JUST WHEN YOU THINK IT CAN’T GET ANY BETTER

SOME PERSONAL STUFF

This is going to be a little different than my usual,  so prepare to stay with me for a minute if you start reading. I have been a Realtor for a little over 10 years now. I have been with Realty ONE Group Dockside for  half of that time. I absolutely love my career and know this is what I was meant to do.  Through the years, I've had many offers to change companies, but quite frankly, I knew I would not be able to find anywhere else that was a better fit for me. 
I had the the privilege and good fortune of being trained and mentored by a broker and person who I could never say enough wonderful things about. I credit her with not only giving me the tools I needed to become a successful real estate agent, but also for giving me the confidence I needed to make it through that first year, and second, and third, while I was learning and building my business. She shared her support, training, and superior knowledge of the real estate industry and I will be forever grateful.  I miss her terribly, keep her picture in my office and when I have a difficult task, I look at it and ask myself what would Rachel do?
 When I started at Dockside, I was an experienced agent on the verge of being a top producer.  My plan was to work a couple years at Dockside and save money to  start my own company. I dreamed of running a real estate company where I would be the broker in charge and  would have my chance to build up agents and inspire them. I wanted to make sure my own agents would be highly trained with professional knowledge, negotiating skills, and they would all have common sense and  a firm understanding of ethics. They would clearly understand that what they did for a living should always be about their clients and never about themselves. Pretty much the way I was trained by my mentor..

I realized a couple things early in at Dockside.  I loved being a working agent too much to become a  broker in charge. Especially the kind of BIC I wanted to be. The non-competing kind whose goal is to train and mentor new agents as well as  help experienced agents grow. I also realized that  my new broker in charge and his wife were not only 2 of the nicest and hardworking people who somehow managed to be laid back despite everything they did to run multiple real estate offices. It seemed like none of their decisions were based on what they could do to make the most money for themselves, but what they could do for their agents so their agents could have the ability and freedom to help their clients. I thought there had to be a catch with their competitive financial structures. No office fees. They provided signs, lock boxes, mandatory insurance. They didn't charge  copy/print fees even if I printed out a 200 page mailer.  They didn't micromanage, but were cheerfully there to help when asked.  With their support and business model, I was able to put much more time and  money into marketing and things that made me a better agent to my clients.  I basically was given the freedom to focus on doing what I love while they paid the rent and electric bills and smoothly ran the offices I was able work from. 

CAN YOU HAVE THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS AT THE SAME TIME?

I was blessed to have the best of both worlds. I started at a very structured company where training happened constantly and I learned the right way to do things and provide quality service to my clients as well as how to be a stickler for documentation and paperwork. Years later I took those skills to a company who was ahead of it's time as far as business model and structure. It was perfect for me but because Mike and Tammi, my BIC and his wife,  were so busy overseeing 200+ agents' paperwork and transactions, they really didn't have time for extensive scheduled training. So Dockside didn't really get many new agents who needed more structure and basic training. 

Don't get me wrong. Dockside had periodic refresher courses, offered training on new contract law or changes, and in addition to sales meeting would have various training sessions online and at their offices.   Plus, all members of the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors have tons of training opportunities in addition to mandatory continuing education.  So I was able to take advantage of what Dockside offered along with what my Association offered and stay on top of important things. 

 Anyone who knows me or follows me on social media gets how much I love my career and how much I love my company. So I often have friends or even people I don't know ask me about meeting with my broker as soon as they take their course and pass their real estate and state exam. I think they have all been surprised over the years when I told them that Dockside was simply not the place for new agents. This might sound harsh, but if I would have started out at Dockside 10 years ago, I wouldn't have lasted a year in the real estate business despite how great my broker is and what a fantastic company he's run. He will be the first to tell anyone that he was not in the business of training new agents.  I have been telling new agents for years that they need to find a company that has extensive training and a new agent support system in place.  Part of me has wished I had the time or ability to help new agents but the rest of me knows that I'm already working 12-14 hour days with little spare time to even grocery shop or strike a quick yoga pose. 

