Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Myrtle Beach Vacations Are Year Round

You might think that nobody comes to Myrtle Beach in the wintertime, but if you haven't spent Christmas or New Years in our sparkling city, you don't know what you're missing.

Yes, it can get chilly by Christmastime.  There are days that don't get out of the 50's, and some nights in the 20's.  By that same token, we've had several days this past week in the mid-70's, whether it's December or February..

Our streets, stores, and hotels are decorated to the hilt with beautiful lights and Christmas trees. The restaurants are all still open, and guess what?  NO CROWDS! You don't have an hour wait to eat in the winter. The beautiful North Myrtle Beach resorts like Avista and Prince Resort have heated pools and offer the same stunning views of the ocean as they do in the summer.

Our live shows are all great at Christmas. Celebrate New Years like you've never seen it at Broadway at the Beach. Valentine's day is soooo romantic in Myrtle Beach. You can still get a heck of a suntan on those warm days, too!

Winter rates are super low and you might just have the best vacation you've ever thought about during the off-season in Myrtle Beach. Give it a try...it's so cheap you've got nothing to lose but a few days away from the snow and ice! Hey...we forgot to mention that way more hotels in Myrtle Beach allow pets in the off-season!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Can a second mortgage loan serve your purpose?

Do you want money to clear your debts or finance your child’s education or serve some other purposes?  Then a second mortgage loan can be the answer. Before you apply for it, you must make sure you have adequate funds to repay the loan; otherwise you may lose your home to a forced foreclosure.

There's basically two types of second mortgage loans - a closed end traditional home equity loan, or a a "home equity line of credit" which is an open end credit much like a bankline.

1. Home equity loan:

You can apply for a home equity loan by filling out an application form available online. To take out a home equity loan, you have to keep your existing home as a security. You can even use your non-residential property as a security for the approval of the loan if you are a licensed title holder and your land is free from legal dispute. You will get around (60-65) % of the actual value of your property used as security against the loan at a fixed rate of interest. However, you should check out the pros and cons before you apply for a home equity loan.
Benefits of a home equity loan:
  • If you take out a home equity loan, you can pay off your credit card bills by consolidating all your debts into one monthly payment.
  • The interest rates of a home equity loan will be lower than the interest charged on your credit cards.
  • The interest that you pay towards the home equity loan is tax-deductible and therefore you can easily save a substantial amount of money on your taxes.  
Drawbacks of a home equity loan:
  • If you use the loan amount to invest on certain items that immediately depreciates, then you may have to face financial crisis in the near future.
  • If you’re unable to pay off your loan then the lender will foreclose your property used as collateral.
2. Home equity line of credit:
Like a home equity loan, here also you have to keep your home as security to take out a home equity line of credit. You will get this loan in the form of a credit card or a set of blank checks with a certain limit depending on your home equity. The more you pay down the balance, the more funds will become available to use in the future. A HELOC consists of both advantage and disadvantages:
  • Here, you don’t have to borrow the amount in a lump sum, rather you can withdraw the funds according to your needs.
  • The interest rate of this loan is variable and is lower than the interest rate charged by most mortgage lenders.
  • If your credit score is good, then you don’t have to pay a closing cost.
  • At least for now, interest on an home equity line of credit is tax deductible. 
  • According to the terms of this loan, you may have to withdraw a limited fund each time within a stipulated period of time.
  • The cost of securing a HELOC can be high. You may have to pay a property appraisal fee, an application fee, closing costs and other possible charges that are included in your loan agreement. You may also have to pay the transaction fee every time you withdraw the money.  Most of these requirements are based on your credit and relationship with your bank.
  • It's not easy to find the self-discipline to pay off a line of credit for many folks.
Opting for a second mortgage loan can be a useful strategy if you’re disciplined enough to use the funds for a dedicated purpose and are able to repay your loan on time. It can be the answer to investing in a resort vacation property or beach condos that banks will no longer finance.

Ask a Realtor or your own banker for more information on second mortgage loans.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What is the next best thing to being there? Watching a Myrtle Beach Video!

