Fix and Flip…Is It For You?

Hello again.  Today we are going to do a little think tank experiment about fix-and-flip real estate projects.  I’m here to tell you that I’m neither for nor against them.  Arguably, they are one way to make fast cash in the real estate biz however, they are also a quick sinkhole for the inexperienced fixer-upper.  For those of you who just can’t stand having a reality check, this article is not for you.  On the other hand, if you like to know what you’re about to get into before you do something, keep on reading.  I, myself, love the idea of taking a little bungalow and turning it into tomorrows Coastal Living magazine cover but, there is so much more to it than just having a desire to make something beautiful again.

Scenario Number 1

First and foremost, I’m going to be brutally honest here.  We live in Charleston, South Carolina, not somewhere less traveled so keep that in mind. If…and I do mean IF you can find a home in a neighborhood that is up and coming for less than $50K then you may have found a keeper.  The chances are so very slim that you will but, if you do, consider yourself exceedingly lucky.  There is a formula that I want you to try out before you start making investments of this nature.  It looks like this.

Ex. #1

Cost of Home x 3 – 80% = a great investment

That means in the scenario above if you found a $50K house to purchase and you could potentially sell it for three times the price that you bought it for ($150K) but it cost you 80% of the new sales price to fix it up then you’d be doing just fine.

Do you want $25K or $30K?

I am going to preface this by saying that most flippers are looking for a quick $25K-30K on an investment of this price but, the dynamics change a little when you start inching up the initial price of the home.

Scenario Number 2

For example, let’s say you find a home for $75K that you think you could sell for 3x the price after it’s renovated.  That would give you a final sales price of $225K.  How often do you find a $75K investment house in a neighborhood with homes which are valued between $200K and $250K?  I’m willing to bet it’s not often at all.  If you do, jump on it.  That being said, this scenario will need to be tweaked a bit for you to understand what I’m conveying here.  This one looks more like this.

Ex. #2

Cost of Home x 2 – 83% = a moderate investment

This example would substantially limit the amount of money you could use to fix up the home and requires you to “Know That You Know” that there will be no hidden costs or unforeseen structural issues. Not to mention that you will only end up with $25K in the end.  Hypothetically, the same amount of work as the first example but, less reward.  Just keep that in mind.

Scenario Number 3

This one is the sweet spot.  It assumes that you have plenty of money to begin this investment project with.  Let’s say you start with $200K of your own money.  You purchase a home for $125K which is doable in the Lowcountry.  You don’t owe the bank anything and you’re not on the hook for the thousands of dollars which a “Hard Money Loan” is going to cost you.  Now you have $75K to utilize in your flip endeavor and you will likely use all of it for the record.  After this investment home sells, let’s say that you end up with $30K in your pocket.  Here is how this one looks. (Roughly)

Ex. #3

Cost of Home x 1.85 – 87% = a great investment

Are you beginning to see the trend?  There is another angle I’d like to add to this.  You must buy, fix and sell the home within about 5 months.  You may have more time with scenario #3 however, the other two assume that you borrowed the money to start with and when you do that,  the profitability of your investment is significantly affected.

fix and flip pic

There are no shortage of homes that qualify for a fix and flip.  I am saying this because sometimes we pigeon-hole ourselves into thinking that it has to look like one we’ve seen on television in California.  I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t.  If this is your first endeavor, go slow.  Don’t plan on tearing down walls or reimagining the floor plan to include another bedroom by closing in the garage.  Yes, people do that but, it will not increase the value of your house. Period.

And Another Thing…While I’m On My Soapbox

I was recently at a showing for a home which was on almost a half acre of land, .45 to be exact.  The house probably could have been torn down and would have been easier to deal with but, the sales price was only $54.9K and my buyer really wanted to make something of it. Upon further inspection, we couldn’t make sense of it, at least not for her.  She was planning to use a 203 (k) loan for the purchase and it would have cost more to fix it than it would have been worth in the end.  This is the opposite extreme.  She was a single lady with all the gumption in the world but, she didn’t have a construction crew in her hip pocket.  They don’t just appear out of thin air and well, it’s no secret that sometimes they don’t show up at all.  So, be very careful about what you get yourself into.  Do Not, I repeat, Do Not hire a fly by night construction firm.  Do your research and make sure that they are licensed, bonded and insured.  Sometimes, even the good guys make mistakes and if they do, at least you’ll be covered.

ROI

ROI stands for Return on Investment.  It is a simple calculation used for any number of investments from stocks and bonds to real estate and it can help you to easily comprehend the percentage of gain or loss on your transaction.

Here is the formula.

ROI = (Gain on investment – Cost of investment) / Cost of investment

This is what you should consider as the basis for your transaction before you ever begin.  You will want to know how much you stand to gain or lose before you invest.

As in Example #1.  If you purchase the house for $50K and it costs you $70K to fix it up then it sells for $150K this is how the formula would look.