My dream of starting my own brokerage may have faded, not that I think I couldn't, but because I'm too  happy being a working agent. Plus, after being at a company like Dockside, I'm not sure what the future has in store for the traditionally run old school real estate companies. Not knocking them, but I feel it's become pretty much the norm for a new agent to start out at a more traditional/ structured company and learn the ropes for a year or two during which time they pay the higher fees and costs associated with that type of brokerage. Then they look for a company that's the best overall fit. And if they have a choice of working at a great company that has high costs and fees and one that doesn't, they will choose the one that doesn't.  It never occurred to me that a company could offer the whole package. I always said that there could never be a better company for me than Dockside, but Mike and Tammi are once again ahead of their time and Dockside is now:  

I couldn't be more excited!  It took 2 hours for my broker to just generally go over all the tools and training we will have available moving forward.   Our clients are going to benefit tremendously from the things we will be offering.  I will share specifics in the near future, but just wanted to share the exciting news.  And the best thing is, not only will this be amazing for my clients and for my associates and me, I will now be able to confidently tell all my new agent friends that Realty One Group Dockside is the place for them to be from the very beginning. They will truly have the best of both worlds: amazing training and support as well as  more money to put back into their business  which will allow them to offer superior service and be a productive and successful agent. 

So, my logos and colors will be changing, but I'm the same agent working at the same offices for the same people. We just increased our resources and support system. I can't wait to put some of these new tools and resources to work for my clients!  

If you know anyone who needs to buy or sell real estate in the Myrtle Beach/Conway/Aynor area, send them my way. If you know someone who is interested in a real estate career or someone who is looking for a positive change, send them my way!  


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Can You Use a Buyer’s Agent For New Construction?

The Answer is YES

If you consider buying a new construction home, there’s a good chance you’ll question whether or not you even need to use a real estate agent.

You might even wonder if there’s an advantage to not using a real estate agent…perhaps thinking you can get a lower price, or more upgrades thrown in, if the builder isn’t paying a real estate agent their commission.

Or, you just might not give it any thought whatsoever, and stumble into buying your new construction home, without having your own real estate agent to represent you.

So, do you need to use a real estate agent when buying new construction?

Technically? No.

Should you? Yes.

It’s About Representation

The purchase of a new construction home really isn’t any different in many ways than purchasing a resale home. The knowledge and skills of a good real estate agent go beyond the “finding” of your home, or doing some paperwork.

There may very well be a licensed agent at the new construction site, sitting in the model home. But that’s not your agent…despite any disclosures or documents that they may go over with you.

You want your own agent. Someone third party, not affiliated with the builder. Someone affiliated with you and your interests.

Because this is about representation. Representation of you and your interests. Not just someone along for the ride and to sign a few papers and then swing back around and collect a commission check.

And if you have your own real estate agent, the agent has a fiduciary responsibility to you. They need to treat the relationship with care and trust. Look out for you and your interests.

But beyond that, they’ll help you understand the contract, and look for anything unusual. They might suggest some things to add to the offer and contract, like certain contingencies the builder may be trying to get away from including. They will negotiate on your behalf.

Your real estate agent will be able to help you decide between all of the options you have out there in the market. They will help assess the big picture. Maybe new construction isn’t the best choice for you. Maybe it is. Maybe this development is the best for you. Maybe it isn’t…

The Onsite Agent Works For the Seller/Builder

They are usually very nice people who are personable and friendly. They put you at ease as they show you the home and the neighborhood. They are very knowledgeable about the home, floor plans, lots available, and types of  upgrades because they often sit onsite in that neighborhood until all the homes are sold.  But they work for the builder and have a duty to do what's in the builder's best interests.....Not yours.

