Are Baby Boomers selling their homes or holding on to them? June 4, 2019

Many studies suggest one of the main reasons for the inventory shortage in today’s market of homes for sale is that older generations have chosen to “age in place” over moving. Personally, I think the shortage is in "affordable" homes under $200,000 for all of the people moving here for the large number of new jobs in the Charleston area........but that's just my "two cents".

The 2019 Home Buyers & Sellers Generational Trend Report by NAR clarifies this point! NAR’s findings show that Baby Boomers (43%) and the Silent Generation (12%) made up 56% of sellers in 2018! This means the majority of sellers last year were over the age of 54.

This also shows these generations ARE moving! The report also shared the reasons why they chose to move. According to the research, the top reason was a desire to be closer to friends and family. Once a person retires from their job, the main priority is to be close to the people who are most important to you. Being close to family and friends ALSO helps with aging in place. The happier you are, the healthier you are, and it is nice to have people close by in case you need help. My goal is to help people live independently, with a sense of community, in their own homes as long as possible.

As we can see, older people have plenty of reasons to sell their current home! But what type of homes are they trading in? Once again, the report demonstrated that older generations are not keeping that 3-bedroom, 2-bath colonial home. Instead, they are putting it on the market and moving on with their lives! Typically, as we get older, we find that a smaller home suits our needs better. I personally sold my 5 bedroom home and purchased a more manageable 2 bedroom home when my youngest grew up and moved away.

The trend is for older people with grown children to sell their large homes and buy a newer, smaller home. In turn, the younger generations buy the larger homes to raise their families in. By families, I don't necessarily mean Mommy, Daddy and children. Families come in all shapes and sizes and often times, fur babies are the children of the family.

Many people are buying homes in 55 plus neighborhoods where they have a stronger sense of community and their yard work is taken care of. We have many of those communities in the Charleston area and I can show you the pros and cons of each one. I can also help with getting your current home sold for the best price and the least inconvenience to you. I have friends who can help with de-cluttering and lessening the amount of furniture and things that you take with you to your new home. I even have a friend who makes homes more accessible and safe as you age. If a 55 plus community is unaffordable for you, I can help you find a smaller, newer home near a great Senior Center and lots of opportunities for fun events to keep you smiling. I have friends who run landscaping companies who can help with yard work. Whatever it is that you need, I can help you with it.

Bottom Line If you are living in a house that no longer fits your needs, contact me so I can help you find a home that will! 843-509-5200 Pam Furst, Realtor

 

 

 

 

 

Article copied from Keeping Current Matters with a few revisions Share this post:

It's SPRING and time for that annual SPRING CLEANING plus taking care of some maintenance for your home.

 

DO YOU SHOP O N L I N E? For clothes, electronics, …a HOUSE?????

 A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in my home office, wondering WHAT CAN I DO, because I had been without internet service for several hours. They were “working on it”. Fortunately, my lap top still functioned so I decided to write my blog. Are you Dependent on the Internet, too? I could check out Facebook on my phone BUT to do my REAL work, I need my laptop and I NEED an internet connection. I’m a Realtor and most of what we do, depends on the internet.

It wasn’t always that way. When I first got my real estate license, our MLS (Multiple Listing Service) was delivered to us every 2 weeks in a large book. The homes had one tiny photo in black and white and a very short description. NOBODY had a cell phone. We used digital pagers and a payphone. It sounds like the Dinosaur Age, I know……but it was 1987. If we wanted to find out how to get to a house, we pulled our big paper map out of the glove compartment. It sounds like it made life very difficult but honestly, it wasn’t. It was all we knew and we did it in a professional and personal manner. If you wanted to buy a house, you either looked in the newspaper for ads, called from a for sale sign in a front yard (after you either went home or to a payphone) and then made an appointment to see the house. YES, it was a slower process but in many ways, it was a better process. Clients got to KNOW their Realtor and learn pretty quickly if they could TRUST their Realtor. We built relationships. Buying a home is a big step in your life, probably your biggest investment and VERY personal to you.

