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The Hilton Head Homes Blog

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hilton Head Bluffton Realty is pleased to offer these professional and dynamic 60-second market updates for our clients.  The videos touch on 5 key components of market activity:  Active Inventory, Median Listing Price, Days on the Market, Median Sales Price, Units Sold.   

Video Market Updates

  1. Sea Pines
  2. Palmetto Dunes & Shelter Cove 
  3. Forest Beach
  4. Shipyard 
  5. Folly Field, Hilton Head          
  6. Hilton Head Plantation
  7. Windmill Harbour
  8. Long Cove 
  9. Hilton Head Condos ($250K+)
  10. Hilton Head Luxury Homes          
  11. Bluffton   
  12. Oldfield 
  13. Sun City
  14. Latitude Margaritaville           
  15. Bluffton Luxury Homes   

Our goal with these fact-based videos is to share with our clients and prospects about how

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Avoid These 5 Refinancing Mistakes

If youre someone who isnt happy with their current mortgage"whether its because you heard of someone having a better rate, you realized the payments are too large or you want to pay your home off quicker, then its probably time to look into a mortgage refinance.

Simply put, a mortgage refinance replaces your current home loan with a new one and can be done to reduce the interest rate, cut monthly payments or tap into their homes equity.

And you dont need to be years into a mortgage to refinance. If it makes sense financially, you can refinance at any time.

Still, there are some mistakes that those going through the process make. Here are some things to avoid.

  1. Being Unprepared:
    Once you get the ball rolling, dont stall. If your new lender gets in touch asking for information, dont waste time looking for documents and financial info"send it to them right away so everything goes smoothly. If youre busy at work or about to embark on a family vacation, wait until you have opportune time to get things started.

  1. Jumping at the First Offer:
    One of the reasons youre looking to refinance is because youre not happy. But even if the first lender that comes along offers you better rates, dont just say yes. Shop around for the best deal, and even check in with your current lender to see if they can do something to make your mortgage more appealing. They might be willing to work with you, saving you some paperwork and time.


  1. Waiting too long:
    If you hear about a good rate from a friend or see a special deal being promoted, do your due diligence but dont wait too long before making a decision. Try to get everything done in a couple of days and check out as many lenders as possible. You dont want rates to rise or something to change before you pull the trigger.


  1. Not Thinking About Closing Costs:
    During any refinance, keep in mind that youre likely to be responsible for new closing costs, including a loan application fee, appraisal fees, title fees and attorneys fees. Be sure you have this money on hand and make sure that these new fees dont impact the value you are getting overall from the refinance.


  1. Adding on to Loan Term:
    When refinancing, some homeowners decide to add to the number of years of their loan term, lowering their monthly payments but increasing the total amount of interest over time. Conversely, lowering the terms by five or 10 years can save you a lot, so if you want to change the years, make it lower.

By making smart decisions, your refinancing can be a smooth experience.

Lot vs. Land: Where Should You Build Your Dream Home?

With all that goes into constructing a new house, building a dream home is not for the faint of heart. Undoubtedly, one of your biggest considerations will be whether to build on a developed or undeveloped plot. There are advantages to both: Because the home is new, itll likely boast modern features and energy efficiency and be built to code and secured with the builders warranty. Not a bad deal, considering the amount of home inspection horror stories out there.

Because the terms lot and land are often used interchangeably, its important to note that for the purposes of this article, lot will refer strictly to developed properties divided up by builders (i.e., located in subdivisions), and land will refer to any undeveloped piece of property.

So, lots vs. land"which is it going to be? Weigh the pros and cons below:

Lots: The Pros

  • Price advantage and foreseeable price appreciation.
  • Established roadways, either maintained by the municipality or by homeowners.
  • Water/sewer provided.
  • Electric, phone and cable lines wired.
  • Builder disclosure of land concerns, such as drainage and soil.
  • HOA fees typically include lawn care, trash pickup and other community maintenance.

Lots: The Cons

  • Cookie-cutter floor plans.
  • Minimal outdoor space.
  • Close to neighbors.
  • Restrictions on cosmetic changes.

Land: The Pros

  • Homeowner can be involved in all aspects from start to finish.
  • Cleaner air, if located in a rural area.
  • More potential for eco-friendly features, such as solar panels.
  • Isolation, if desired.

Land: The Cons

  • Zoning changes.
  • Costs to transport building materials.
  • May need to install a septic or dig a well.
  • May need to run electric, phone and cable lines.
  • Need to install a generator and/or propane storage.
  • May need to pave an access road.
  • Potential land hazards, such as buried oil tanks.

Keep in mind that these lists are not exhaustive, and what works for some may not work for others"some people like living close to their neighbors, for example. Before you break ground on your dream home, make an informed decision by carefully considering all the pros and cons of developed and undeveloped plots. Happy building!

5 Repair Tips for Hardwood Floors

Homeowners and buyers alike are increasingly embracing the natural beauty of hardwood floors. Unfortunately, even with proper upkeep, wood floors can get unsightly dents and scratches over time due to normal wear and tear.