I'm finally getting many of my clients to invest a little time and trouble into making short videos of the best neighborhoods for their respective real estate sales, and to me, if they are done right and in a classy way, they can go a long way towards selling a home.  By the same token, if they are done unprofessionally, with bad music in the background, or misspelled content, nothing is worse.  I'm happy to say my favorite Myrtle Beach real estate expert, Greg Harrelson has a most talented employee that is making some wonderful videos - Meridith Lien.  Here's a couple of her best ones!

Barefoot Resort Homes for Sale

Homes for Sale in Tidewater Plantation Myrtle Beach

Look for more of these because I'm going to insist that they do them on as many communities and condos as I can.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Allstate is Myrtle Beach Best Car Insurance

My best friend came down to visit last week and rear-ended somebody right before she got to her hotel.  She and I both have Allstate, mine through Scott Todd in North Myrtle Beach.

She called the police, and then her agent, and was disappointed to learn that she didn't have coverage for a rental car...in fact had told them she didn't need it because she has two cars.  Ha, that's not why you may need a rental car, is it?  Anyway, they did pay for a tow truck and recommended she take it to a local dealership for repairs, which I thought was mighty good.  I can remember dealing with State Farm many years ago and having them try to tell me to take my car to this body shop in town that was notorious for cheap work and shoddy results.

I also talked to Scott, and found out that I had neglected to add towing or a rental to my policy, which I have now added.  I am telling you that if you want to be "in good hands", you don't get any better than Myrtle Beach car insurance with Scott Todd at Allstate.

I saw in tonight's Consumer Affairs section of "What's on Your Mind" a complaint that Progressive Insurance's claim to fame customer service is not so hot.  Read the complaint HERE.  Specifically he says,
“My wife's car was hit by another vehicle and she called the police,” Otto said. “The other person was guilty and it was written in the police report. They don't care. Tomorrow is going to be a week since we called a Progressive representative and "there is nothing they can do at the moment". We left the car at the body shop because there is a noise in the front wheel but they can't even send the adjuster. They can't pay for the car rental either.”
I feel very lucky to have found Scott.  He's one of the best.  Look him up at www.CarolinaPolicies.com.

You know...I wonder.  Is an agent only as good as the company he represents, or is an insurance company only as good as the agent who represents them?  Any thoughts?


Also see this site for Condo Insurance.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Myrtle Beach New Home Construction is on the Rise

New construction of Myrtle Beach homes is quietly on the rise. As you drive around in search of your very own piece of Myrtle Beach real estate, you may be starting to notice a few tractors moving land, a few laborers lifting up two-by-fours, or a roofer applying shingles to a new home. We all know these are signs of new homes being built.

Recently, the market for Myrtle Beach Homes for sale has increased according to the evidence listed in the MLS. Today, there are fewer homes listed for sale as well as more closings taking place on a monthly basis. Myrtle Beach Condos continue to have their challenges while we watch the housing market make it's move.

For those thinking of selling a home in Myrtle Beach, you may want to consider doing it now. There is a growing concern that new construction will create competition problems for those looking to sell a resale home. An example, Carolina Forest homes for sale have been moving. As the homes in Carolina Forest sell faster, builders start to build new homes to take advantage of the increased activity. When you ride through Carolina Forest today, you will see signs indicating that you can buy brand new home for the same price as those for sale in established communities. Again, the buyer has more options. The buyer was once buying a Myrtle Beach foreclosure listing, and now they are buying new construction at a greater pace.

The builders are making money again while existing owners are still hoping the market will turn around. We recently witnessed a buyer purchase a new home in Carolina Forest for less than they could have purchased the same home that was already built. The choice was obvious for the buyer and painful for the seller who has been waiting for over a year to sell.

The Cottages at North Beach Plantation are really going up now. It looks like there's around 30-40 already built and another 10 or 20 under construction. The prices of these homes for sale in North Beach Plantation are really low - as low as $180,000, and only steps to the beach. That's going to be some stiff competition to other North Myrtle Beach real estate, new and older homes. And even condos, for that matter.

According to the builders I have spoken with, they anticipate having a great next few years due to the low building costs as well as low prices on land.