If a builder or their representative pushes you to not use your own real estate agent, that’s a huge red flag. Some may even give you an “incentive” not to use your own real estate agent, and say that they will throw in some free upgrades, or lower the price of the home.

A truly reputable builder will not push you to not use your own real estate agent. And they certainly won’t try and lure you with the temptation of free upgrades. Because that’s shady.

Most reputable builders go out of their way to deal with local real estate agents. They expect to deal with a real estate agent.

They’ve factored  commission into the cost of the home and will be paying it whether you have your own representation or not. 

Do This First

Before you just stroll into check out a model home, find a real estate agent to represent you. (If you already have on, skip to the next section…)

Interview and choose an agent who will represent you.  You want someone sharp about the universal stuff, like negotiating, analyzing the deal, understanding the market, and you and your needs.  Hint Hint....Pick me! 

Then Do This

Now you can go check out model homes…

But don’t just wander into a development or model home on your own and have a look see.

For the first visit, go with your real estate agent. “Register” at the site, and reserve the right to representation by your real estate agent. (If you do not go with your agent on the first visit, it can be a mess trying to involve one afterwards.) If you do stop by without your agent, make sure you let the onsite agent know you are working with a buyer's agent. Don't discuss anything that can harm your negotiations. Let the on-site agent know you will return with your agent to negotiate if you decide to move forward. 

While you don’t technically need your own real estate agent, there’s certainly a lot of benefit to having one…and a lot of potential downside to not having one.

If you have any questions about the process, don't hesitate to contact me! 

GUIDE TO SELLING A HOME DURING A DIVORCE

Please note this guide is meant to provide a few helpful tips if you are beginning the process of selling your home during this difficult time. It is not intended as legal advice, and you should consult your attorney before making any legally binding decisions.

I genuinely hope this topic doesn't apply to many of my readers but it can help those who are dealing with divorce.

DECIDE IF ONE SPOUSE CAN AFFORD TO KEEP THE HOUSE

The first step is to decide who, if either of you, wants to keep the house and can afford to do so on their own income after the divorce is finalized. 

If one of you decides to keep the house, the next step is to work out the details of transferring ownership in your final divorce settlement. Consult your mediator or attorneys for this process. Ultimately, if payments are being made, you'll need to refinance so only the spouse keeping the house is on the mortgage.

 IF NEITHER OF YOU KEEPS THE HOUSE......

Then, it's time to start planning to sell the home as part of your divorce settlement. A real estate professional can help you determine how much your home will sell for under current market conditions. 

IF YOU HAVE EQUITY IN THE HOUSE:

If your house will likely sell for more than you owe on the mortgage, you can work with your attorneys to set up whatever split of the equity is appropriate for your situation.

IF YOU OWE MORE THAN THE HOUSE IS WORTH:

If you're not in a situation where you can sell the house and split the profits, you may want to consider a 'Short Sale." In this case, the lender agrees to accept less than what you actually owe. A short sale is an alternative to avoid foreclosure.  Short sales are  relatively complex real estate transactions that involve negotiation with your lender. You should seek the help of a real estate professional who has experience in negotiating short sales. 

IF YOU CAN'T REFINANCE, SELL, OR SHORT SELL...

If one spouse can't refinance the house on their own, if you can't sell the house and split the equity, and if you can't arrange a short sale, foreclosure may be the only way to dissolve ownership during the divorce.  


Click here if you are a SC homeowner and want to see if you are eligible for mortgage assistance. 

LOOK FOR TWO THINGS:

First, the real estate agent you work with should have a proven track record of success. They should be experienced in all types of transactions to include short sales.  In the middle of a divorce, the goal should be to determine the best plan of action for the circumstances and sell as quickly as possible so both parties can move on.  Find an experienced agent.  

Second, hire an agent  who has experience working with divorcing couples.  A good agent knows how to tactfully communicate with both spouses and knows that it's their job to serve both of you to get the home sold. 