If you choose your Realtor by how many flashy billboards they have or how many bells and whistles are on their websites, are you necessarily getting a good Realtor or just someone who spends money to impress you with their tech? There is certainly a great advantage for Realtors who spend a lot of money to promote themselves but is it an advantage for YOU? We ALL have the Multiple Listing Service and we ALL have the ability to send you listings the day they come on the market. Most of us have a website. Some of us have Instagram and a Facebook Business Page. A lot of us are on LinkedIn. I believe every single one of us AND our children have a cell phone in our pockets. I have actually seen agents who were BRAND NEW plaster the internet with their media explosions and CONVINCE people that they knew what they were doing, just by spending lots of money to attract your attention. If you see an ad on Facebook or an ad disguised as an article or an offer for information, MOST of them have a backend mechanism that captures your information for the Realtor. Mine do not. Did you know that ZILLOW sells your information to Realtors? Do you use Zillow, Trulia or Redfin for your real estate information? If you DO, you are being played. True Realtors have the most up to date information……….those other guys get it from us, but we get it first. Do you want to be SOLD to a Realtor or do you want to build a relationship with a Realtor who you can trust? Statistics show that most people work with the FIRST Realtor they meet in the home buying process. Do you want to CHOOSE that Realtor or let a capture tool SELL you to a Realtor?

Some of you may prefer to keep the real estate transaction as sterile and impersonal as possible BUT You have to meet a Realtor in person (for now) in order to physically view a house. Do you have to meet a Realtor in person in order to sell your house? We can email contracts and listing forms to you. You can even sign electronically. Some people actually buy houses without ever having walked inside the home, just from photos on the internet. There is still a need for the licensed Realtor to show the homes and write the contracts…...........You definitely still need a Realtor to negotiate for you and advise you. A good Realtor will counsel you from the beginning, before you ever start to look at homes. A good Realtor will help you with getting pre-approved for a mortgage and if needed, improving your credit score. SURE, you can find almost anything you need to know by GOOGLING it but do you know if it is the correct information?

I was out of the real estate business for 8-9 years, after doing it for over 20, and recently rejoined the world of being a Realtor again. I started out by building a website, then a Facebook Business page, then an Instagram Account, updated my LinkedIn account and started a Real Estate Youtube channel. I started getting more involved with my community and my friends and socializing more. I write and deliver a newsletter to my neighborhood and go to Civic Club Meetings. I make videos of houses that I tour and instructional videos on things you should know before buying or selling a home. I started out doing all of the things that Realtors DID ten years ago and added a few new things. THEN I realized that EVERYTHING is social media these days and I needed to get educated on how things are NOW done. The truth is, nothing has changed in the ACTUAL real estate business. People still need to build relationships. We need to put down our phones and look a person in the eyes. We need someone who is looking out for our best interests. People still need to physically see and explore a home and yard before purchasing it. They still need advice and a negotiator. REALTORS ARE STILL NEEDED and the fastest way to send ourselves down the path of the Walmart Cashier is to keep de-personalizing our services. Can you imagine buying your home on Amazon.com??????

I have spent a couple of months AND over 70 hours last week, alone, taking an in-depth online course on mastering social media. I learned a few very useful things. As a matter of fact, every time I put the time and attention into it, I learned a little something. Last week, I got into Landing Pages (the things that capture your information) and widgets and gadgets to impress people…………..and I got totally discombobulated……………………. My head was spinning and I basically wasted my entire week, while causing myself a whole lot of stress.

I realized that I don’t need to learn all of the new “tricks” of the trade. I need to keep doing what I know and love…………educating myself constantly about all things real estate, developing and maintaining relationships, and caring about people. I take at least one real estate class every week to stay up-to-date on mortgages, contracts, repair addendums, disclosures, the multiple listing service, ethics………….basically all of the behind the scenes things Realtors deal with. I’ve always loved school and I especially love being good at what I do. The more I know, the more I can help you to have the best home buying or selling experience possible. I even went to a First Time Home Buyer Class AND a Credit Repair Class JUST SO I COULD BE A BIGGER HELP TO MY CLIENTS. I recently bought furniture from Goodwill and used some of my own furniture to STAGE a vacant house that I listed. In the 23 days it took to sell the house, I held two open houses. I go above and beyond what you might expect from a real estate agent. The main thing I do is that I CARE. I want you to be informed and pleased with the purchase of your home. I want you to be happy in that home and to be comfortable with your monthly payment.

If you want a Realtor who will work for you, we all cost the same thing. We get paid a pre-agreed upon percentage of the sales price from the Seller’s proceeds. If you are not being charged any more for a professional, caring, informed, experienced Realtor……..shouldn’t you make that choice? I’m ready, willing and able, so please call me 843-509-5200 or email me charlestonrealtorpamfurst@gmail.com...........I promise not to CAPTURE your information. The choice is entirely YOURS. I hope to hear from you soon. I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I'm a great place for you to tell your story and let your visitors know a little more about you.

How Does Buying a Home NOW compare with Buying a Home in Previous Decades?

My earliest memories of what things cost……… A postage stamp was  six cents. A front row seat at a big name Concert at the Carolina Coliseum was six dollars. I rented an entire 2 bedroom house with a nice yard for $150 per month.  Buying Houses and cars were also much less expensive than they are now. Inflation raised the price of all of those items, along with the price of almost every other item we purchase.

