Welcome and Thank You!

I want to personally thank you for cheking out our blog and staying in touch with the real estate market in this area. I have a daily focus on the market and keep my finger on the pulse of each community we serve. I hope that you find the information contained here to be insightful and helpful and that your connection allows you comfort in relying on me for all your real estate needs no matter where you live in the country. Have an awesome day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SOLD in 30 days or less!

Looking over the market information today one interesting number jumped out at me, especially given the fact that we are in the Holiday Season.  234.  That is the number of homes and condos that came on the market to sell on or after November 1st that are already under contract!  Of the 234 properties only 31 of them were distressed properties.  If you remove the Distressed properties that means that almost 7 properties of the 30 that sell everyday sell within 30 days of hitting the market.

203 property sellers that are not desperate to sell, but are motivated to price their properties correclty for the market will be celebrating the end of the year without another mortgage payment, or HOA payment or taxes for 2015!

It proves that when a property comes to market and is priced correctly it doesn't matter what month it is or what the temperature is outside - it will sell.

If you have been on the market for a long time take a god look at the ONLY three reasons properties don't sell and evaluate yours -  Price, Condition or exposure.  Something isn't working and needs to be changed.

Our market doesn't stop in November and December, so don't allow this to be an excuse for you or the agent you are working with.

If you would enjoy seeing any of the market information please let me know and I'll drop it in your inbox without question.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Is Waiting For Spring Your Best Strategy To Sell?

This is an age-old question that continues to be asked even in the 21st Century.  I believe this question must have started back in the 1950's (or before) when potential buyer's had to drive around to see every property and they didn't want to do so when the weather was cold.  I have heard the question enough that it finally caused me to do the research to see if it is still better to wait until spring like it was a few decades ago.  The market facts for the Grand Strand show two very interesting things; First the spring quarter (1st quarter) is the slowest period for sales in our market.  Second, the difference between the worst quarter and the best quarter is almost insignificant.  When you look at the total number of properties sold broken down over the four quarters we see that our area is very consistent.  Probably most areas are now, unless you have to contend with 4-5 feet of snow on the ground.  I beolieve there are a couple good reasons for this and the best one is that the Grand Strand has a large enough population now that it isn't so seasonal anymore (have you been on Hwy 17 lately since September?).  We have a large enough buyer pool to support year-round real estate sales.  Sure, the market is still seasonal for bathing suits, restaurants and gold courses, but not real estate.  The second reason is due to the advancement in technology.  Shopping for real estate starts on a couch somewhere and grows into a visit to the property.  If a potential Buyer is sitting in Toms River, NJ thinking of buying in Myrtle Beach and sees a property of interest they won't wait until beach weather to come see it.  
So, is it better to wait?  Waiting or moving forward to sell a property should be decided by your desire to sell, financial information and the other properties you'll compete against - but not the weather.
If you would like to see the quarterly report for selling volume email us at info@benguyton.com with Quarterly Report in your subject line.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What you should demand from any real estate agent you consider

Are you thinking of selling your house? Are you dreading having to deal with strangers walking through the house? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of selling. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant.
You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one.
Here are the top 5 demands to make of your Real Estate Agent when selling your house:

1. Tell the truth about the price

Too many agents just take the listing at any price and then try to the ‘work the seller’ for a price correction later. Demand that the agent prove to you that they have a belief in the price they are suggesting. Make them show you their plan to sell the house at that price – TWICE! Every house in today’s market must be sold two times – first to a buyer and then to the bank.
The second sale may be more difficult than the first. The residential appraisal process has gotten tougher. A recent survey showed that there was a challenge with the appraisal on 24% of all residential real estate transactions. It has become more difficult to get the banks to agree on the contract price. A red flag should be raised if your agent is not discussing this with you at the time of the listing.

2. Understand the timetable with which your family is dealing

You will be moving your family to a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan.
This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. You agent cannot pick the exact date of your move, but they should exert any influence they can, to make it work.