($150K – $120K ) / $120K = .25 or 25% ROI

For the purpose of this demonstration, I’ve used the most simplistic application of this formula.  When trying to determine Return on Investment (ROI) for varied types of transactions, you should include in your calculation the time it takes to come up with the end result.

ROI + Time

Again, for example, if you were doing two fix and flip jobs and you wanted to determine which one was the most profitable.  You would want to include the amount of time it took to reach the end result especially if one house took a year to come to completion and the other only took five months.

Let’s use example #2 here.

($150K – $125K) / $125K = .20 or 20% ROI

If, in this example, it took us 5 months to come to completion but, in example #1 it took us 12 months we would have to make an additional calculation.  There are 12 months in a year and we would need to adjust for that so…

In example #1 you would calculate  .25 / 12mo = .02 or approximately 2% per month as your gain.

And, in example #2 you would do the same .20 / 5mo = .08 or approximately  8% per month as your gain.

Here you can see that while it appears in Scenario #2 you made less money overall, your ROI per month is greater than that of Example #1.

To Be Continued…

There are numerous contributing factors to the profitability of any fix and flip project.  Please note that I have only skimmed the surface of this subject and I do plan on diving deeper in future blog posts.  For now, I hope you have found this information to be useful.  If I can help you to find a suitable property for investment or even for your personal use feel free to call, text or email me anytime.

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ROI For Rental Properties

Here is a quick calculation for rental property Return On Investment that you can use to determine whether or not your property is viable. Other expenses may be incurred or added to the calculation as deemed necessary.

*This is not legal advice and is being used for demonstration purposes only.

 

Annual Rental Income

– Annual Property Tax

– 2 Months Vacancy

– 15% Repair & Maintenance + Insurance Expense

– Annual Mortgage Payment

____________________________________________

Net Income ÷ Cost of Investment x 100 = ROI %

 

** Calculations contained herein are for demonstration purposes only and are not to be construed as actual income, expenses or ROI.  This is not legal advice nor is it to be used in a court of law for any purpose other than demonstration.

Investors: Cheaper Isn’t Always Better In Charleston, South Carolina

I’m going to try to read the minds of the real estate investors for a moment so bear with me.  It has come to my attention in recent weeks that many investors believe that they can purchase a rental property in Charleston or the surrounding areas for $125K or less and make money on it.  While this is a viable model in some cities, I’m going to tell you why it may not be such a great plan for this market.

The Same Bad Plan

I have been researching a few different areas for investors in the past few months and I’m coming across some distinctly similar approaches to rental property ownership.  Here is what I mean, the investor wants to spend less than 100K and seems to think that the house will be a turnkey rental with little or no maintenance plus, they think that the neighborhood would be suitable for a lower to a middle-class family.  To put it bluntly, that is not going to happen here.

Time to Rethink

Now I’m not saying that it could never happen but, the chances are so very slim that I feel perfectly justified saying, “please rethink your strategy.”  I’m one who likes to see things through and If (and I do mean if) you find a property in that price range now, please know that when it comes time to sell it, you will likely be selling at a loss nevermind the depreciation you’re required to take on that business property.  Here is a short example of what I’m talking about.

Scenario #1

You find a rental property for $125K and begin making money on it.  Let’s say that your rent is $800 per month and to keep it simple we start in January.  The income on that property would be $800 x 12 = $9600 per year.  Again, to keep it simple, your depreciation on that property might be $4,000 per year and if you keep it for 10 years that would be $40K in depreciation that would have to be recaptured upon the sale of the property.  If you were fortunate enough to sell it after 10 years for $150K, which I seriously doubt, for a home in this price range in this area.  You would have a gain which may require you to pay capital gains tax AND you also have to recapture the depreciation which means you are now paying tax on the gain plus $40K.  In this example, that would be $150 – $125 = $25K on the appreciation plus the $40K so, $65K.

Capital Gains

At a minimum, your capital gains tax rate on this transaction alone would be 15%.  To calculate, 65K x 15% is $9,750 which is more than 1 year’s rental income without any expenses subtracted.

The Ultimate Best Case Scenario Results In A Loss For You

Let me get straight to the point.  If you were able to retain every single penny of your rental income $9600 per year x 10 years =$96,000 then, after the sale of the property, you would end up with $96,000(rental income) – $9,750(Fed. taxes) = $86,250(net gains).  Then you must account for your original investment of $125K for the purchase of the house. $86,250(net gains) + $25,000(gain on the sale of the house) = 111,250 (total gain) – $125K(original price of the house) = – $13,750.  Yes, this example assumes that you own the house outright.  There are other scenarios that could play out if you leverage your money by financing part of the house but, I’m willing to bet that you couldn’t find one that would cause you to be profitable after 10 years.

There Is Hope

For the record, I have owned rental property and it is no easy task.  But, for those of you who are adamant about utilizing this stream of income, let me give you an example of what works.