 

The reason we can still afford to consume is that our wages have also risen over time. The better measure of whether an item is more expensive than it was before is what percentage of our income it takes to purchase that item today compared to earlier. Let’s look at purchasing a home. The COST of a home is determined by three major components: the purchase price, mortgage interest rate, and what your income is. The big question? Are we paying a greater percentage of our income toward our monthly mortgage payment today than previous generations? Surprisingly, the answer is no. This really surprises me because I was able to get a clerk-typist job and then an office manager job, right after high school, and paid all of my bills on time. Of course, I didn’t do much else besides pay my basic bills. I also rode a city bus to and from work. It really wasn’t bad. When I bought a car and became a single parent after a brief marriage, it got tougher, but STILL I made it work……sometimes with 3 jobs, always with at least 2. When we think about how much easier it was back in the 80s and 90s, sometimes we forget the details.

 

Historically, Americans have paid just over 21% of their income toward their monthly mortgage payment.

 

Though home prices are higher than before, wages have risen as well. And, the most important component in the cost equation – the mortgage rate – is dramatically lower than it was in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. When I got my first house, I made $150 per week before taxes. My rent was $150 per month…….Perfect ratio, almost. This was in 1979. The job before that, I made $85.00 per week and my rent for a furnished apartment and shared bathroom was $75.00 per month. When I first got into real estate in 1987, the interest rate was 8% and it had been MUCH higher before that. People were thrilled with 8% and they knew they had to save their money for a 20% down payment. My, how things have changed! Interest rates are hovering below 5% right now. Most first time buyers who I meet have NO money saved for a down payment and haven’t paid much attention to their credit reports. Credit scores ALSO make a big difference in what your payment will be because lower credit scores translate to higher interest rates on your loan.

 

Today, according to the latest Home Affordability Index just released by the National Association of Realtors, Americans are paying 17.4% of their income toward their mortgage payment. That is much lower than the 21% average previous generations have paid.

  

 I can help ANYONE of ANY AGE and ANY SITUATION with their real estate needs.  I have a designation as a Senior Real Estate Specialist but lately I have really enjoyed my time with Millennials looking for first homes.  Families are  also a delight for me.  Everyone has unique needs and I strive to please. The Charleston area includes Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, the historic City of Charleston, Goose Creek, West Ashley, Cane Bay, Nexton and North Charleston. I've even sold homes in Cottageville and Walterboro. My coverage area also includes the Isle of Palms, Sullivans Island, James Island, Folly Beach, Johns Island, Awendaw and Wadmalaw Island. If you are moving to another area, I can help with that too because I belong to a huge network of Realtors from all over the world. As a Realtor with over 30 years of experience, I can help!! Call me, Pam Furst, at 843-509-5200. Don't worry about what day of the week it is or the time of day. This is a mobile phone and I work 7 days a week during whichever hours are most convenient for you. If I'm unable to answer, PLEASE leave me a message and I'll get back to you right away.

STOP Renting and OWN A HOME

 DO YOU BELIEVE IT IS POSSIBLE TO OWN YOUR A HOME????? Let’s find out if you can. I’m here to serve, to help you, not to try to talk you into anything. I won’t even make you fill out an information form in order to get information from me. All you have to do is ask, in whatever form you are most comfortable with, be it (1) email (2) text (3) phone or (4) in person…… I work in the greater Charleston area………..from Mt. Pleasant to West Ashley to N Charleston to Charleston to Goose Creek to Moncks Corner, Cross and Ridgeville………..some other outlying areas……

 

There are mortgage programs to help people who do not have much or any money saved up for a down payment. For this program, you have to have excellent credit. I have a good friend who is a mortgage broker and her specialty is HELPING people get their credit improved and to figure out HOW they can prepare to buy a home. There are mortgage programs for people with less than excellent credit, but you will need money for a down payment………possibly as little as 3%. We can often get the sellers to pay your closing costs. There are many ways to work out a plan for you to buy your first home. I have connections with numerous mortgage specialists and can help you find the best plan for YOU. The first step in buying a home is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. There is no point in finding your dream home if you are not prepared to buy it. That just leads to disappointment and frustration. I can help you from step one all the way to handing you the keys to your new home.

 

When Renting:

You have NO equity in the home. Your Rent can go Up. You can’t make changes to the home. You might not be able to have pets. It might cost just as much OR MORE than owning your own home.

 

As an Owner:

You build equity as the home appreciates in Value. You can have pets!!!! You can change anything you like to suit your own needs and personality. There are Income tax Advantages. There’s no place like Your OWN HOME.