3. Remove as many of the challenges as possible

It is imperative that your agent knows how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.
Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on the parts of the listing contract that were most important to them and their family  (commission, length, etc.), don’t expect them to turn into Super hero when they are negotiating for you and your family with your buyer.

4. Help with the relocation

If you haven’t yet picked your new home, make sure the agent is capable and willing to help you. The coordination of the move is crucial. You don’t want to be without a roof over your head the night of the closing. Likewise, you don’t want to end up paying two housing expenses (whether it is rent or mortgage). You should, in most cases, be able to close on your current home and immediately move into your new residence.

5. Get the house SOLD!

There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving.
You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with selling. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that selling the house is why you hired them. Make sure that they don’t worry about your feelings more than they worry about your family. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. price correction, repair, removing clutter), insist they have the courage to inform you.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Single Family Home Sales up 30% in 2014. Is it really? Read on to truly understand what is happening in the market.

We all yearn for good news and the real estate market is no different.  After a 5 years slide to the bottom of pricing we all started getting really excited in 2012 when the reports stated that prices had "bottomed out".  As we look back a couple years now to 2012 we see that those reports were true; prices did bottom in 2012, then they got stuck there!  Sure, there has been a few bright sub-markets that have seen anywhere from 2% - 4% appreciation over the last couple years, but most areas along the Grand Strand are the same prices as the spring of 2012.  Another absolute bright spot for the single family market here has been demand.  Demand jumped up last year from a pretty slow 2011 & 2012, Then 2014 came in like a lion! Looking at the comparison of number quarter to quarter the selling pace has increased a whopping 30% this year in single family homes.  That alone is great news, whether you are a Buyer or Seller, and usually enough information for us to start posting the news on every social site available...but let's dig a little deeper.  You see, with the increase in demand last year and the slight increase in prices it was enough to send the builders in our market into a frenzy.  You can see the trusses flying in a lot of neighborhoods around the beach.  This observation was enough to cause a more in depth look at the demand side of our market.  What I found, after eliminating the sold homes that are new, or never lived in, is that for existing homes along the Grand Strand the market has improved exactly 3%.  Not 30%.  There has been a 27% increase in New Home Sales in 2014 over 2013.  What does this mean to you if you are a Buyer or Seller of real estate right now?  As a Buyer it means you better get your act in gear and find your motivation to buy the house you want.  The New Home market is just now heating up and the builders are willing to do things to get you to buy that they won't do next year.  It also means that when you look at the market median pricing that we should see small increases as the next 12 months goes on.  While this can be an unimportant number, the Builders will use it to justify their pricing and reduced incentives.  These figures will also drive the existing home market causing many sellers to ask too much for their homes and remain fixed on that price, thereby reducing the selection of correctly priced homes available.  
If you are a home seller right now - beware.  There is a new competitor in town.  The last 5 years your competition has been distressed homes for sale.  Today, as I write this there are 3203 homes on the market and 216 of them are distressed.  They don't effect your pricing anymore.  In the past a Buyer may be willing to pay more for your home because of condition over a foreclosure.  Today, your competition is NEW.  Shiny, bright, pick-what-I-want, NEW.  Your competition is more fierce now.  As an existing home seller you need to know the truth about the market and understand what you are competing against.  Sure, not all Buyers want New and not all New Homes are in desirable areas.  Many builders are having to build under "value engineering" strategy in order to make a profit, so you lose some of the bells and whistles.  I encourage you to dig deeper than the surface of information you typically receive about the market to be fully informed on how to price your home.  Don;t be misled to believe the housing market is up 30%, because it is not.  The market for your type of house is up 3%.  Three percent higher demand against an 8.5 month supply of homes doesn't typically make headlines.  
Let's be clear.  Factoring in all areas and all categories of the market along the Grand Strand we have seen improved demand and that is great news.  Single family homes sales are outpacing condo sales by a wide margin and mainly due to the New stuff.  There is less than 3% New Condo sales volume here right now, so condo owners aren't competing with New...yet.  
I hope you've found this information helpful and if it raised a few questions let me hear about it.  If I'm not meeting with you about your property, or showing your property to a Buyer my head is usually buried in the figures.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Living in a terrible real estate market

Most days I have the pleasure of talking about real estate to dozens and dozens of people which gives me the opportunity to ask a lot of questions.  When you talk with enough people and ask enough questions you start to see patterns form with the answers you receive.  One of the Mysteries of the Real Estate industry is the answer to the question; Why hasn't your property sold?  The consistent answer we hear is "The Market".