Scenario #2… A Better Plan

Again, this is assuming no mortgage or leveraging of investment money.  You purchase a house in one of the better middle-income neighborhoods in Charleston or the surrounding areas.  A typical middle-income house will cost you around $200K.  This house will not be brand new and will likely need some minor work here and there but, compared to that $125K house in the last example, its night and day.  You rent this house for $1700 per month again assuming we start in January and end in December. Here is the calculation.  $1700 x 12 =$20,400  Then take this annual income times 10 years and that would be $204,000.  Assuming the same appreciation of 25K, you sell the house for $225K.  Your annual depreciation would be approximately $6,700 per year again after 10 years your recapture would be $67,000.  Good news.  The same 15% capital gains tax rate applies so… $67,000 (depreciation recapture + $25,000(appreciation on the house) = $92,000 x 15%(min. cap. gains rate) = $13,800.  Let’s do the math a little further.

The Ultimate Best Case Scenario Results In A Gain For You

If you kept every dime of rental income for 10 years you would have $204,000(rental income) – $13,800(Fed. taxes) = $190,200 (net gains) + $25K(appreciation) = $215,200(total gain) – $200K (original price of the house) = +$15,200

Other Tax Benefits Ease The Pain

Now, I have made a lot of unreasonable assumptions here.  There will be many expenses involved in rental home ownership.  If you are trying your hand at this for the first time, please know that you cannot depend on the income from 1 property to enhance your portfolio.  However, if you are in it for the long haul, there are many other tax benefits which could potentially “add” to the profitability of this business.  You are entitled to certain deductions from the income which essentially lowers the taxability of it etcetera.

Do You Want To Make Money Or Not?

My intention is not to dissuade you from becoming a landlord but, you should go into this with your eyes open.  If you know from the start that scenario #1, buying a house at the $125K price point is not profitable, then why would you want to do that?  On the other hand, if you know going in that scenario #2, buying a house at the $200K price point allows for a positive end result, why wouldn’t you want to do that?

More To Consider Than Price

I know there will be some naysayers out there who very likely have had properties of this type and price which saw some profitability.  I would venture to guess that they owned multiple units or perhaps a duplex or two.  My father owned several of this type of property for many years and made plenty of money on them, however, they were not in Charleston, South Carolina and they were very decent with most being in good school districts.  Finding a $125K property in Charleston and the surrounding areas which is decent and in a good school district is a much harder task.

Finding The Sweet Spot

I will leave you with one more thought.  If you consider yourself a good investor and have a few dollars to spend, why not try your hand at scenario #2?  Here is a quick ROI calculation to get you thinking.  This house costs $200K.

$20,400 (annual rent)

– $2,500 (annual prop tax)

-$3,400 (2 mo. vacancy)

– $3,060 (15% R &M +insurance)

____________________________

$11,440 / $200K = 5.72%

Now, imaging if you leveraged your money and borrowed $100K from the bank.

$20,400 (annual rent)
– $2,500 (annaul prop tax)
-$3,400 (2 mo. vacancy)
– $3,060 (15% R &M +insurance)

– $6,444 (annual mortgage pmt.)
____________________________

$4,996 / 100K = 4.99%

And, if the stars align, you could have 2 properties, both making almost 5% which would put you at a nearly 10% ROI on that same $200K

Call Me

In the meantime, if I can help you find the investment property of your dreams, don’t hesitate to call, text or email me.

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Future-pacing the Client

Future-pacing.  What does that word mean exactly?
Real estate in the Lowcountry of Charleston, SC is humming along. At times it can be frustrating for buyers because you must be quick to take action. In a fast-paced, upward trending market, you must move with the flow of traffic or get run over. Allow me to explain, I’ve been in the real estate market for a little while now and I’m continually seeing folks who have found what they consider the home of their dreams. They hem and haw around, trying to decide how much to offer on the property and then it’s gone. That’s right, it gets scooped up and goes under contract sometimes within a few short hours of being listed. “How does that happen?” you might ask. Well, it’s like this… if you’ve been tracking along with my blog posts, you’d begin to understand that this place is a force to be reckoned with. What do I mean by that? Well, take this for what it’s worth but we have it all. We are small enough to be considered homey and big enough to enjoy some of the best concerts and tournaments that travel through. We have a landscape which is to be envied by most and the weather is spectacular most of the time. There are no shortage of places to worship and many of these have a history dating back to the founding fathers. There are, of course, beaches and scenic retreats to be found everywhere in the Lowcountry. Our economic growth is second to none, not to mention that we are always celebrating being in the top ranking cities in the United States for some reason or other. We have a cruise ship port and we also have a tourism industry that is the heart and soul of this amazing place. If you want nightlife, we’ve got it, however, if you want a seclusive retreat we’ve got that too. Am I beginning to make myself heard? This place is truly a paradise as far as I’m concerned. We also have a plethora of migratory birds, hunting, fishing, boating, horseback riding and numerous other outlets for nature lovers.

