6 Excellent Resources to Use When Buying a Home

a couple searching on a computerScrolling through online listing photos, scouting for the best neighborhoods, and pondering décor in your new home is fun. But the home search itself is not the only enjoyable experience; the entire home buying process can be pleasant when you have access to the best tools.

Here are the top six resources you should use to make buying a home easier and enjoyable.

1. A Wants vs. Needs Checklist

First determine what price, location, size, and any special features your new home must have. Then you can hone in on your favorite properties by searching for additional features that you would prefer.

2. A Mortgage Payment Calculator

What do you want your monthly mortgage payments to be? We have an easy mortgage payment calculator you can use to find out how much you can afford for a home. This tool takes into account the length of the loan, the interest rate, and annual tax and insurance to calculate how much you will pay every month.

3. A Reliable Home Search Tool: PaigeHutto.com

The best source for your home search is a real estate agent and a database of available properties called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). At PaigeHutto.com we make searching local real estate listings easy.

If you are using national real estate sites to search for homes near you, keep in mind that you are not seeing all the homes that are for sale. HousingWire reported that websites such as Zillow show fewer listings than are available in many major cities, which means you could be missing out on the best home.

4. A Local Neighborhood Guide

Choosing the best home involves more than the property itself. It’s important to research areas and neighborhoods. Here are a few questions you may want to consider when researching communities:

  • Does the community offer amenities, such as a swimming pool or fitness center?
  • What are the parking options in the community?
  • Where is the nearest grocery store, gas station, or shopping area?
  • How is the local school district?

We have helpful information about neighborhoods and areas on our website that you can use when searching for a home. Simply click here to start exploring Charleston neighborhoods!

5. A List of Recently Sold Homes

a line graph with a magnifying glassResearching the real estate market will also make your home search much easier.

If you are thinking of buying a home in a particular community, ask us for the Neighborhood Sold Report, which can help you determine whether the home is fairly priced.

You can always ask us about the real estate conditions in this area, too. Send an email to Paige today!

6. A Local Real Estate Expert

But your best resource for buying a home in this area is the local real estate expert. He or she will have all of the tools you will need, including sold data and an easy-to-use home search, to help you easily find the best home.

Are you ready to buy a home? Let Paige Hutto help! Contact us today and we can work with you to find your ideal home.

What’s different?

Paige Hutto moves to Carolina OneDSC_2500 copy

With the new year, Paige Hutto has decided to make some business changes. It is with both sadness and excitement that she has departed Keller Williams Realty. After 4 wonderful and educational years with the KW team, she decided to return to her first real estate home, Carolina One Real Estate on Isle of Palms, SC.

It has always been Paige’s pleasure serving every single one of her clients throughout her years in real estate. Her commitment has allowed her to form connections that have continued beyond the business transaction and for that, she is grateful. She is still available to handle sales transactions, to offer real estate advice if questions arise or to simply see how life has been treating her clients!  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to her for any reason, as her reputation has been built on her relationship with her clients, fellow professionals and friends.

Please note the change in name, email address and website as show below.  And a link to her Facebook page!

Paige Hutto
Paige@PaigeHutto.com
www.PaigeHutto.com
Paige Hutto On Facebook!

3 Benefits of Selling Your Home During the Holidays

As the holidays are quickly approaching, many people are busy decorating their homes, lighting the tree, and marking their calendars to visit friends and family.

With all the busyness of the season, you might be wondering if now you should even attempt to sell your home. Any potential home buyers are also busy attending get-togethers or traveling out of town, right?

After all, that is how it has been in the past.

Yes, You Can Sell Your Home During the Holidays

The reality is that home buyers today are always looking at properties, including during the holidays.

Smartphones and other mobile devices have made it easier and quicker to search for homes on the go, and home buyers can search anywhere — including at a holiday party. So in light of this modern development, here are three main benefits of selling your home during the holidays.

3. You Have Less Competition

Many home sellers believe that the holidays are not the best time to sell, so they would rather wait until spring when the weather is nicer for home viewings.

This means that there is less competition for sellers who do list their home, so you don’t have to compete with other sellers for a buyer’s attention.

Buyers also have fewer properties to choose from, so you’re less likely to receive multiple offers on your home. For buyers who do find their dream home — your home — they may end up purchasing your property at or above market value.

2. Buyers are Serious

Unlike springtime, when many home sellers decide to put their property on the market, the weather is not as pleasant during the winter holiday season.

That means that potential buyers who are not serious about buying a home will opt for the comforts of their own home over viewing properties in cooler weather. They may also opt to attend a holiday party rather than view a home for sale.