 

If you’d like to know more, call me to chat or send me an email. We can meet for coffee and discuss what your first move should be. Usually, that is talking to a mortgage broker and I can help you with that. I’m in this for the long term so if you aren’t ready yet, I’ll help you figure out a plan to get there, even if it takes YEARS…….lol……..usually it only takes months……to get ready.. If you’ve already been preapproved, I can take you out to see any homes that meet your needs. We’d start the home searching process with me sending you links with all of the information and photos on all of the homes that meet your needs…………….you tell me: How many bedrooms? How many baths? Which general area? What you absolutely must have? What you’d like to have? AND WE WILL FIND IT TOGETHER.

 

I can even set you up to do your own searches in the Multiple Listing Service through me. WHY is the Multiple Listing Service more reliable than Zillow? BECAUSE the Multiple Listing Service is real information in real time by real REALTORS……..the best of the best for information. So call me, Pam Furst, at 843-509-5200 (my cell) or email me at pamfurst@hotmail.com AND go to my websites at www.SeniorLivingInCharleston.com or www.PamFurst.CBIntouch.com................. REACH OUT TO ME and I will promptly reach back and give you the best service you can possibly expect from a Professional WHO TRULY CARES.

 

It might be more POSSIBLE than you think, to become a HOME OWNER instead of paying rent to a landlord to make HIS/HER mortgage payment. A HOME is the best investment, because you can’t live in a Mutual Fund or in Stocks and Bonds……….. Usually, it is a long term investment and it should be. A home is a commitment, a plan for a stable future. There ARE house flippers……people who buy low, fix the home up and quickly sell them for a lot more money. I’m talking to HOMEOWNERS here, not flippers. I believe that a home is not only a sound investment but a great step towards personal peace of mind. I’ve been a homeowner since I was 19 years old. Granted my first HOME was a used mobile home in a rented mobile home park BUT I owned the home…………from there, I went on to buy actual houses and I’ve loved every single one of them. There truly is NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

 

For example, if you are paying $1100 in rent (the average in N. Charleston SC for a 2 bedroom apartment) in two years, you have paid $26,400 in rent. In five years, you have paid $66,000 in rent…..all to basically pay your landlord’s mortgage on the home AND to give him/her a huge tax deduction.

STOP investing in your landlord’s assets and START building your OWN assets……………

 

Call me 7 days a week. I WILL call you back if I don’t immediately answer, the day you call. Send me an email anytime. I promise to answer you the same day you email me. I am available to work 7 days a week, any reasonable hours of the day or night. Pam Furst 843-509-5200 or email me Pamfurst@hotmail.com Thank you for reading and have an awesome day. I look forward to hearing from you.

CO-HOUSING........... a great option for some people...Think Golden Girls

 

PICTURE IT: A HIT 1980S sitcom in which four senior women share a home in Miami. Hilarity ensues, and the world falls for "The Golden Girls." But more than just a beloved television show, the concept on which their wise and friend-first adventures were built is becoming a more common arrangement for regular people to age in place and get the most out of their later years with friends by their side.

 

Senior or elderly co-housing "isn't a new concept," says Sue Johansen, vice president of partner services with A Place for Mom, a senior referral service based in Seattle. "But what is new is that people are trying to explore it in different ways. What we're seeing today is that seniors are wanting to stay in their homes longer," with two primary reasons driving that move: socialization and cost-sharing.

 

Cost-Sharing Advantages

"It's usually the financial piece that's the stronger driver that we've seen," Johansen says. Co-housing offers multiple seniors who'd rather not move into an assisted living community or nursing home another option for staying at home longer while spending less money to keep up a separate household. "It allows both the senior who owns the home and others who rent a room to be in an independent environment for longer, to pool resources financially, to live more comfortably and to share an environment with somebody who may face similar challenges."

 

For example, if none of the co-housing residents are able to keep up with housekeeping duties, perhaps they can split the expense of hiring a cleaning service. Home health care may also be more economical when delivered in a co-housing situation. "Facilitating care for multiple residents" is a common feature of these sorts of living situations. "They may have a home care company that comes in or they may have a cleaning service or an errand service that can help serve all two or three seniors in a home together," Johansen says.

 

Similar arrangements can often be found in senior co-housing communities that have been planned to cater specifically to adults of a certain age who are living in co-housing situations. The Cohousing Association of the United States reports there are more than 160 of these communities across the U.S. today, with 130 more in development. "A cleaning service will do multiple homes on a block or a home care company will have multiple clients in a small radius," Johansen says. Grocery or meal delivery services might work with all the residents in a certain neighborhood to improve efficiencies.