You Better Hurry Up

My point is this, when you find a house that works for you, in this type of market, you really have to act decisively and quickly. I know many people would say that this is a scare tactic or worse, that I’m a pushy saleswoman but, that’s simply not the truth. In my brokerage house, Century 21 Expert Advisors, we discuss this weekly and how we can combat the rush. We are always talking about how we can be ahead of the curve or the first to the party so to speak. We try to “future-pace” the buyer or seller so that they have a right-minded expectation before they are overwhelmed by having to make split-second decisions. In this kind of market, we are fortunate to be able to have a day to think about the transaction but, usually not. Future-pacing is our way of communicating what will likely happen, before you as the client, finds out the hard way. More gently put, we try to tell you what we think will happen or what you should do before you need to know. That way you feel more in control when we are embarking on a multiple offer situation or one which is a negotiators dream come true. More on that later.

I’m Telling You What’s Going To Happen Ahead Of Time…Please Listen.

I’m going to reiterate something for those of you who may not know this. Charleston is experiencing unprecedented growth both economically and in populous. This is not an exaggeration. I have a client who has tried to enter into a contract to buy over 3 times. In one of these circumstances, we were one of 3 offers. In another of these circumstances, we were one of 11 offers. Eventually, I had to seek out an off-market property and we are currently under contract with this for sale by owner (FSBO) seller. I had to find him. I literally had to reach out to property owners in the subdivision which she wanted to live in and tell them I had an interested buyer then ask them if they would consider selling their home. I’m not saying this so that I can receive kudos, I’m telling you that the market is fantastic right now. Time is of the essence. Be prepared to make an offer on the spot if you find a house that suits you. Find yourself a well-trained agent who is able to negotiate a contract accurately and decisively on your behalf.

Pre-Approval Is A Must

Now that I think you’re beginning to get the gist of this, I’m going to give you a few pointers.
Find yourself a good lender and get a pre-approval letter. Many agents will require it before they spend valuable time working with someone only to find out that they do not qualify for a mortgage quite yet.

I Need To Know What Is Important To You

Do some research yourself. Take some time to narrow down your likes and dislikes with respect to the features you wish to have in your new home. Be specific. Tell your agent if you have a dog and need a fenced in yard or if you refuse to pay a homeowners association fee (HOA) because these things matter.

That New Sofa and Loveseat Can Wait

Don’t make any big purchases before you close on the house of your dreams. You may not realize it but, this is a huge deal breaker. Lenders are very particular about your debt to income ratio. A new car can easily throw that out of proportion and cause you to be rejected for financing.  So can that new furniture, so be careful.

Time Is Of The Essence

Make sure you are aware of the deadlines involved in the contract. Get your agent to go over the contract beforehand. Get a copy of it for your records and take it to an attorney for review if necessary.

This Is An Emotional Roller Coaster I Hope You’re Seatbelt Is On.

Most importantly, be flexible. You may not get the first or second house that you put an offer on. Don’t let this discourage you. Be willing to put forth your best effort to find another house that suits your needs, wants and desires. There is a lot of benefit to buying and almost none in renting. Be relentless…and flexible.

The Sweet Spot

So, what is a negotiators dream come true? I’ve seen my fair share of contracts and to tell you the truth, some people have wild ideas about what is worthy of negotiation and what is not. Recently, I had an offer come in on a house that I had listed. The offer was $64,000.00 less than asking price right off the rip. Now, I say that because often times we come to a place of 2nd negotiation after there is an inspection and it comes up with some material defects. As an agent, it’s my job to respond accordingly. There is a special place where you can convince the seller to entertain this offer without shutting it down completely. Now picture yourself in the seller’s shoes. Your house is listed for several hundred thousand dollars and this offer comes in which is potentially low enough to eat up any equity you may have in the place depending upon when you purchased it. In this case, the sellers had not owned the house for very long and were not in a place whereby they had gained much in appreciation. It would have been easy to simply tell the buyer that they were not interested but, that shuts down all communication. Instead, I had to divide and conquer. There has to be a place of mutual agreement and it’s my job to find that common ground. Negotiation is an art. It is both strategic and tactical. That means that you have to have a plan and it has to be actionable before going into discussions with the other party. Now, I’m not going to tell you that I’m God’s gift to negotiators but, I can definitely hold my own. As it turned out, we actually came to an agreement on price in this transaction. Unfortunately, after the inspection, it was found to have some foundational shifting and we were back to square one. Only this time, we were starting at the price we had negotiated down to. This transaction did not close because the seller was not willing to reduce the price by the estimated cost to repair the foundational defect. I don’t blame them. It was almost $40K worth of repairs. So, how does this pertain to future-pacing? Well, as I previously mentioned, I am always trying to prepare my client in advance for what could potentially happen. Fortunately, this seller was not unfamiliar with the dreaded 2nd negotiation. He knew well in advance that this could be a breaking point. It was and he handled it like a champ because he had time to consider all of his options ahead of time.