First, you must understand that the market has never been responsible for any real estate owner to sell or not sell a property.  The market with real estate, like anything else offered for sale, is dependent upon the demand for the product and the amount of the product available to meet that demand.  I do get the excuse that the reason a property won't sell is "The Market", but let's look truthfully at the real reason before moving on to the numbers -  It is a Seller's willingness or unwillingness to accept a price for a property that will cause  it to sell or keep it from selling, not the market.  As a seller, you always want to evaluate the hold & see approach against the costs associated with doing so and what likelihood there is that prices will improve.  You can do it in the back room, so no one sees you do it and make the decision yourself without telling anyone, so don't be afraid.  You actually should be afraid to NOT do it, but make sure you're using facts and not HOPE as your driver.

Let's pretend for a moment that "The Market" is the cause of a property not selling.  This exercise got me thinking about the past and reflecting on the "Great" market we were in back in 2006.  You'll remember 2006 because it is the year every property owner thinks is returning next year...well next year...or next year.  I went back in time (via MLS system) to see what was going on back in the single best year of real estate sales in the history of our nation and it is interesting what I saw.

Since we are a seasonal area, many people also believe July is the best sales month of the year, so I pulled the selling numbers for July in both 2006 and 2014.  I also pulled the year-to-date numbers from January to August 21st for both of the same years.  You think we are in a bad real estate market?  Read the numbers below -

July 2006 had 512 homes sale.  July 2014 had 593 home sale.  That's right - Better in 2014 than 2006!
2006 Jan - Aug had 3958 total homes sale.  2014 Jan - Aug had 3893 homes sale - 8 less homes per month sell in 2014 to date as there were in the best market ever!   A Bad market??

But let's look at Condo & Townhome sales -

July 2006 had 396 condos sale.  July 2014 had 382 condos sale.
2006 Jan - Aug had 4488 condos sale.  2014 Jan - Aug had 2613 condos sale.
You can see that where July wasn't far apart in the different years the annualized number is WAY off.  Over 550 fewer condos are selling per month in 2014 than in 2006, but there are still an average of 326 condos selling every single month right now.

Land sales are roughly half right now than what they were in 2006, except in 2006 there were large tracts selling to developers where the current sales are driven by individual lot sales.  Land is a super challenged segment of our local market and will remain that way for many more years.

So, when you truly examine the numbers of properties selling you cannot deny that the market today is not drastically different than the best market ever.  Of course this relates only to selling volume and not pricing...which is kind of the point.  It is always about the price and no matter how much we, as homeowners, don't want to hear it that doesn't change the fact. 

"The Market" is never the culprit for you not selling your property.  It is all about you making the decision to sell or not sell as it relates to today's market. As an example, if the true market pricing is on a property is $250,000, but you won't sell for less than $290,000 why would you put it on the market? (see previous post about the dumb buyer).  If you don't put it on the market because you feel it will get better down the road, then look at the potential and probable appreciation that needs to happen.  Let's assume that the market returns to 3% appreciation year over year for the next 5 years.  You would arrive at your target $290,000 price at the end of the 5th year and again assuming an average cost of $2,000 per month to carry the property, you only invested $120,000 to get your $40,000!  The only thing more wrong than investing $120,000 to get a $40,000 return is expecting the real estate market to guarantee a 3% annualized return for the next 5 years.  Do you really want to put your life on hold for this hope?