 

For many seniors, that financial piece may play the biggest role in pointing them toward co-housing as their best option, says Roxanne Sorensen, an aging life care specialist and owner of Elder Care Solutions of WNY in Rochester, New York, a case management consultancy. Sorensen says that as older adults live longer, finding an affordable housing option that fits their needs is a challenge that co-housing might be able to help address. "Why not take the model of developmentally disabled group homes and mimic that for seniors?" she asks. By moving several seniors into one home rather than each living alone, that will reduce the cost of procuring home health staff while perhaps also reducing loneliness.

 

In addition, Sorensen says changes to federal programs such as Medicaid may make co-housing a more attractive option in the future. "The funding keeps drying up. Every time they do something to Medicaid it affects the seniors" and the level of care they can afford. "The people who have paid into the system like the elderly, they shouldn't be penalized," but she says reforms to federal benefits programs like Medicare and Medicaid could curtail their ability to live out their golden years the way they want.

 

Socialization Advantages

There are lots of reasons why an older adult might find him or herself feeling isolated or lonely. For one, divorce among seniors is on the rise. According to the Pew Research Center, since the 1990s, the divorce rate among adults aged 50 and over (so-called "gray divorce") has more than doubled. For others, death leaves the surviving spouse living alone. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 28 percent of people aged 65 or older lived alone when the census was conducted in 2010. And these individuals are more likely to be female, given that women's life expectancy is 81.2 years versus 76.4 years for men. (Life expectancy in the U.S. has been following a downward trend over the past several years, with an editorial in The BMJ reporting the cause being despair resulting in increased suicide and substance abuse.)

 

Social isolation and loneliness are associated with higher mortality in older adults, and senior co-housing might be an option for alleviating some of this isolation. Simply living with another person or people – especially if you have shared experiences or other things in common – can provide a wonderful opportunity to socialize and feel part of something bigger than yourself. Who wouldn't want to live with friends? Much like any other shared housing arrangement, this one can yield a new partner or friend with whom to have adventures and good times.

 

Disadvantages of Senior Co-Housing

There can also be a downside to senior co-housing. As with any roommate situation, conflicts can crop up over everything from dishes in the sink to household expenses. And as vexing as such discord can be when you're in your 20s, it may be compounded later in life by health issues and other age-related factors such as cognitive deficits or reduced mobility. "The bandwidth of dealing with the ramifications if you get into a bad situation tend to be overwhelming. That's the deterrent that has kept this from being a larger portion of what we're seeing in the marketplace in general," Johansen says.

 

One way to reduce the chances of having a bad match is to carefully select your living partners and to set out all expectations clearly and in writing right from the outset. "If they're going to go into a co-housing situation, the homeowner really needs to take the time and expense to get a rental agreement drawn up," Johansen says. That agreement should call out the specific needs that each senior has and wants to ensure are met.

 

In addition, when searching for the right roommate for this type of situation, taking a "common-sense" approach to safety should be paramount. "Be smart about how you approach it. Have the initial interviews outside of the home so you can meet somebody and not be inviting people to come into the home." If a child or other loved one is available to assist during this screening process, Johansen says that can help increase safety and the selection of the right co-housing partner or partners.

 

"The challenge to senior co-housing is it's not a very well developed network, so oftentimes people are having to seek out roommates via more traditional means," such as posting an ad on Craigslist or another roommate search service. Johansen says some services are starting to spring up to cater to this trend, such as Senior Homeshares and the Golden Girls Network. Similar to other roommate matching websites, these services seek to connect compatible seniors to share a home. Senior centers can also be a good way of finding people to share your home with.

 

The key is to "find that right roommate who's going to add to the experience rather than detract from it," Johansen says, noting that "the downsides are that if a senior moves in with another senior and both are challenged in similar ways, that can be a problem." On the other end of the spectrum "if one has higher needs than another, then one of the two ends up sometimes being the caregiver, which may not be what they wanted or signed up to do."

 

As with any roommate situation, "you run the risk of getting someone in the home who's not trustworthy, whether that be from a financial standpoint or a danger in another way," such as elder abuse, Johansen says. "Seniors opening up their homes to others can be problematic and risky," so it's important to proceed carefully if you're planning to pursue this option, as making a bad selection could actually lead to increased isolation for the homeowner, rather than the intended connection. "If you get the right person, that can be a great thing. If you don't, it can almost be more isolating to the senior who has the home because if there isn't a good fit, they tend to retreat to their respective spaces within the home and it has the opposite effect."

 

This is where a larger community might offer a better option for certain individuals, because in a larger community "you're always able to find a small group of people that you resonate with and have a shared interest with versus trying to seek that out with one or two individuals. It's part of the human condition just magnified when you're a senior and have other challenges," Johansen says. Still these arrangements can work with careful vetting, and Johansen recommends having structured activities or a connection to a nearby senior center to help improve the socialization aspect of living with other seniors.