This Can Work For You Also

In your life, next time you need for someone to know the ropes before they do the tight-rope walk, try future-pacing. Your clients will appreciate your candor and expertise as well as the level of professionalism you demonstrate by preparing them in advance for what is to come. This way, they will have the luxury of making decisions beforehand instead of on command.

Here Is A Demonstration

Now, let me future-pace you for a moment. Charleston is on the rise. Up and coming. Now is a great time to buy some real estate or better yet, sell some real estate and upgrade your lifestyle. If you already live here, check out my blog about Using Your Home as an Investment

Call Me

In the meantime, if I can help you with any real estate decisions, feel free to call, text or email me.

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What If You Lose Your Property Tax Deduction?

Welcome back if you are joining us again, if this is your first visit, I’m glad you’re joining the real estate conversation.  I thought we would discuss taxes today as they pertain to real estate of course.  It has come to my attention that there are several places up north that are limiting the property tax deduction which we as homeowners benefit from on our annual tax returns.  This deduction is taken on Schedule A and it is paired with the mortgage interest deduction in most conversations about tax reform.  However, on the Schedule A itself, it falls into the Taxes You Paid category.  This will become important later in the conversation.  I’m going to attach an image of Schedule A as it appears today for demonstration purposes.

Schedule A image

 

My Credentials

Since many of you do not know this, I think it may be a good time to mention that prior to my work as a real estate agent, I owned a Liberty Tax Service franchise in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.  I only say this because I want you to know that I am familiar with this topic and how it affects us as homeowners and taxpayers.

The Truth

Now then, back to the topic at hand.  In many counties, cities and townships up north, it is not uncommon for folks to pay exorbitant annual property taxes.  For the purpose of discussion only, I would consider anything over $5K per year exorbitant because I know that you could easily buy a million dollar property here and pay less than that all day long.   For the record, I’ve done the research on this and I can’t find one that exceeds $4K in property taxes per year on a waterfront, single-family home between $1M-$2M. Enough said.

More To Come

Here is how and why this tax reform is unfair and frankly, just plain unnerving to me.  It has crossed my mind on more than one occasion that with the limitations imposed on this particular deduction, it will open the door to a next generation tax deduction limitation on mortgage interest or worse, the elimination of Schedule A altogether.  Why?  Because it favors the government and not the individual obviously but, more than that, it eliminates the benefits of homeownership from a taxation standpoint.  Being that I’ve done thousands of tax returns myself over the years, I’ve seen first hand what happens when people lose the benefit of filing Schedule A. Through no fault of their own, I’ve seen taxpayers who were formerly homeowners that either sold their home or lost this tax deduction through divorce, instantly owe thousands of dollars to the government instead of receiving a refund.  It happens all of the time and it’s always a shock to the taxpayer.  You may feel as though I’ve digressed a bit but, I want to tell you that these are the types of things worth fighting for.  When and if you have the privilege to vote, use it.

I’m Inviting You

Back to the situation up north.  Those of you who have found yourselves in a losing position can still find hope.  I happen to live in one of the most beautiful and treasured cities in North America.  It is Charleston, South Carolina.  Feel free to Google us up if you’d like or you can read my blog posts about this wonderful place.  We are experiencing unprecedented growth and our economy is booming right now.  Let’s pretend for a moment that you decide to sell your home and move here.  What could you expect?  Well, we have pristine beaches, plenty of golf courses, abounding lakes and rivers, countryside and city landscapes as well.  Of course, we have excellent suburbs which will put you just a few short miles from any downtown venue you may want to partake of.     I guess what I’m trying to say is, please consider this a formal invitation to come visit or move to Charleston, South Carolina.  If you have a moment, check out my website.

http://www.letsmovetocharlestonsouthcarolina.com

 

It is connected directly to the Charleston Trident Multiple Listings Service (MLS) and there you’ll be able to see just how much your money can buy.  Your property tax deduction will not be limited and for some of you, the money you save in taxes could easily pay your mortgage for the year.  I’m serious about that.

Follow Me

For more information, check out my blog Steady As We Grow…

Or, if it tickles your fancy to make some money in real estate, now is the time and this is the place.  Check out Let’s Make Some Money In Real Estate

Call Me

In the meantime, if I can help you find the home of your dreams in the Lowcountry or just answer any questions that you may have, feel free to call, text or email me.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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The Economy is Flourishing…Sell My House!

Have you ever wondered when it would be a good time to do something? I’m going to explain what I mean through an example from my own life. In 2006, right before the housing market crashed, I purchased my home. It was brand new and lovely. As the first and only person who lived there, I was pleased with its position in suburbia just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. I’m telling you this because I have lived here for just about 12 years now and I’m ready to move. There are so many reasons for moving and most people don’t appreciate that. I once heard someone say “I have just found my forever home.” I wasn’t even a real estate agent at that time and I thought, “what kind of mentality is this?” I don’t ever want a “forever” anything. Well, let me qualify that statement. I don’t want anything outside of my family or relationship with the Lord to take a place in my heart that causes it to be there forever. Am I making sense to you? The thought of living in the same house for the rest of my life positively makes me cringe. Again, I love my home. There is nothing wrong with it and I’m blessed to have it but, the thought of living in it forever is way too stifling.