If you have hardwood floors in need of repair, the experts at HomeAdvisor offer the following tips, two of which might surprise you:

Walnuts. Take a quick peek into your kitchen cupboard. If you have walnuts, then you have a solution for light wood scratches. Simply crack open the shell and remove the meat of the nut. Then, rub the inside of the walnut over any blemishes in the floor and blend the oils from the nut into the wood using your finger. It should disguise the scratch!

Wood Filler. If youd like to try a DIY repair on a larger blemish or crack, look to wood filler. It comes in many varieties, but its basically a putty-like substance used to fill gouges in wood. There are several different colors available that can be matched to your existing flooring. Or, you can choose a filler that accepts wood stain. Note that filler doesnt have the color variation of natural wood, so the more problem areas you have, the more noticeable this fix will be.

Mayonnaise. Heres another light-scratch solution that may be hiding in your kitchen. Believe it or not, many DIYers swear by mayonnaise. To try this hack, first clean the affected area. Then, apply mayonnaise directly to the wood and let it sit for a few minutes. After a while, wipe it away with a towel. The oil from the mayonnaise should fill in the scratches to match the color of the wood.

Wood Stain Marker. For slightly deeper scratches, a wood stain marker may do the trick. These markers come in several different shades and can darken problem spots so they blend right in with the floor. Just clean the area around the damaged floor, touch up with the marker and wipe away the excess. Dont forget to spot test your marker color first to be sure its a good match. If your home has several trouble areas, consider talking to a pro about getting the floor refinished.

Professional Help. For deep scratches or significantly gouged flooring, youll probably want to hire a professional. Depending on how bad the damage is, the pro can sand and refinish or repair your hardwood floors. Some projects may require replacing a few boards. But a quick call can have your floors gleaming again in no time.

4 Key Elements of Hollywood Regency Style

A bold and beautiful combination of Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern, heres how to infuse the Hollywood Regency Style into your home.

Bold Patterns and Palettes

Contrasting color combinations and simple patterns are used to create visual drama throughout.

Go Big on Lavish Details

Bring out the lacquered furniture and metallic finishes. This is a style for those who want to put grandeur on full display.

Plush Textures

It wouldnt be glamorous without a few sumptuous layers, like silk window treatments and velvet throw pillows.

Embrace Your Eclectic Side

Juxtaposing modern and traditional elements is a hallmark of Hollywood Regency.

Getting Rid of Carpet Glue When Renovating

When you replace a carpet in your home, whether it’s because you are trying to improve a room before selling or redecorating once you move in, it can be challenging.

Removing the carpet itself isn’t terribly problematic, and if you have some friends willing to help, it can be done pretty easily over the course of a day, but most times, you will see marks on your floor due to the glue that was used to keep the carpet in place.

Now, this doesn’t matter much if you are only going to install new carpeting; you can simply cover it up. But a lot of homeowners are choosing to go with the natural wood floors underneath, so those marks need to be removed.

Just by using a little elbow grease and following some basic DIY instructions, you can be enjoying a hardwoodfloorbefore you know it.

First, try to figure out what type of glue you are dealing with as not all glues are the same, and removing the different kinds can require different solutions and steps. For example, tar-based adhesives are dark brown or tan, while yellow-looking adhesives signify a carpet was glued down with a more general adhesive.

Next, visit your local hardware store and buy the appropriate removal material. Tar-based glues need mineral spirits to get the job done while general adhesives are best removed with some basic adhesive remover. Both require a good deal of that elbow grease we spoke about earlier.

Once you do, removing the glue is rather simple. Scrape off any spots you can, but don’t dig in too deep or you may damage the floor. Then add the adhesive remover, spreading it out evenly. Read the instructions carefully to ensure you keep it on for the correct amount of time. Also, since many of these can be toxic, be sure to wear gloves and keep the windows open to allow ventilation inside the room.

Always use a plastic putty knife to scrape the glue away as this won’t scratch or scuff the floor like a metal tool will. If the glue isn’t completely wiped away, follow the instructions again and add more remover to the spot. This time, use an old towel to wipe away the remaining glue.

Once all the glue is gone and the floor has dried, vacuum the area so no glue particles remain. Buy some floor cleaner and polish up the wood floor so it looks brand new, and enjoy.

Paying Off Your Mortgage in 15 Years vs. 30

Paying off your mortgage early and living mortgage-free so you can use the money for other things"such as travel and an early retirement"can sound like a pipe-dream thats impossible to get to, but it doesnt have to be.

If you have a 30-year mortgage, there are a few ways to cut that time in half, or at least come close to it:

Add a Monthly Payment Each Year
This easy step will cut about three years off a 30-year mortgage by spreading out one extra monthly mortgage payment over a year.

Start by dividing your monthly principal and interest by 12 and add that amount to your monthly payment. At the end of the year youll have made 13 payments in 12 months.

Doing that with a $200,000 mortgage will pay off a 30-year mortgage three years and three months earlier, saving you $18,000 in interest on a loan at 4.5 percent interest.

Lets say youre five years into a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, such as the one listed above at 4.5 percent interest for a $200,000 loan. Refinancing to a 15-year loan at 4 percent will pay off the mortgage 10 years earlier and save you more than $60,000.