 

This is where a larger community might offer a better option for certain individuals, because in a larger community "you're always able to find a small group of people that you resonate with and have a shared interest with versus trying to seek that out with.

 

These relationships can take a range of different forms and the details of how you slice up costs and responsibilities will vary widely based on who you're living with. In all cases, Johansen recommends considering what you're missing and what you want to get from a co-housing relationship to help guide you and find the right match. "If I'm a senior and I own my home but I'm no longer able to drive and therefore I don't get that interaction, am I looking for somebody who's still driving and someone socially engaged who can provide that link to me?"

 

For some seniors, "the finances are the biggest driver, and therefore I don't have a lot of those other softer needs. Rather I want to make sure I set the right price and we talk about who's responsible for what financially. Who's going to buy the food and pay for the electricity?" Johansen says it's important in all cases to get the financial details spelled out and to ensure that all members of the co-housing situation "understand clearly what the priorities are and set up arrangements to make sure their needs are met."

 

Despite the potential pitfalls, Sorensen says she thinks the co-housing trend is here to stay. "Some people don't want to be in a huge institution or a nursing home. If I'm in a five-person house, I'm home, right? And I still have the care I need." Sorensen says she thinks this approach is going to only grow in popularity in the coming years, as the baby boomer generation ages. "I would love to see it going that way. I think it's going to happen little by little, because I think that's what boomers want."

THIS ARTICLE WAS COPIED FROM The National Association of Realtors Senior Real Estate Specialist Newsletter.........and was written by Elaine K. Howley.........I thought she did a much better job than I could on this topic.

 

If you want to look at POSSIBLE CO-HOUSES or any other real estate, CALL ME Pam Furst 843-509-5200 pamfurst@hotmail.com www.SeniorLivingInCharleston.com

Real Estate during the “cold” months in Charleston, SC

First of all, it usually doesn’t get very cold here but on those rare days that it is below 50 degrees, the real estate market moves on. Granted, not as many sellers want to put their homes up for sale during the holidays…….BUT some have to because of job transfers, growing families, etc…………

 

The super good news is that NEW HOME BUILDERS have fabulous sales during this time, in order to reduce their inventory before the end of the year. Builders build “SPEC” homes so there is usually a good variety to choose from and at great prices during our “cold” months. SPEC homes usually show off some of the builder’s greatest features so it is a win-win. It would take all day to list all of the new home builders in Charleston so if you will tell me which area you’d like to live in, the features you’d like and your price range (after being pre-approved for a loan, of course) I will give you the list……….and then we’ll go see them in person. Think of it as “BLACK FRIDAY” for new homes…………….this is IT! The Fall-Winter months are not just a great time to buy appliances, electronics and cars…….homes are included too!

 

While we are on the subject of holidays, most Realtors don’t take whole days off unless we are on vacation. I work 7 days per week but each day I try to take some private “down time” off for myself. My “go-to” down time is an exercise class each day when possible and a ladies lunch each week plus a book club one night each week, Church on Sunday morning and singing at a nursing home one Sunday each month.

 

We use our cell phones as our mobile offices so don’t hesitate to call, any day of the week. If we are busy, you can leave a message and we’ll call you back. If it is 3:00 am, please send an email………..I use my phone as an alarm clock but it doesn’t beep when I get emails. I have actually shown and sold houses on New Year’s eve, Christmas eve, July 4 and Mother’s Day…………..of course, it is preferable to NOT see homes on holidays out of respect for the homeowners but if it is the only time you can do it, we can probably make it work. The housing market is moving so quickly in Charleston right now that IF there is a home you are really interested in, we need to look at it right away and be ready to put in a solid offer. The homes that are priced right and looking good, sell very quickly……..maybe even the first day they are on the market…………

 

SO get preapproved for a loan (I can recommend a few people) and let me know what you are looking for. I will set you up to receive all new listings in your price range and area, via email. You can look through the photos and read the complete descriptions. Let me know which ones you want to see in person and I’ll make it happen at your convenience. Once I write and negotiate the offer, I will handle all of the details while you start packing to move into your new home.

STEP 1 in Preparing Your Home for Sale

     The very first thing you should do if you are planning to sell your home is to clean it OUT.  Start packing your favorite and most sentimental and valuable items......the things you KNOW will be going with you.   Homes that are priced correctly and are in top shape are selling very quickly.  Be prepared to move in a month or two at the most, when you put your house on the market.