Just when we thought it was going to get better the builders make their move. If I was thinking of selling any Myrtle Beach real estate in the next year, I would do it now.

~Greg Harrelson
Your Myrtle Beach Real Estate Source

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Prestwick Homes for Sale in Myrtle Beach

Prestwick Myrtle Beach Homes for Sale
Guest Blog from Greg Harrelson

I recently sold a home in Prestwick Country Club on Links Road that had been listed for sale with another agent for a long time. The home had about 3500 heated square feet as well as a pool. Located on the golf course,  it sold for $470,000, which has been the highest sales price of any homes in Prestwick to sell recently.

Then I did it again. I just listed a home in Prestwick and placed it under pending contract status within 21 days of putting it in the Myrtle Beach MLS. The key to selling these homes in Prestwick is marketing. When a Prestwick home for sale is marketed aggressively, it gets significantly more buyer traffic then those listings that are just entered into the MLS and left to sit there.

If I were looking to sell a home anywhere in the Grand Strand and I was in need of a Myrtle Beach real estate agent, then I would seek out an agent that knows the community - as well as one who can provide a written marketing plan. Prestwick Country Club homes in Myrtle Beach belong to a fantastic community, with properties ranging from $200,000 up to a million dollars.

I personally own a home in Prestwick. I understand the community, and how it needs to be marketed in order to get a property sold. I have already sold a few homes in Prestwick this year and would like yours to be next.

I market all Prestwick homes on my new website, http://www.prestwickmyrtlebeach.com/

Greg Harrelson can be reached at (888) 874-2121 or through any of his websites.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

SC Lake Front Property

SC Lakefront Property

Would you like to see and learn about all the lakes in South Carolina?  My friend who specializes in selling homes on Lake Greenwood has done a really good page about all the lakes in South Carolina.  Between the map, photos, and needed information, it is a really good reference for SC lake front property.

I never considered who owns lakes before.  Most are owned either by Duke Power, or in South Carolina, we have the Santee Cooper power company. All over the US, lakes are created and maintained by the US Army Corp of Engineers as well, and as with all federal government controlled land, it has to be freely public.  So there are few private boat docks, and a Corps owned barrier between the land and the lake.  Interesting, isn't it?

Visit www.lakegreenwoodproperty.com/sc-lake-front-property/ and see all the good information about South Carolina lakes.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tips for Selling a Home in Myrtle Beach

Christine Ginsburg is a Home Stager in Morris County, NJ who recently posted an excellent article on Active Rain called The 10 Most Important Cost-Effective, Easy Fixes When Selling Your Home.  This was such a good article I wanted to present her ideas to our Myrtle Beach condos and home sellers and agents. I think anyone selling their home and any real estate agent across the country will benefit from these excellent points.

1. Make all the bedrooms and baths appeal to both men and women. That's an idea I had not thought about, and a good one. You don't want to limit the appeal to any one sex, race, or family type. Don't get too "girlie" with your paint, wallpaper, or even the furniture you have left as you are showing the home. Nor should you have rooms that are obviously "man-caves" if you can help it!

2. Open up the space in all rooms by removing excesss furniture and clutter. Your cute doilies or collection of Egyptian artifacts won't appeal to everyone.

3. Continuing with #2 above, rent a storage building and put your excess furniture and knick-knacks in it. As she points out, that will help when the time comes to move, too.

4. Keep the room colors in your home neutral. Resist the urge to add that bright orange wall because you saw it on a TV decorating show. Add color with accessories instead.

5. Use the decor of an five-star hotel to judge how a room should look. They are always uncluttered, classy, and have a renovated look. Don't try to sell a home that was remodeled in the 70's or 80's and not updated.

6. Keep your cabinets, attic, closets, and other storage areas neat and clean. Move excess stuff to that storage building so a potential buyer can judge the amount of room the home will offer for his own possessions.

7. Make sure your Myrtle Beach home is utterly spotless. I think this may be the most important point of all.

8. Christine advises to remove darkening window treatments and let as much natural light in as possible. I think here at the beach that's especially important. If you have a water view, it goes without saying to show it off.