If selling is you goal, then make the decision on the facts and if you just can't do it then stop thinking about selling all together.

Get out of 2006 and understand that today's market is 2014 - 8 years removed from what you may still be waiting to return.

Let's talk about it -

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pretty Real Estate Ads Don't Make Buyer's Dumber

I came across an interesting article recently that was written by a respected organization followed by thousands of consumers and real estate agents that caught my attention.  As I read the article it seemed to have been written from the thoughts in my head over the last 7 years and I was happy to see someone put it out there.  The basis of the article was that running a lot of ads in magazines or newspapers for a property will not cause a real estate Buyer to abandon logic and market research to buy a property.  In fact, the article stated, as I agree, that advertising real estate in today's world is a waste.  In many ways, the real estate industry is a mixed bag of being stuck in the past and rushing to the "future" at the same time.  In the past, there was no consumer sites that were syndicated from local Multiple Listing Services.  In the past, the only way to know about what was actually available for sale was a newspaper ad, a yard sign, or maybe a flyer mailed to you, or even a direct phone call.  The ease by which all Buyer's find properties today wasn't around a couple decades ago.  From the main sites such as Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia to the secondary sites like agent IDX sites with property triggers and google alerts there are hundreds of ways that the buying consumer searches for real estate today other than the way they had to 20+ years ago.  When the MLS became a web-based application it started a different way for agents to work.  When a property is now listed in the MLS it is instantly broadcast to the entire agent population of our association, which is 2700 agents!  In addition to the initial notice of a new listing, all consumer sites, agent sites and alerts have the ability to set triggers to email a Buyer of when a property that matches their criteria hits the market.  There is generally no doubt that a property is being seen, or can be seen when listed.  The future that so many agents get caught up in is the "Social Media" trend that is sweeping across our industry.  Could buying a home on Facebook be the wave of the future?  Probably not, but it certainly won't be the trend for a long, long, long, long time if ever, so why waste time here?

So why isn't your property selling?

Look at your price -
You may think there simply are no buyer's in the market.  That would be untrue.  In August 2007, widely considered one of the best markets in history, there were 30 properties per day that closed.  In August 2011, widely considered one of the slowest markets on the Grand Strand, there were 26 properties per day that closed.  4 properties per day difference between the best and worst markets seems crazy, but it is true.  Buyer's are in the market buying everyday, no matter the market.  Look at it this way, would someone buy your property for $150.00?  Would they buy it for $2,000.00?  How about $10,000.00?  Of course they would and that proves the point.  Every property has a price that will cause it to sell.  No exception.  You have to decide if you are willing to accept what the current market value is for your property.  That is a decision that only you can make, but your decision doesn't make the market.  The market is the exact range for which a Buyer is willing to Buy and a Seller is willing to sell a property, product, or gallon of gas...and not a penny more.  Don't be fooled into thinking that your year-old air conditioner that cost you $4,500.00 to install adds $10,000.00 to the value of your property over the others that have SOLD.  Does this mean that you can just liquidate a property without the help of a real estate agent?  It is an option, for sure, but not one that has a high success rate.  The process of getting your property sold absolutely requires a strong professional that is willing to guide you to market, or guide you away from the market.  When you look at market statistics where your property is located there isn't a huge curve for interpretation.  What you see and what a Buyer sees, is what every agent should also see for value.  The right, well-informed agent won't bend on their estimation of value, but will be able to exhibit to you why it is the price and exactly what they will do to expose the home and sell it.  If your price doesn't match with the market, don't put it on the market, period.  There are already too many sellers searching for that ONE, Dumb Buyer that will abandon market facts, fall in love with their property instantly and pay cash so an appraiser won't come look at it.  He or she may be out there, but boy do they have a big selection of overprice properties to consider.

A recent NAR survey revealed that the NUMBER ONE benefit a Seller wants from their agent is assistance in setting a competitive price.  It is truly one of, if not the most important things an agent can do for you as a seller.  Remember, big, bright and beautiful ads don't cause Buyer's to become dumber.  Get a Great agent, price your property correctly and don;t believe advertising more will create a group of Buyers that don't understand value!