 

     People will be coming into your home, with a Realtor.  They will be opening cabinets and looking into closets.  Make sure that even these private areas are clean and organized.  I remember showing a house to clients over 30 years ago and the remarks they made about one couple's pantry.  The couple had all of their canned goods lined up, with labels facing forward..........very organized and very appealing to the eye.  You might think it doesn't matter but trust me, it does.   Organization and cleanliness make a good impression and good impressions lead to homes selling at top dollar.  To this day, I organize my pantry exactly the same as that couple did thirty years ago.   Having a clean and organized home will make YOU feel better too.  Selling your home and having strangers come inside to look IS invasive and can be stressful.   Organization can lead to less stress.

 

     Cleaning out all of the extra belongings, things that don't "give you joy", things that you don't use, things that you have too many of, things that you kept because someone gave them to you............all of these things should be donated, given to family members and friends, and sometimes, just put into the garbage.   Think about the new home you will be buying and which things you have NOW that will bring you JOY in your new home.   I did this when I moved from my previous house.  I was moving from a 5 bedroom, 2800 sf house into a 2 bedroom, 1150 sf house.   I disposed of quite a lot.  I HAD to.  It made me really look at my furniture and other belongings and LET THEM GO.   I actually have a friend who runs a business that helps people decide what to let go of and what to keep.   They will even auction off the items you are willing to let go of and help you get moved.

 

     If you need more encouragement for cleaning OUT and letting things go, there is a book  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing   which may help you.........

 

     Another reason for packing up your valuable and sentimental items is that prospective buyers like to IMAGINE THEMSELVES LIVING IN YOUR HOUSE.  It can be hard for some people to do that if your home is heavily decorated with your sentimental and personal items.  ALSO, as far as valuables are concerned, especially small valuables, it is better to not have temptation lying around.  We like to believe that all people are honest and moral, but unfortunately, they are not.  The Realtor who brings buyers into your home will do their best to be right beside the buyers the whole time..........but sometimes a husband and wife will go in different directions while in the house.  It happens because they might have totally different priorities.......the husband may be anxious to look at the kitchen first and the wife might head for the master bathroom.  Sometimes buyers will have multiple children with them.  It is much better not to have small valuables and collectibles out in your home when it is being shown.  Accidents can happen so your items are better packed up and out of site.

 

     If you are interested in buying and/or selling in the Charleston area, please give me a call.   (Pam Furst at 843-509-5200) I can help with advice on which things to put away before putting your house on the market.  The real estate market is moving so quickly right now.  Home values are changing all the time so you will need an up to the minute market analysis to know what your home is worth!   If you are just curious, call me for that too.  I understand wanting to know what your house is worth before making a decision to sell. I love meeting new people so I would never consider it a waste of my time.  I have the information at my fingertips through the multiple listing service and I am happy to help.

 

     I can promise to help you get the best price for your home, with the least amount of stress for you and in the shortest amount of time.   I specialize in helping people over 50, Baby Boomers and older, Empty Nesters and Retirees BUT I can help ANYONE of ANY AGE and ANY SITUATION with their real estate needs.  The Charleston area includes Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, the historic City of Charleston, Goose Creek, West Ashley, Cane Bay, Nexton and North Charleston.  I've even sold homes in Cottageville and Walterboro.  My coverage area also includes the Isle of Palms, Sullivans Island, James Island, Folly Beach, Johns Island, Awendaw and Wadmalaw Island.  If you are moving to another area, I can help with that too because I belong to a huge network of Realtor all over the world. As a Realtor with over 30 years of experience, I can help!!  Call me, Pam Furst, at 843-509-5200.  Don't worry about what day of the week it is or the time of day.  This is a mobile phone and I work 7 days a week during whichever hours are most convenient for you.  If I'm unable to answer, PLEASE leave me a message and I'll get back to you right away.

How To Succeed As a Buyer in Today's Market

HOW TO SUCCEED AS A BUYER IN A SELLER'S MARKET
What it is like to be a home buyer in today's market is very different than what it was 10 years ago, even a year ago. We have more REAL ESTATE AGENTS than we have homes listed for sale! It is definitely
 a SELLER'S MARKET in Charleston and the surrounding areas. Updated, well maintained homes are selling in the first week, sometimes the first day, if they are priced correctly.

I was with a home BUYER today. She was well educated and prepared. FIRST, she had gotten a pre-APPROVAL from her mortgage company. That is a MUST in this market. Seller's want to know that you can get a loan for their homes if they accept your offer. SECOND, she had done her homework on the internet and knew which area she wanted to live in. THIRD, she had reasonable expectations. She was willing to do minor repairs and to paint rooms if they weren't the color she would like. She was my idea of the ideal client. 