9. Be sure all repairs are done. She mentions leaky faucets, broken screens, etc. I would add rusty or corrosive fixtures, stained cement driveways or sidewalks, and updated light fixtures to that.

10. Take GOOD photos, videos, and plenty of them for the MLS listing. Christine says to hire a photographer. Not a bad idea, but as a Realtor, you should have already invested in a good camera and should take the time to take the best photos of your listing as possible. If you're the homeowner, you can help too. Remember, about 80% of all home searches begin on the internet, and potential buyers are going to see that MLS listing over, and over, and over again. Be sure it's accurate, free of typos, and offers the best possible photos you can take. Doing a quick video of the property is icing on the cake and will add to the marketing potential.

These were some of the best tips I've seen lately. As you strive to be the best Myrtle Beach real estate agent you can be, learning these things from a home stager will prove to be invaluable.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hawaii Kai and Oahu Real Estate Updates

For those interested in some Hawaii real estate news, Jeff Manson guest posts this one...

The Hawaii Kai real estate market, part of the larger Eastern Oahu and Honolulu housing markets, saw an increase in the number of home sales and a boost in median home prices over the latest tracking period. According to statistics provided by the Honolulu Board of Realtors, there were substantially more single family homes sold in the month of December 2010, mirroring a similar trend for the entire year.

Over 2010, there were about ten percent more home sales than in the previous year. This is an encouraging trend because in many other states the number of sales have been depressed compared to year-ago levels – at least partially because of the artificially boosted sales figures during the end of 2009. As reported by Pacific Business News, there were 306 single-family homes sold on the island of Oahu during December 2010, representing an increase of just less than thirteen percent compared to year-ago levels.

In 2010, there were more than 3,000 properties sold, marking an increase of about thirteen percent compared to 2009’s figures. In terms of median price, single family houses were approximately six percent more expensive in December 2010 relative to December 2009, rising from $550,000 to $587,000.

While there were more Hawaii Kai and Oahu homes sold in December 2010 compared to year-ago levels, there were slightly fewer condominiums purchased over the same period. According to the Honolulu Board of Realtors, there were three percent fewer condos (341) sold in December 2010, while there were 350 sold during the same month last year. On a brighter note, there were substantially more condominiums sold in the entirety of 2010 than during 2009. Median sales prices for condominiums remained relatively unchanged.

There were also more than two hundred pending sales moving into the first month of 2011, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors and Hawaii News Now. In terms of inventory, the average Oahu home for sale is projected to spend about five weeks on the market. Although some parts of Oahu, such as Makakilo, Kapahulu, Kakaako, and Kaneohe experienced price declines during the most recent tracking period, Hawaii Kai followed the positive trend seen by the majority of the island.

Want more real estate info?  See Myrtle Beach Real Estate, Albuquerque Real Estate, and Lake Greenwood SC Property.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More About Real Estate Short Sales

The real estate short sale market has grown exponentially in the wake of the real estate crunch. Statistics from mortgage servicer Fannie Mae show that short sales and foreclosures have gone up steadily in the past four years, and with the new spate of foreclosures said to take hold later this year, distressed homes are expected to take up a much bigger portion of the market. Here are some recent statistics for a quick look at today’s real estate short sale market.

More Homes In Default

Of the 30.7 million mortgages held by Fannie Mae, 921,000 are over 60 days in default, and another 644,700 were 90 days or more behind. This was before the loan modification and short sale programs took effect, and the servicer then addressed the problem by enacting a foreclosure/eviction freeze. This was followed by a loan modification effort that resulted in 23,777 modified loans toward the end of the year. The short sale option offered today is expected to help prevent even more foreclosures.
Short Sale And Foreclosure Ratio

A 2008 report shows that for every successful short sale, eight other homes started foreclosure proceedings. To many experts, it’s a sign of the inefficiency of lenders when it comes to the short sale process. Many of them were ill-prepared for the wave of defaults and did not have adequate loan modification experience. So for much of 2008 and 2009, the helpful home-saving programs were an uphill climb for borrowers. Fortunately, both programs have since been largely improved.
Government Real Estate Short Sale Program