Besides, when was the last time you paid $10.00 for a gallon of milk because of the "Got Milk" ad?

Think about it -

Click HERE for a great Market Report delivered directly to your inbox!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The negative impact of sharing your thoughts...

Do you believe that what you say about your community, neighborhood, home or neighbor can impact the value of your property?  Allow this factual case-in-point -

Recently we received two offers on a property and ultimately decided on one with the other becoming a back-up contract.  During the day or two after the contract was verbally accepted the Buyers returned to the property, excited and ready to take some measurements.  During their visit they encountered a couple of homeowners and a renter that all lived in the community.  As would be normal, they struck up a conversation and asked questions about their experience in the community.  Based entirely on those conversations the Buyer's excitement turned to remorse and they pulled the contract.  Fortunately, there was a backup contract on the property, but at a 5% less price than the first contract.

Now, obviously this property selling for 5% less than a previous accepted contract means this specific seller received less for their property, but doesn't their value effect yours if you live in the same community?  Certainly it does.

It seems to be our nature to vent and enthusiastically share the negative things that cause us to dislike something; in this case a real estate community.  I do not propose to hide things or paint a glamorous picture in a situation that doesn't deserve it, but if there was nothing good to share why do you live there?

Understand that when you are asked about a community people are looking for validation of their feelings they already have for the community, they aren't just out seeking to learn of your bad experience.  I would imagine that in every single neighborhood in our great country the owners there, if they look hard enough, would find something they would change or dislike.  Does that have to be the very first, and sometimes only, thing you share?

I encourage you to think through your advice to someone asking about the very place you invested your money.  Only sharing the "horrible" things or your take on what the builder "should have done" is taking money out of your pocket and only makes your decision to buy there look pretty bad.  Find the good in your community or call me and I'll find a buyer for your property that will appreciate the good things the community offers.  Move on!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Market Leader - BY FAR!

Numbers Never Lie!

Here is a very interesting record that I thought was worthwhile sharing -

Over the last 20 year period The Hoffman Group has out performed every Real Estate Agency in the Myrtle Beach market by a huge margin.

The Facts of the market show over $709,000,000.00 in more sales volume than the number two agency in town.  Roughly, $2.8 Billion in real estate sales v. $2.1 Billion by the distant #2 agency.

The total number of properties sold is also a landslide difference -

The Hoffman Group has outsold all other agencies during the period of 1994 - 2014 (April) by a minimum of 3,650 total properties.  

Based on the annual selling rate of the top agencies in town - If The Hoffman Group stopped selling today it would take the number two agency 8 years to catch up!

If your looking for Real Estate guidance why wouldn't you choose the Market Leader?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Frozen Day at the beach!

Mark January 29, 2014 as the day that time stood still!  Not much snow from the winter storm at the beach, but plenty of ICE!  It was a tricky ride to the office today, but no accidents or issues.  Looking forward to warmer temps in the days ahead!  Stay Tuned!

Monday, January 20, 2014

2013 appeared to be an amazing year for the Real Estate market nationally, but how did it fare where your property is located?  You've heard that Real Estate is Hyper-local and that proved to be very true along the Grand Strand in 2013.