Moving On

I’m going to tell you about my plans for the future. Not because you care but, because I want to make a point and this seems like the easiest way to do it. I went on a vacation to Hawaii a few years back and I think I left a part of myself there. Yes, it’s beautiful and yes, it was vacation so I do realize it was a time of relaxation and enjoyment, however, I’m telling you that it’s more than that to me. It’s as if there is something there that I am meant to do or to have. Can you follow that? It’s as if living in Hawaii is unrelentingly on my mind and in my heart. I can’t explain it but, I’ve never experienced anything like it before. Sure, I have wanted things in my life. Some of them were big things some of them were accomplishments or goals for the future that I wished to see come to pass but, this is different. This urge, if you will, is outside the parameters of wishing, or wanting or even pining away over it. I’m just going to say that it will happen when the time is right for me and my family. Enough said.

Now Is The Time

So, I began this blog with a question. Have you ever wondered when it’s a good time to do something? I’m on the brink of selling my house right now. Why should I do that if I’m not ready to move to Hawaii? Because it appears to be the perfect time. I mean the market is golden right now in Charleston, South Carolina and the economic conditions are in overdrive. This place is a force to be reckoned with for sure. You may not believe this but we’re seeing double-digit increases in home values year over year. I think we hit 10% this month. Is it time yet? Perhaps it is.

Why Does The Value Of Your Home Matter

If you live in Charleston, South Carolina or the surrounding areas in the Lowcountry, I know you are probably interested to find out the value of your home as well. Good news, I know someone who can help you.

No Pain, No Gain

Sometimes we dread doing things that are cumbersome or labor-intensive right? I mean who likes moving? Raise your hand. Okay, I get it. It’s not on the top of everyone’s list of fun things to do. Now, let’s take another poll. Who likes making money? That’s what I thought. If you are a homeowner in the Lowcountry right now, you should take a minute to read my blog  Using Your Home as an Investment . There are few times in life when you can really take advantage of the financial climate. Folks, I do believe this is one of them.

Listen To Me Now, Hear Me Later

In the stock market, they say, “buy low and sell high.” In the housing market, there is a similar expression. It’s “instant equity makes me happy.” Just kidding. I made that up but, it’s the truth. Instant equity in my house does make me happy and I’m sure it would put a smile on your face as well. See if you can follow my theory for a moment. If we have not hit the crescendo yet, then don’t you stand to gain on both ends of this transaction? It could happen that you have a substantial gain on the sale of your house and then you purchase a newer model with all of the bells and whistles only to have that house ride the wave for a while too. Now, I’m not pretending that this will last forever. Today’s world is touchy at best but, if you know that it’s a great time to be in real estate then it’s your own fault if you don’t take advantage of it.

Call Me

One more thought then I’ll let you go. If you need help deciding whether the time is right for you, give me a call. I’ll be glad to give you a free consultation and we can go over your comparative market analysis together. This way you’ll be well informed and confident in your financial exchange. This is quite possibly one of the biggest investments that you own. Don’t let it fizzle out because you don’t feel like moving or because it seems like a burden to you. You’ll thank me later.

BCPC

The Dynamics of Real Estate in Charleston, South Carolina

 

I’m here to tell you that these are the best of times in Charleston, South Carolina. There will always be those naysayers out there but, I’m not convinced that it can’t get too much better than this. The real estate market is booming and the economic conditions in this area are gaining momentum as we speak.

What are the ingredients needed for an excellent real estate market?

1.  A strong economy… Check.
2.  A wide variety of housing options… Check
3.  An influx of well-qualified new residents…Check
4.  Copious amounts of fun-in-the-sun…Check
5.  A warm and inviting city with rich history and culture… Also, Check
If you have not been here yet, you should put it at the top of your bucket list but, for those of you who have or those of you fortunate enough to live here I say, “Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.” I’m referring to the dynamic real estate market we are currently finding ourselves enjoying.

real estate trends
It has been a long time since the housing market crashed in 2007. I feel like some of us have been licking our wounds for far too long with that. I mean, it’s over and it has been for several years. It’s time to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Forget about those losses and lets enjoy some gains. It’s about time right?

What should I do?

I want to invite you to read my blog called Please Sell My House…Quickly
In it, I discuss market conditions in the Lowcountry but, I also explain how to best take advantage of this season of opportunity for current homeowners in and around Charleston, South Carolina. Why should you continue reading if you’re not a current homeowner in Charleston? Well, because you might be considering a move here yourself or even if it’s on your radar as a place of consideration, I would want you to feel like you made the best choice possible for you and your family. You see, we are experiencing unprecedented growth in this city. There are numerous new companies and industries calling the Lowcountry home these days. It is moving toward becoming a positively marvelous talent pool for top-notch medical and biotechnology experts. It’s also a place whereby we are seeing exponential growth in the motor vehicle and aeronautical industries. We have always been a port city and are now a port of call for the cruise ship industry. Some of these things have been sustaining us for a while but, there are no shortage of new and exciting things on the horizon. Check out my blog Steady As We Grow… for more on that.

