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23-C Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 100A
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

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212 Bluffton Road, Unit 300
Bluffton, SC 29910

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The Hilton Head Homes Blog

How Important Is an Attached Garage? If you're shopping for a home, you most likely want a house with a garage. During your search, you'll come across houses with attached or detached garages. You'll need to decide which is the right choice based on your family's needs and preferences.Pros and Cons of an Attached GarageThe most common reason why people choose a house with an attached garage is convenience. You could simply pull your car into the garage and walk into your house. That could make things easier if you have young children and need to carry their backpacks, musical instruments or sports equipment, as well as groceries, into the house on a regular basis. An attached garage also means you wouldn't need to walk through rain or snow to get to your house.There are some downsides to an attached garage, however. The biggest concern is security. If you used an electronic garage door opener and forgot to close the door, someone could enter your house. It's also possible that the garage door opener could malfunction or be hacked. Another concern is fire. If your car caught fire in the garage or fluid leaked and ignited, the fire could quickly spread and engulf your entire house.Depending on the size and shape of the lot, an attached garage could be limited in size. It might be difficult or impossible to fit two cars, and you might be forced to park one or more vehicles in the driveway or on the street.Reasons to Consider a Detached GarageIf you don't have young kids and don't mind getting wet on a rainy day, a detached garage might be a better choice. Since a detached garage can be built anywhere on the property (provided it doesn't violate local building codes), there's more flexibility in terms of size and design. If you have several vehicles, you might be able to find a house with a large detached garage or build one after you move in.If you plan to use your garage for a hobby, a detached garage could be better for both you and your family. Since the garage would be separated from the house, you would have more privacy. You wouldn't need to worry about the noise from power tools or the odors from chemicals that you used for painting or working on your car bothering your family.A detached garage can also be safer. If you plan to store flammable chemicals, having the garage separated from the house could contain the damage if something accidentally caught fire. In addition, someone who entered your detached garage wouldn't be able to enter your house.Which Is Right for You?For some homebuyers, an attached garage is extremely important, while a detached garage is an acceptable or even preferable alternative for others. Think about your family's circumstances and preferences and how you would like to use your garage to make a decision.

Finding the Best Interest Rate on a Mortgage Mortgage brokers and other real estate experts can often help homebuyers find the best interest rate on a mortgage that fits their needs, but that doesn't mean borrowers shouldn't shop around so that they're well informed before talking to an expert.Here are a few things consumers can do to get the best interest rate on a mortgage:Fixed vs. AdjustableFixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are the two most common forms of mortgages. A fixed-rate is set for the life of a loan, usually 30 years, and the mortgage payment is the same every month.An adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, has an interest rate that changes after a certain number of years. It can remain at one rate for a year, then change based on an interest rate index chosen by your bank. An ARM can also be steady for five to 10 years, and then adjust annually.ARMs usually have lower interest rates than fixed mortgages, and can help people afford homes if they only plan to live in them for a few years.Pay pointsPaying what's called a "point" through an upfront fee can lower the interest rate on a home loan. One point equals 1 percent of the total mortgage amount, lowering the interest rate by a fixed amount, usually 0.125 percent.If you plan on staying in a home for a long time, paying points can save you money. You just need to do the math and determine how many months or years in savings it will take you to recoup the amount you paid in points.Qualify for loan programsSome loan programs have lower interest rates for eligible borrowers. These include VA loans for military veterans, FHA loans approved by the federal government, USDA loans and other government programs for first-time homebuyers.If the interest rates aren't as low as you're hoping for, these programs can still offer savings with low down payment requirements, protections if you fall behind on a mortgage, and allow low credit scores to qualify.Improve your creditHaving a high credit score is one of the best things you can do to qualify for a better interest rate.In the months before applying for a home loan, pay your bills on time and pay your credit card balances in full. Also, be sure to check your credit report for errors and dispute them.

Safety Tips for New Homeowners Something every new homeowner wants is to feel safe and secure. Here are steps you can take to ensure that feeling.Do a little research and look into things like the crime rate in the area. Find out about neighborhood watch groups and how they work.Change the locks as soon as you move in. You have no idea how many existing copies of keys may be circulating.Also, ensure that window locks are functional.Install new fire alarms. It's easy and inexpensive.Consider an alarm system. It's a smart investment in the safety and value of your home.Also consider a range of smart home devices and apps, that alert you whenever someone approaches your door.