Your monthly principal and interest will increase from $1,013 to $1,345, so youll need an extra $333 per month to be able to afford it.

Shorter-term mortgages often have lower interest rates, so only refi your loan if you can get a lower rate to make the refinancing costs worthwhile.

If you dont want to refinance but have the extra money each month to increase the payment, then you can pay off the loan in 15 years instead of 30 by making the extra payments. Just make sure to let your lender know that the extra money should go toward the principal.

Use a Windfall
If youve received an annual bonus at work, large tax refund or other financial windfall, putting it toward your mortgage can take a few years off the debt.

Making an extra $10,000 lump-sum payment toward the principal balance on our mortgage sample above would pay off the mortgage two years and four months earlier, saving you $19,000 in interest.

Its a drastic move, but selling your home and downsizing to a smaller, less expensive home is another way to lower your mortgage debt.

The profits may allow you to buy a smaller home for all cash. At the very least, a smaller mortgage will allow you to pay it off quicker by making the same payments you did on your old house.

Qualifying for a Home Improvement Mortgage

Making improvements to your home can pay off in a few ways. Additions, upgrades and general property improvements can increase the value of a home, and make it more comfortable to live in.

Using your home loan as a home improvement mortgage to pay for repairs and improvements to a home can be an easy way to come up with the money without having to dig in your bank account.

Home equity loans and lines of credit are two of the most common ways to finance home improvement loans. Theyre secured by the equity in your home, have low interest rates, and the interest you pay is usually tax-deductible.

Home equity loans are a type of second mortgage. Theyre secondary to your primary mortgage, meaning if you dont pay your mortgage and face foreclosure, the secondary loan will only be paid after the primary mortgage is paid off.

The usual home equity loan provides a sum of cash you can spend as you want to, and is a fixed-rate loan repaid over 10 to 20 years.

A home equity line of credit, also called a HELOC, is a line of credit that can be drawn upon as you need it. HELOCs are typically adjustable-rate loans when youre borrowing money, but can be changed to fixed-rate when you pay them back.

To qualify for equity loan, you need home equity, credit and income. Youll need 25 to 30 percent equity in your home so that you can borrow from it and have enough money left for a financial cushion.

For example, if your home cost $400,000 and you owe $300,000 on it, you have $100,000 in equity, or 25 percent. You can borrow a portion of that $100,000 through a home equity loan.

Most home equity lenders will allow you to borrow up to 80 percent of the equity you have in your home. In the above example with $100,000 equity, youd be allowed to borrow $80,000.

A good credit score of 650 or higher is usually good enough to qualify. Youll also need enough income to cover your debt payments, which include your mortgage and new home equity loan. They shouldnt exceed 45 percent of your gross monthly income.

With those ideas in mind, remember to shop around for a home improvement loan. The loan doesnt have to be with your current mortgage lender, but can be with any lender.

How to Protect Your Valuable Art

Keep your cherished works of art in pristine condition with these tips.

Create the Right Environment

Remember that artwork is sensitive to factors like sunlight, temperature and humidity.


Its important to take the proper precautions to protect pieces that are particularly valuable. Motion sensors can be installed that alert authorities if a piece is being moved without prior authorization.

Work With Professionals

Dont take chances when it comes to pricey works of art. Work with a professional to install, store or move your collection.

Art Insurance

In the event that a piece does get damaged, make sure youve had your art collection appraised and insured.

5 Fashion Labels With Breathtaking Home Collections

Is it time to update your decor? Whether youre looking to spruce up your home before putting it on the market or you need new furniture for your next place, thoughtfully designed interiors are essential. For the fashionistas who want to bring haute couture into their house, these five luxury clothing brands have home collections that are worth getting excited about:

Armani Casa
Armani recently unveiled a home collection at Milan Design Week, and its a must-see for every fan of minimalism. Inspired by natural elements and Asian landscapes, it includes everything from table settings and lighting to a stunning chaise lounge. Clean lines and exquisite finishes are consistent throughout, epitomizing the essence of Italian craftsmanship.

Hermes La Maison
The renowned purveyor of leather goods has made a foray into houseware with the Hermes La Maison collection. The wide range of home goods maintains the fashion houses timeless look and sophisticated style, with items for every room. The elegant bath linens, sleek leather chairs and tableware galore will breathe new life into your home.

Kate Spade Home
The Kate Spade Home collection is utterly effortless. True to the iconic designers hallmark style, playful prints and patterns are at the center of this line. They have the perfect breezy look, with floral bedding, citrus-patterned plates, and a powder pink toaster that every kitchen needs. Theres even a cocktail set that will come in handy at your dinner parties.

Fendi Casa
Known for being bold and lavish, the fabulous style seen in Fendis clothing carries over into the designers home line. Fendi Casa is a chic, contemporary collection that will transform your house, inside and out. The outdoor furniture, kitchen cabinets and breathtaking living room decor will all be appreciated by the fashion-forward homeowner.

Bottega Veneta Home
Bottega Veneta Home is all about neutral tones and rich textures. Simultaneously simple and opulent, the collection can lend itself to virtually any setting, from traditional to contemporary, and exudes meticulous craftsmanship with every piece.