Home buyers who are actively searching and viewing properties are generally more motivated, and may even want to buy their new home before Christmas or the new year rolls around. If a buyer for your home wants to get moving quickly, this can often translate into a quicker home sale.

christmas wreath in a frame on a red wall1. You Can Really Appeal to a Buyers’ Emotions

One of the most important tips about staging your home is that you need to appeal to the buyer’s emotions, and what better time to do that than during the holidays?

Selling your home means that you can leave the heat on, have cookies baking in the oven, and leave your holiday decorations up.

The holidays bring joy and warm feelings, and this seasonal atmosphere is perfect for setting the stage for your property with minimal work on your part.

We Can Help You Sell Your Home

Bottom line, selling your home during the holidays gives you the perfect opportunity to sell your home quickly and for more money. And we can help you make sure that your home sale goes smoothly, even during your busy holiday season. From offering you a free home evaluation to advising you on further home staging tips, we have all the resources you need to make sure you home sells for more money in less time. Contact us and we can talk about a strategy to sell your property during the holidays.

I’On Real Estate Update

The I’On Real Estate Market Holds Steady

The I’On real estate market continues to show favorable real estate numbers in 2015!  With an average sales price getting closer to $1 million and the average selling price per square foot increasing slightly from 2014, I’On continues to be one of Charleston’s premier neighborhoods. Below are the details:

2015 Activity Through November 12:

  • I’On homes sold – 64
  • Average Selling Price/Square foot – $306
  • Median Selling Price – $887,500
  • Average Selling Price – $977,368
  • Average Days on Market – 83

To see details on all of the I’On home sales in 2015, click here.

I’On Home Pricing outpaces Daniel Island

Charleston’s strong real estate market means that established neighborhoods are now competing with newer developments for buyers.  Fortunately, for I’On residents the statistics show that their neighborhood is still producing strong average sales when compared to Daniel Island. While homes on Daniel Island sell faster, I’On homes sell at a higher price per square foot. This implies that buyers are seeking what I’On has to offer and are willing to pay more to be in an established and wonderful neighborhood.

chartchart2

Thinking of Selling or Have Questions?  Call Us!

Please give The Avera Group a call if you have any questions about I’On real estate.  If you are thinking of selling, contact us to learn more about our marketing program.  We have an intimate knowledge of this community, what buyers are looking for and how to get your home sold.  Have a wonderful week and we hope that you continue to take advantage of all the special activities and events that I’On has to offer!

“Know Before You Owe”: New Rules for Real Estate Closings

house icon on grassIf you’re a home buyer, changes to the closing process have been established.

New regulations went into effect on Saturday, October 3rd, providing new loan disclosure forms that are designed to help you better understand the terms of your home mortgage before you close on your new home. That means when you apply for a loan, you will now receive the easier-to-understand forms.

What You Need to Know About the New Closing Disclosures

To summarize, these new rules combine mortgage loan disclosures from both the Truth-In-Lending Act (which informs consumers about loan terms) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (which deals with closings) into one simplified set of disclosure forms for home buyers who are getting a mortgage.

The official title to these regulations is a mouthful — Truth-In-Lending Act / Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure Rule— so the regulations are just referred to as TRID. (The enforcement agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, also calls it Know Before You Owe.”) “Know Before You Owe” is designed to help borrowers clearly understand the costs and terms of their home mortgages. Here are the changes that you can expect from these new regulations, from the number of forms you’ll need to fill out to the time requirements that can alter your closing date.

If you’re getting a mortgage, you’ll receive two forms under “Know Before You Owe.” The first, a loan estimate, based on your financial information. You’ll receive the loan estimate 3 business days after applying for your mortgage. The second, a closing disclosure, which outlines all of the costs you will need to pay. You’ll receive that form 3 business days before closing. These two new forms are more user-friendly, and are replacing four separate forms that home buyers received before — two Truth-In-Lending statements, the loan estimate, and a list of itemized fees.

With these new regulations, you will have time to review the terms of your mortgage well before closing, so you can understand exactly what fees there will be. You can read the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s full guide to the loan estimate and closing disclosure forms here.

There is a 3-Day Review Period Before Closing

Under the new “Know Before You Owe” rules, mortgage lenders must send you easier-to-understand information about your loan — the Closing Disclosure form — 3 business days before closing on your home, giving you time to review the terms of your mortgage.

However, some changes to the mortgage terms — like changes to your interest rate or the loan product itself — will mean that you will need another 3-business-day review period, possibly delaying your closing date. If you would like an overview of the details, the CFPB highlights the instances where the 3-day review period would be affected.