One thing that helped refine the process is Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA), the government’s own program and partner to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a previous initiative focusing on loan modifications. HAFA allows homeowners who have been rejected for HAMP to pursue a short sale following a streamlined process. These efforts have since reached thousands of struggling homeowners and helped them steer clear of foreclosure.
Future Outlook for Homeowners

Lenders and government officials agree that the short-sales will play a vital role in market recovery in the years to come. Every sale means that a foreclosure has been prevented, and that losses have been curbed for both lender and borrower. As more borrowers seek alternatives in the coming foreclosure wave, there may be more demand for short sale solutions, and the government is making sure lenders are ready for it.
This guest post was written by a professional short sale/ real estate agent experienced in 
helping distressed owners, or those who want to sell for any reason. People who are having difficulty but want to keep their home may find information that is useful on his website at .www.shortsalesafe.com.
For information on Myrtle Beach short-sales,  visit the C21 Harrelson Group website.
For Albuquerque short sales, visit the Albuquerque Real Estate Group's website.
Realtor Jan Bradshaw helps with Lake Greenwood SC foreclosures and short-sales.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Home is a Home is a Home...maybe

Little River Inn Resort
Not too long ago I did a long, involved, and rather heavily researched blog on manufactured houses and modular homes.  I ended up with a much healthier respect for how this type of housing is built and to what standards they are held now.

The Sun News did an article last year about the market for these "mobile homes" (which is not the correct word for what they are talking about) saying that sales for manufactured homes in Myrtle Beach were actually UP recently in the Grand Strand. One local company reported a sales increase of 15% in 2010.

To quote a manufacturer of modular homes in Pennsylvania from my other blog, here's a description of the terms and how they are rated:

"Over our 40-year history, Riverview Homes has sold mobile homes, manufactured homes, modular homes, two stories, sectional homes, single-wides, trailers, double trailers, triple-wides, double-high, etc.", he begins. "In the end what we have really sold is either a home built to the HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) building code or to a State building code. In Pennsylvania, we build single family homes to the IRC (International Residential Code). In Pennsylvania, modular homes are built to the IRC and manufactured homes or mobile homes are built to the HUD code."

Wikipedia defines a similar difference. It says that typically a modular home is built to local state or council code, so it can actually have a different construction standard depending on the state where it will be located. Modular homes built for final placement in a hurricane-prone area can have additional bracing built in to make it more safe. Surprisingly, it says that after FEMA studied the destruction done by Hurricane Andrew, they concluded that modular and masonry built homes fared better than any other construction.

The Sun News article suppositioned that the increase in Myrtle Beach real estate sales of manufactured housing was due to a price usually under 100K, and the new government incentives going on at the time. It applied to these homes as well as traditional "built on the spot" homes.

All this being said, I had a friend who was married to a guy who sold Clayton Homes here locally, and while the inside of it was nice, (it even had a fireplace) the outside somehow reminded me of a life-sized Barbie doll house. It had this underpinning that was supposed to look like rock, but was made from fiberglass or plastic and LOOKED exactly like what it was. I was not impressed.

And unless you buy the land 20 miles from the beach, you're still going to end up paying a good bit for that...or worse, renting the land itself.

I guess it's all what you were raised with. I'm partial to a condo for myself anyway, but I was raised in an older wood and brick home, with parents who very much disdained what everyone called a "trailer" back in the day. Modular homes back then were pictured as very small, one piece "cottages" which are very popular in Florida. I did always think I'd like one of them, but have never seen one up close...unless you count the "villas" they have in the campgrounds such as Pirateland.

Either way, and no matter what Wikipedia says, I wouldn't want to be sitting in one when there was a hurricane within about 200 miles from it. My Allstate agent in Myrtle Beach doesn't offer SC homeowners insurance on what they consider a mobile home, (having a title instead of a deed) or unless it is "frameless". You would almost certainly be in one of our wind zones - I don't know of any place inside the Myrtle Beach or NMB city limits that would allow one. So there would be even more cost for wind and hail insurance. I'll stick with my condo in Myrtle Beach.