday
11:00 AM – 7:00 PM Saturday

Valor Park
Market Common


4:30 – 7:30 – Channellheimer Oompah German Band

7:30 – 9:00 – Jamin Ortiz Duo


11:00 – 12:00  – Channellheimer Oompah German Band

12:00 – 1:00 – Grocery Store Gentlemen

1:15 – 2:15 – Channellheimer Oompah German Band

2:15 – 3:30 -Grocery Store Gentlemen

4:00 – 6:30 – Nickel Bag of Funk


And on Saturday evening, The Long Bay Symphony, the Grand Strand's only professional orchestra, will be performing at Marina Park at Grande Dunes to benefit HELP 4 KIDS / BACKPACK BUDDIES and the first 100 attendees will get a free Grande Dunes Signature Blanket.


"The Long Bay Symphony...will present a fun-filled concert in beautiful Marina Park along the Intracoastal Waterway. You’ll also enjoy fun & games, wine & beer, as well as gourmet fare."



Saturday, October 13, 2018
5PM – 7PM






The rain has moved out and the weather looks great! Let us know what else is going on at the beach this weekend!





Oct. 4, 2018

Are We Seeing the Return of a Buyer's Market?

After years of a gradually increasing housing shortage, more homes are finally hitting the market...meaning buyers may soon start to see a little shift from a seller's market to a buyer's market.

According to recent reports, the number of new listings in September were 8% higher than last September, making this the biggest increase since 2013.  Buyers are hoping this translates into better options for them.

Sellers who have been watching the market have likely decided we've reached peak selling conditions and are now rushing to put their homes on the market in order to get the top price. This increase in inventory is expected to slow down some of the wild pricing increases. Up until recently, many buyers found themselves in bidding wars, having to make substantial over listing offers in order to secure a home. While these latest figures don't add up to a complete turn-around in the market, buyers should start to see some beneficial changes.  And while things are starting to look better for buyers, it's still a very lucrative market for sellers. In September, the median home price was up 7% compared to last year. Not quite as high as the 10% increase from September 2016 to September 2017, but still notable. And although inventory is rising, there are still more buyers than available homes in many markets.  

Market conditions point to a change in conditions that may indicate a Buyer's Market will return soon, but it is still pretty much a Seller's Market for now.

If you're in the market to buy a Myrtle Beach home for sale, use our Advanced Search feature to find exactly what you're looking for!