Are you retiring soon?

Have you considered retirement in the Charleston, South Carolina area? Well, as it turns out, you’re not the only one. Sixteen years ago, I decided that I wanted to live here when I retired. I ended up having the opportunity to move here for a job way back then and I haven’t left since. It’s a great place to raise a family and it’s also a wonderful place to vacation. Perhaps, you’re a few years away from being ready to retire fully. Boy, are you in luck. If you are in a position to invest a few dollars in your future, please give me a call. What if I told you that a smart investment now could pay excellent dividends in the next couple of years? Let me find you the home of your dreams now while we are seeing double-digit appreciation and you could be sitting on some serious equity when you do have the opportunity to make your retirement a reality.

rent-house
There are so many ways to take advantage of this market without moving here yet. We could find you a vacation home or a rental property. The rents in this place are no joke. I mean a basic three bedroom two bath house outside of the 526 loop is fetching upwards of $1900 per month. Yes, I’m serious. And that’s not going to get you anything flashy either. If you don’t want to be a landlord, especially not a long distance landlord, we can get you set up with a property management agency who can take care of all the needs of the tenants and house. How about that? Or, there are plenty of beach houses and fractional ownerships that you could potentially consider buying as well.

Charleston-Pictures
I’m not one to brag but, this place is head and shoulders above most and I’m not coming from a place of inexperience. I have personally lived in eight states and at least twice that many cities. Hear me out. I’m willing to bet that you may have heard of a few of these wonderful venues but, may not have had the pleasure of visiting them all.
1. Rainbow Row
2. The Citadel The Military College of South Carolina
3. The Battery
4. City Market
5. The Old Exchange
6. Waterfront Park
7. The H.L Hundley Submarine
8. Patriots Point
9. Fort Sumter
10. South Carolina Aquarium
11. Joe Riley Stadium Home of the Riverdogs
12. Dock Street Theater
13. Charleston Harbor Tours Dinner Cruise
14. St. Andrews Episcopal Church circa 1706
15. The College of Charleston
Why do I mention all of these places in a blog about real estate? Because they are part of the reason we are celebrated as #1 of The Top 15 Cities in the United States according to Travel and Leisure magazine.
http://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/cities-in-us
This isn’t our only shout out. We are also ranked by T+L as one of the 2017 World’s Best Cities.
http://www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best/cities
I’ll let you decide if you want in on this. It’s certainly not too late and there’s plenty of room for you and your family to join us. We are always happy to share our wonderful city with you even if it’s only for a week or two. We’ll keep the sweet tea cold and the shrimp n’ grits hot just in case.

Who can help me get started?

Should you need any information on the real estate market in Charleston, South Carolina, feel free to call, text or email me. The link below is to my website. It is connected to the Charleston, Trident Multiple Listings Service (MLS). Feel free to peruse it at your leisure.
http://www.StacieSmith.Homes
Let’s Move To Charleston, SC

BCPC

So, What Are You Really Saying?