Understanding Your Property Taxes Local governments and school districts raise a large portion of the money that goes toward paying for education, emergency services, transportation and other public goods through property taxes. The amount that individual homeowners pay is determined by the assessed property value and the mill rate. Each of these is calculated through a complex process.How Property Values Are AssessedAn assessor will determine the value of your home, which can change over time due to depreciation, improvements you make, the local economy and housing market. Assessors may use any of three methods to calculate the value of a home. In some cases, they use a combination of two or more methods.One way to determine the value of your home is by looking at the sales of comparable properties in the area. Those figures are used as a baseline and can be adjusted to account for the location of your property, the amount of land it sits on and any upgrades you have made.Another way to assess the value of your house is to figure out how much it would cost to replace it if it were destroyed, a calculation that will include local material and construction costs.A third method of assessing your property's value is to calculate how much income you could generate by renting it. The assessor will consider market value and will deduct costs to manage and maintain the property, as well as insurance premiums and taxes.You should receive a statement showing the assessed value of your property. If you disagree, you can submit relevant information and ask the assessor to review the calculation taking the additional facts into account. If you accept the assessment, you will receive a separate property tax bill.How Tax Bills Are CalculatedA mill levy is a tax rate used to determine how much property owners must pay. One mill is equal to one-tenth of one cent. County and local governments and school districts set their own mill levies based on the amount of money they need to raise and total property values in the area under their jurisdiction. Property owners then pay a mill rate that can include a total of county, state or town and school district mill levies.The mill rate will be multiplied by the assessed value of your property to determine your property tax liability. You may receive a tax bill once a year or once every several years, depending on the government's policy. If you have any questions about how much you will owe and when, you can visit the assessor's office or look up the information on its website.The Benefits of Understanding How Property Taxes WorkProperty taxes can vary widely based on where you live, the value of your home, and how much money the local government and school district need to raise. Knowing how your home's value is assessed and how property taxes are calculated can help you avoid being shocked by the size or timing of the bill.

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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As we progressed through February, the actual and expected impacts of COVID-19 continued to grow, with concerns of economic impact reaching the stock market in the last week of the month. As the stock market declined, so did mortgage rates, offering a bad news-good news situation. While short term declines in the stock market can sting, borrowers who lock in today’s low rates will benefit significantly in the long term.

February 2020 Market Reports

New Listings were down 2.3 percent to 650. Pending Sales increased 21.8 percent to 586. Inventory shrank 14.5 percent to 2,046 units.

Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 7.5 percent to $322,463. Days on Market increased 11.3 percent to 148 days. Months Supply of Inventory was down 20.4 percent to 4.3 months,

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Bluffton neighborhoods you've never considered

Bluffton is the quintessential South Carolina town.

It’s historical streets are lined with moss-draped oaks and its neighborhoods are filled with lowcountry-style homes. It doesn’t get any more charming than this.

This is only one of the reasons why so many people choose to relocate here.

When it comes to buying a home in the Bluffton-area, many people search for neighborhoods like Hilton Head Plantation or Palmetto Dunes, which are two of the most popular places to live.

Though these neighborhoods have so many positives about them, there are plenty of other hidden gems in the Bluffton-area that you may have never even heard of before.

So, if you’re looking for a great place to buy a home, here are three Bluffton-area neighborhoods you

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January 2020 Market Overview - Hilton Head and Bluffton

As the cost of renting continues to increase, consumers have more incentive to lock in their housing costs by purchasing a home. The latest CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index report released this month saw the cost of renting single-family homes, including condos, up 3% in November 2019 versus November 2018. According to CoreLogic’s data, single-family rents started climbing in 2010 and have stabilized around an annualized rate of 3% since early 2019. For the 12-month period spanning February 2019 through January 2020, Pending Sales in the Hilton Head region were up 8.7 percent overall. The price range with the largest gain in sales was the $650,001 and Above range, where they increased 17.4 percent.

The overall Median Sales Price was up 3.5

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Getting a house ready for sale is more than dusting the furniture and mopping the floors. You have to show homebuyers what the house could look like when they put their personal touches into place. Selling a home on Hilton Head, or any other coastal area draws in sun bunnies when the weather is nice, but winter can be a challenge. Details make a difference when staging your home in colder temperatures.

Before & After Staging

What Is Staging?

Home staging is the art of preparing a property so that it appeals to buyers who will pay more money for the privilege of living in it. The idea is to convince others to invest their money toward a certain lifestyle. Real estate experts have the inside scoop on what works best.

Curb Appeal

That first glance is everything

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