The Avera Group Can Answer Your Questions!

If you are buying a home and have questions about these new regulations, and what it might mean for closing on your home in the future, contact us today and we will be happy to answer your questions in detail.

Fall In Charleston

The weather is slowly beginning to change and it’s starting to feel more fall-like throughout the lowcountry, although Charlestonians know that we can still expect warm days in October. With this change in weather and season, there are plenty of wonderful things to see and do in Charleston. To close out September, you can enjoy the following events:

But, we shouldn’t forget that Charleston has events and activities happening all the time! The downtown, Mt. Pleasant and John’s Island farmer’s markets, fishing tournaments on Folly and Isle of Palms, live music all over town, new restaurants opening in and around town and a great county park system that offers activities for the whole family. You might even find us downtown shopping on King Street or picking up some fresh produce at the farmers market.

Last week, to our own delight, we took an afternoon to go boating on the water off Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. We have the pleasure of living in this beautiful city and we want to share our love of this town with you. If you are interested in getting to know more about Charleston and the surrounding areas, please don’t hesitate to ask! Call or email Paige today!

843.259.1307 or Paige@TheAveraGroup.com

Charleston Real Estate: By The Numbers

Everything about the Charleston real estate market continues to improve! If you look at the numbers we’ve compiled below, you’ll see that prices are up, the number of sale has increased and the time it takes to sell is down. Like we’ve pointed out before, this is great news for sellers in our area. But, don’t fret buyers! There are still great and affordable areas in Charleston that you can call home. There are over 5000 active listings in the area and over 400 came onto the market in the past week. One of those homes might be the right one for you!

Past 6 months of 2015
As compared to same period of 2014

Entire Tri-County, MLS area:
  • Average Days on Market: 64, down 23%
  • Months Supply: 4.9, down 18%
  • Average Sales Price: $308,615, up 3.6%
  • Sales price to List Price: 97.6%, up .06%
  • Average Price per Square Foot: $120, up 4.3%
  • Single Family Homes Sold: 8789, up 20.6%
  • New Construction Sold: 1707, up 19.5%

Count on The Avera Group for Expert Real Estate Advice!

Has the market increased enough for you to consider selling your home? Curious about a neighborhood you might want to move to? These numbers can vary from town to town or even by the neighborhood. We would be happy to provide you with the statistics specific to the area you live in or a neighborhood that piques your interest! Email Paige today with any questions!

I’On Real Estate Update

The I’On real estate market continues to be very strong in 2015.  Prices are still creeping up which is still very good news if you are thinking of selling your I’On home!  While the number of homes that have sold this year has decreased from last year, the average sales price has increased from 2014. Sold homes are also receiving on average 95% of their asking price. Here are some key data points from this year so far:

2015 YTD:

  • I’On Homes Sold – 40
  • Median Price for Homes Sold – $996,806
  • Average Selling Price/Square Foot – $307
  • Average Days on Market – 110Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 2.26.09 PM

I’On’s selling price per square foot has always outpaced North and South Mt. Pleasant and it continues to do so! This trend shows the continued desirability of owning and living in the I’On community. In addition, there are currently 10 I’On homes that are under contract or pending closing that range in price from $549,000 to $1,749,000.  If you would like additional information on I’On home sales so far this year, please click here.

Current Inventory

Today, there are 26 homes for sale in I’On.  This is fairly consistent with the number of homes that were on the market last August.  Inventory usually climbs during the summer months, so this number of homes for sale is not unusual.  With an average of only 5 months worth of supply for the I’On market, we remain in a strong seller’s market. However, homes priced above $1M tend to have closer to 7 months of supply which does not favor the buyer or the seller in a significant way. Below are some details on the I’On homes for sale:
  • Homes for sale – 26
  • Median Asking Price – $1,270,000
  • Asking Price/Square Foot – $332
  • Average Days on Market – 138

Thinking of Selling, or Have Questions?  Call Us!

Please give us a call if you have any questions about this post.  If you are thinking of selling, please contact us to learn more about my marketing program for your home.  We have sold dozens of homes in I’On over the years and have an intimate knowledge of this community, what buyers are looking for, and how to get your home sold.