Four Types of Characters

In this journey of real estate agency, I’m finding myself in one of two boats. Either you’re in the buyers / sellers hip pocket or you’re far from it. Recently, I was fortunate enough to be involved in a class which discussed the 4 personality types, what’s important to them and how they like to be communicated with. Low and behold, I find myself in the least desirable category…more on that later but, it’s very interesting how this all plays together.
I’m sure there are numerous personality tests out there and many of you have taken them. The reason I liked this one was because it was fast and to the point. I don’t enjoy long walks on the beach when it comes to business matters. I’m a straight to the point, let’s get this business done and move on kind of person. That being said, of course, there are those who enjoy the opposite type of handling. They want to discuss the particulars of their day and ask you about yours before one word of business is spoken. They are usually super friendly and amiable when it comes to doing business and they want all parties involved to just get along and be happy. It is their preference that everyone gives in just a little bit in negotiations and then we can all walk away contented with the outcome. Sadly, my test score results revealed just the opposite. Now, before you go too far out there with this, I’d like to mention that most of my scores were only a few points apart so, that means I can reach into that part of my character and pull out whatever is necessary when needed. However, my “go-to” character nature is the one called Driver. I’m short on fluff and quick to decide how something should or should not be handled. I’m also not particularly emotional about how things turn out and I like to negotiate in the best interest of my client. It’s kind of a long story but, recently I negotiated an offer for my client which worked out on their behalf but, in the end the sale fell through due to inspection findings. That stuff happens. People don’t like to hear that but, I will be the first to admit that there is no time for celebration until the closing is finished. That may sound harsh but, it’s the truth. I once had three contracts fall through for three different reasons in two days time through no fault of my own.
Let’s examine that for a moment, shall we? Here I am hustling my bustle so to speak and out of no where, I have one, two, three contracts crash and burn. What in the world is going on? Well, for lack of better terms, I was having some performance anxiety after that. You begin to question every action, conversation and negotiation that took place but, one thing stood true. I know that I know that I did my very best to advance each of these transactions. When I really reflected on it, I thought to myself, geez, I sure hope Mr. Seller and Mrs. Buyer sees all of the skill, effort and negotiating that went into this. And, I certainly hope that they are not so overcome with disappointment that they can’t see past it and move on to the next one because each of these transactions is a valuable gem through which to see yourself and how well or poorly you manage your own thoughts, deeds, actions and gestures.
Allow me to explain, I had a seller who wanted things her way. She has a house which she inherited. It’s old and I mean really old… like from the 1930’s. It had some repairs done to it but, as you can imagine, it was in desperate need of much. I negotiated three contracts on her behalf and none of them went through. Why? Perhaps it was my communication style vs. hers. I mean, I wanted that house to sell and so did she but, when it came down to negotiations, it was her way or the highway. Needless to say, at the end of the contract she let me go my way and she went her own. I was disappointed to say the least but, hey, on to the next one right? Nope, again I had to take a long hard look at how I handled each of these moments of conversation and negotiation. In retrospect, the sellers communication was filled with emotion and anguish at every little decision but, I wasn’t as in tune to that as perhaps I should have been. Lesson learned the hard way. Strike One.
Next up, I’m representing the seller on a beautiful house that sits on a big lake where you can swim, fish, paddle board or just about anything. It’s a tidal fed lake so there are birds, plenty of large fish and crabs living there as well. We find a very interested buyer who initially makes a seriously low offer. By that I mean it was $74,000. less than asking price. I really had to come to terms with this and face the sellers not only with the offer but, with a strategic plan to counter. Where do you begin? Well, as most of my plans do, I began in prayer. Thankfully, we came to terms and the sellers were pleased with my counter offer strategy. This time however, my seller was very analytical. He needed to see things in writing and think things over before making any decisions. His communication style was slow and deliberate. I tried to match that by explaining things in lengthy emails and by giving him step by step instructions when communicating with him but alas, the contract fell through after the inspection revealed some significant foundational shifting. My communication style was a closer match to his in this example and when the contract ended he decided to take the house off of the market and make it a rental property to offset some of his expenses as they were living out-of-state already. Still Strike two… but, this time I didn’t take it quite as personally.
This last example involves a buyer that I’ve been working with. She is from out-of-state and has invested quite a bit of time and energy in finding the right condominium for her retirement in the Lowcountry. I am grateful for her resilience because it has not been an easy road for her. It seems that every time we put in an offer on a property it is in a multiple offer situation and she gets beat out by a cash buyer. This time however, it’s a little different. We had to sneak in through the back door to get her a choice condo in the neighborhood that she desired. I put out a letter to all of the owners that were not on the market to see if they were interested in selling adding to that a promise that I had an interested buyer waiting for a unit. Well, low and behold, we found one. Now we had our chance. This is what we call an “off market” property. It’s like a best kept secret in Charleston, South Carolina. When you have the opportunity to buy a property without competing against hundreds of other potential buyers that’s a real leg up. Anyway, in my dealings with this buyer I noticed that she talked a lot and I do mean constantly. It was very hard to get a word in edgewise as they say. In this set of circumstances, I found myself questioning whether or not I was truly communicating enough because I could not get her to listen even for a minute. Now, I’m not here to bash her but, I want to convey that I was very deliberate with my statements. If I had a second to speak, it had to be direct and to the point because it was a fleeting second. In this set of circumstances, I’ve had the best opportunity to deliver communications in my own style. They were short, sweet and to the point because they had to be. Emailing became a go-to for me because it allowed me to convey things that I was unable to say during our often one way conversations. In this example, before we had the opportunity to write a contract on the off market property, we were in contract with a different seller. We made a great offer and it was accepted. Unfortunately, the seller was premature in listing her unit and quickly decided that she no longer wanted to sell. Bummer right? You can’t imagine how many times my buyer has ridden this roller coaster. We actually put in three offers before getting the off market property under contract. I’m hopeful that this one is it. So, while I, as an agent, experienced my third Strike Out, it would appear that I’m fortunate enough to have yet another chance at bat.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about people’s communication styles. It has helped me to acknowledge the needs of others on a far greater scope than I’ve ever been able to before. If you ever get the chance to take the Merrill and Reid, Social Styles personality quiz, it’s worth taking the time to do. Then you will be able to determine if you are an Analytical, Driver, Amiable or Expressive communicator yourself and how best to deal with others in conversation.
Meanwhile, if I can help you find a property in Charleston, South Carolina or in the surrounding areas, let’s chat. Check out my website.
http://www.StacieSmith.Homes
It’s connected to the Charleston Trident Multiple Listings Service. MLS
Feel free to call, text or email me with any questions. I’m never too busy to help you.

BCPC