As a buyer, you should be prepared to make a solid offer on the home you wish to buy. By solid, I mean PRE-APPROVED, funds in the bank for earnest money and down payment, and as few contingencies as possible. A seller will look at the overall picture if multiple offers are made on their home. Multiple offers are common in this market. It's not just the sale price you offer. All things are considered, including your estimated closing date.

The homes we looked at today were all clean and updated. Most of them had fresh paint, freshly refinished hardwood floors, granite countertops, new appliances..........and some had a new roof and new HVAC unit. They were DRESSED to sell. We looked at four homes from an original list of thirteen. As the buyer's representative, I went out a day early and looked at the LONG list of homes to narrow it down to a more comfortable number of the homes with the most curb appeal and inside features.

Now that our offer has been accepted by the seller, the buyer will have inspections done on this particular home. She has a limited number of days to have a home inspection completed and remove THAT contingency. There will be an appraisal to make sure the house is worth the price. A CL-100 will be performed to check for termite and water damage. We will check to see if it is in a flood zone which would require an additional insurance policy. The attorney will have a title search done to make sure the seller has a clear title to convey. There are lots of details between choosing your home and moving into it! That is why you need professional representation no matter which side of the equation you are on.

How Real Estate Has Changed in the Past 10 Years

 My, how things have changed. I sold Real Estate for over 20 years and then took a ten year break to work in the healthcare industry. I was broker in charge and owner of my own company, Southern Traditions Real Estate, in Charleston, from 1995-2008. Before that, I worked in Columbia, SC, for Coldwell Banker and then Re-Max. I'm EXPERIENCED, seriously experienced....but now that I'm back, it seems that everything has changed. I placed my license with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage because I truly believe they have the best education and support for agents and for their clients......PLUS Coldwell Banker is worldwide. I can refer people to a qualified agent anywhere in the WORLD.

Change Number ONE..................ten years ago, the majority of homes on the market were Short Sales and Foreclosures. I actually got out of the business because I did not want to gain from the suffering of others. NOW, there is a SHORTAGE of homes for sale and the prices just keep rising. If you are a homeowner who wants to downsize, this is the time. If you are a buyer, don't wait because the prices are continuing to rise. Ten years ago, many people were upside down (owed more than their homes were worth) but if you held onto your home, you can likely make some money on it NOW. Home ownership is a long term investment. It's similar to the stock market, in that you should hold onto your home through the bad times because GOOD times WILL come back. 

Change Number TWO...........technology!!!!!!!!!!! When I left the real estate business, we were online for MLS and had basically the same type of lockboxes and keys BUT the whole MLS has changed. Before, we had onsite classes at MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and NOW they have webinars. So far, I haven't been free at the time of the webinars that I need/want because I am taking multiple classes in OTHER technology. I long for the days when you just had to know REAL ESTATE. Alas, those days are gone. When I first got into real estate in 1987, we did not have computers or cell phones. We had digital pagers and had to go to a payphone to call people back. We did not have online MLS. We got a heavy, thick, black and white book (with very little information) every two weeks. It was harder then but I didn't know any better because it was what it was.

Change Number THREE........The consumer/client/customer/buyer/seller has so much information at their fingertips. They can pretty much decide where they want to live before calling a Realtor. You DO need a Realtor. You are at a great disadvantage if you try to do it all on your own.

Change Number FOUR.........Everything changes but the basics are still the same. You want to buy a house or sell a house, and you need a Realtor to help you with that. There are approximately 20 pages of forms that must be filled out (properly) before you get to the closing attorney. You need an experienced, knowledgeable Realtor to do that for you. We can also make looking at homes and choosing what you want, a very pleasant and stress free experience.

The first step is to call your Realtor (or me, if you don't have one). A good Realtor will FIRST prequalify you for a loan by setting you up with a Mortgage Broker. You need to know what you can afford and qualify for before you start looking at homes. The second step is to set you up with a flow of listings based on what you need and want in a home, IN YOUR price range. I can have all home listings sent to you at your request, delivered into your email as they come on the market. The third step is to narrow down the choices, The fourth step is go out and look at the homes in person. As your Realtor, I would make the appointments at each house and map out the most efficient order in which to see them. I can also provide you with detailed information on the home and the area. If you find your dream home, I would write the offer for you and fill out all those pages of paperwork. I would give you the SELLER'S DISLOSURE. Then I would submit the offer to the listing agent, who takes it to their client, the seller. If we agree on terms, a lot of things happen...........from the Mortgage Company doing their part to the Closing attorney doing their part to home inspections, CL100s, a title search, obtaining homeowner's insurance (and possibly flood insurance)............lots of details.