The Small House Movement

In the United States the average size of new single family homes grew from 1,780 square feet in 1978 to 2,479 square feet in 2007, and to 2,662 square feet in 2013, despite a decrease in the size of the average family. Overall, our homes keep getting bigger, but there is a small group of home buyers and builders that are moving away from this trend. A very early pioneer of this small house trend is Henry David Thoreau, whose publication of the book “Walden” is quoted as early inspiration for living in a smaller space.800px-Tiny_house,_Portland

The current small house movement is a return to houses of less than 1,000 square feet. Frequently the distinction is made between small (between 400 square feet and 1,000 square feet), and tiny houses (less than 400 square feet). One of the events that opened peoples eyes to these smaller homes was Hurricane Katrina. Marianne Cusato developed what was called the Katrina Cottages, that start at 308 square feet. Though these were created to provide a pleasant solution to a disaster zone, Cusato received wider interest in her design from interested home owners and developers.  The financial crisis of 2007–08, also attracted more attention to the small house movement as it offers housing that is more affordable.

Smaller homes are less expensive than larger ones in terms of taxes and building, heating, maintenance, and repair costs. Small houses may emphasize design over size, utilize dual purpose features and multi-functional furniture, and incorporate technological advances of space saving equipment and appliances. Vertical space optimization is also a common feature of small houses and apartments. In addition to costing less, small houses may encourage a less cluttered and simpler lifestyle and reduce ecological impacts for their residents. Some small home builders will reuse old material such as wood floors, doors, windows. Recycled materials such as recycled glass, aluminum,  recycled tile, reclaimed lumber, recycled plastic to reduce the ecological impact building can have.

Charleston’s Small House Movement

According to a Post and Courier article, the Tiny house movement has begun to sprout in Charleston. There has been a history of living in small spaces in Charleston, either by necessity or on purpose. Examples are Freedman’s Cottages, sailboats, beach cottages and apartments downtown. More recently, a couple just had their 192sf tiny home in North Charleston built by a North Carolina company for $45,000. Though they had complications with permitting in their original location, they are now happily living in their tiny home. A  392sf tiny home on Johns Island and a 240sf home for two in East Charleston were both built for around $30,000. One Charleston company is even moving towards a planned unit development of 40 tiny homes near Park Circle.

Right now there are 125 single family homes for sale in the Charleston MLS area under 1000sf. Only 200 homes of the 7,745 that have sold in 2015 were small homes, but the homes and the land are out there. If you would like to find out more about small homes, The Avera Group would be happy to help!

 

Mid-Year Update

So far, so good for 2015

As we approach the midpoint of 2015, the residential real estate market is on track for its best year since 2006, the peak of the housing bubble. In the Charleston area, June sales exceeded all expectations with almost 1700 closings, which is an almost 15% increase over last year. What’s driving this growth and what can we expect in the next half of the year? Here is what the folks at realtor.com our telling us:

  • Job growth is powering the surge in demand for homes. More than 3 million jobs have been created in the past 12 months. And more than 1 million jobs have been created for 25- to 34-year-olds, the age range in which most Americans buy their first home.index
  • We’re seeing record traffic on the web. Real estate websites across the board are experiencing 15% year-over-year growth in unique users. The vast majority of our visitors report that they intend to purchase a home.
  • With rising demand, homes are selling more quickly, too. In May the median age of inventory (homes on the market) nationwide was 66 days—that’s 8 days faster than for last year. The hottest markets are seeing inventory move 18 to 45 days faster.
  • A rapidly declining age of inventory signals that demand is growing more rapidly than supply. Indeed, we’ve had 32 months in a row of existing-home inventory at less than a six months’ supply. That’s why we’re also seeing above-normal price appreciation.
  • Year-over-year median home price appreciation reached 9% in April, which has helped existing homeowners see strong gains in equity.
  • Meanwhile, rents are increasing at a similar or even stronger pace than home prices. Record numbers of renting households have driven down apartment vacancies, and low vacancies led to higher rents. As a result, it is cheaper to buy rather than rent in 80% of the counties in the U.S.
  • And now the clock is ticking as mortgage rates are on the rise. With strong employment data in April and May, the average 30-year fixed conforming mortgage rate broke through the 4% level, and in the past week moved above 4.10%.
  • Is that slowing down demand? No, just the opposite. Consumers can clearly see that affordability is going down for real, so those who are ready and able to buy are searching for homes, looking at listings, visiting open houses, applying for mortgages, and signing contracts.
  • In April, new-home sales were up 26% over last year. Pending home sales, which are new contracts on existing homes, were up 14%.
  • At this level of growth, total home sales in 2015 could come close to 6 million, which is a level comparable to 2007 (if not quite at the level of peak 2006). But 2007 was a year of decline for the housing market, whereas in 2015, we’re expecting more good things to come.

Count on The Avera Group for expert real estate advice!

We hope you have found the information above as insightful and encouraging as we did. Seeing the national housing market recover is definitely a welcome sight! If you are thinking of buying or selling call Paige today! We’d be happy to review statistics that are pertinent to your property or a home you like!