Welcome to 2014; the year of the Amazing Real Estate market, right?  If you are a believer that past performance is an indication of future results you are taking the 2013 results and increasing them for this year, right?  Well, I have the good fortune to speak with dozens of people daily that have learned a lesson in Real Estate over the past 5 years and most are not on the bandwagon.  Before we look ahead to what may be in 2014, let's look back to 2013 and see how it fared against the previous year of 2012.  We have to see where we have come from, annualized, to see where we may go this year.  In its entirety, 2013 did prove to be a good year for housing.  Selling volume and sales prices were broadly higher in 2013 while inventory levels and days on market were lower.  The Grand Strand's inventory started the year with 9.5 month supply of homes and 10.5 month supply of condos (including Town homes) and ended the year down 15.7% & 5.6% respectively.  The tightening of the supply side aided in homes that sold getting slightly better selling prices with homes up 5.5% and condos up 2.5% for the year.  Been a while since any increase in pricing has been discussed, right?  Good News!  As for the demand side; single family homes had a whopping 19.2 annual increase and condos saw a 5.4% increase!  Remember these numbers.  The amount of time it took to get a property sold decreased slightly over the year with homes being down 6 days and condos down 9 days.  In review, the market had good positive numbers for the year along the Grand Strand with a gradual. slow climb out of the low levels it reached and has remained since 2010.  How can you use this information to look ahead?  Well, there are a few important numbers I believe can give us a general idea of what may happen.  As with any market you need to look at the supply vs.demand and the outcome.  Take a look at the previous numbers of single family home demand - UP 19.2% from the previous year, which effected pricing by 5.5%.  Would it be safe to think that another 19% increase would net us another 5.5% increase?  Sure, but there are other factors too; mainly the supply.  The Supply of homes did continue to decrease throughout 2013 and the decrease had a positive effect on pricing too.  I don't believe it will be the same in 2014.  There are two important things happening in the market right now that will effect supply in 2014; First, builders are building again.  Ride through any of the neighborhoods that have sat quiet that last few years and you'll see it happening.  The trucks are back and the cranes are flying trusses.  New Home construction will be a player in the supply side of the market this year.  Second, the holders-on are moving forward now.  The homeowners that haven't been able to swallow the market pricing over the past few years are going on the market now.  Many of these sellers are priced way out of the market, but they are on the market.  Some never left!  I actually came across a listing the other day that had been on the market for over 2,000 days!  It is an injustice!  Anyway, these homeowners will supply the market with homes at least for the first part of the year in hopes that the market has come up to meet their selling price.  In many cases, it won't.  There are also two important things that will happen in mortgage lending that will impact home sales in 2014.  First, rates will be higher.  Many estimate rates to jump to 5.5% range in the first quarter.  While it is still an amazing rate the threshold has been set and most Buyer's will be disappointed that 4.5% is not available any longer.  Others that can still afford to buy will hold back for a few months hoping for a rate decline before coming back in the market.  The second thing is the QM Rule.  The Qualified Mortgage rule is part of the Dodd-Frank act and will eliminate more Buyer's from qualifying for a mortgage.  There are industry-wide restrictions that cannot be broken by lenders in an effort to reduce high-risk loans.  This is another of the safety nets put into place after the real estate meltdown that will prevent 2006/2007 real estate markets from ever happening again.
Looking into the future (and making some assumptions), I see a market very similar to last year ahead of us.  I believe both single family homes and condos will see low single digit appreciation with higher than expected demand.  We will continue to see pockets of distressed (primarily Foreclosure) properties in the market, but the saturation levels should remain below 8% overall.  Short Sales have simply become so difficult for approval due to lender valuation many sellers aren't even trying any longer.  I do believe interest rates will rise, but our Buyers along the Grand Strand are generally smart to understand the small impact 1% can make.  Investors will remain in the market, but won't be the driving force this segment was in 2012 or 2013.  Certain sub-markets will see very high demand and the great properties in these markets will get multiple offers before selling, but only at what the market will bear.  Many Buyer's still know there is selection out there and won't get caught up in fighting over a market price.  The balance of pricing will be somewhat controlled by New Home supply, at least in single family homes.  There won't be any volume in condo New Construction until 2015 or 2016.  
I am very excited about the market ahead for both Buyer's and Seller's.  We won't be back in a market that sees 20% appreciation in a year, but given where we've been I think 3% - 5% appreciation is something to get thrilled about!
If you would like a full 13 page detail of the market in review emailed to you just let me know.  Email me at ben@benguyton.com with 2013 Market Report in the subject line.
I look forward to our next conversation!