If you are facing a divorce and have a home to sell, I am confident I can help. Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions. Also, whether or not you call, please check out the red 'help' button above.  It will take you to a previous blog I wrote with information on mortgage assistance for those facing hardships due to medical issues, natural disasters, income loss, and/or divorce. 


NO BULLARKY STUFF

NO BS

This week I'm going to give some reasons why it's important to be upfront and honest, but also point out times it's important to keep things to  yourself. BS can refer to all manner of things and there are many different names for it: hogwash, crap, bunk, or as I'm calling it today, No Bullarky Stuff. 

We encounter different types of BS in our day to day lives but there is no room for it in the middle of something so important as your real estate transaction.  I am going to be brutally honest. Generally speaking, the BS can come from all directions and pretty much any party involved in the transaction. It can be limited and shut down, as long as it's addressed upfront, but it seldom is, because many find it awkward or uncomfortable to address at the appropriate time. 

A great many problems and  issues that arise during the home buying or selling process could be prevented by discussing expectations, time frame, and options in the beginning.  You don't have to talk to many buyers or sellers to hear some unfortunate and disturbing experiences. Many people will be quick to share their less than high opinion of real estate agents. Often, even in these situations, the agent has good or misinterpreted  intentions but doesn't communicate things their buyer or seller needs to hear because it may not be what that buyer or seller wants to hear.  The agent may not want to risk offending them. Experience has taught me that it's much better to give a buyer or seller realistic outcomes for their specific circumstances. That way I can spend my time doing what I tell my clients I am going to do rather than explaining why we aren't getting desired results. 

On the other hand, I don't know if you could find an agent who hasn't had avoidable and bad situations happen to them as well.  Maybe he or she spent an exorbitant amount of time with a buyer only to have that buyer use another agent to make a purchase. Or they  find out that the buyer they have  shown property to for months or even years (missing countless family dinners and important gatherings)  doesn't have cash on hand or a pre-approval for financing as they verbally indicated.  Maybe an agent has lost one too  many listings because he/she gives the seller a realistic market range and plan based on the seller's situation but the seller chooses to list with the agent who agrees to list at a higher, though unsupported and unrealistic price.  So, I understand why an agent may be tempted to initially list the property under circumstances that will prohibit it from selling in a timely manner (price, condition, etc.) and hope they can work on those throughout the listing period, but this is not a good plan for many reasons that range from giving a client unrealistic expectations /hope to damaging the chance to sell quickly and for the most money,  to causing diminished trust in future suggestions and advice.   

Many of these scenarios  can be avoided by being upfront and honest about realistic expectations, communication, and good ole  professionalism.  I allowed some of the previously mentioned  things happen when I was a new agent and I totally understand how awkward it can be to bring up pre-approvals and buyer agency, but it's absolutely necessary  to be able to commit and give the sort of professional assistance a buyer deserves. Also, more truth:  Every time I got 'burned', I could have avoided it.  That's why I don't subscribe to the 'Buyers are liars' mentality but am a firm believer in the 'Agents need to be better explainers and not complainers' mentality. 

This is a vicious cycle and trust can't be established in an instant. It will help for buyers and sellers to know what an agent is ethically bound to do according to who (and how) he or she represents.  It's ultimately the real estate agent's job to give potential buyers and sellers the information they need to make informed decisions. The transaction should never be about the agent and always be about the buyer/seller who is being represented.

"I shouldn't have stayed home when the buyer viewed my house and told them I need to sell right away for a job transfer?" 

"I told my agent that I need to sell my house for a job transfer so she would understand I need it sold NOW, but we both understand  that information goes no further." 

Sometimes buyers and sellers are sharing things that harm their negotiations and don't even realize it. Other times they hold important information back from the one who truly needs to hear it in order to represent them the way they need and deserve. 

It's important to understand how Real Estate Brokerage Relationships work. You should get a copy, review and make sure you understand what it means before speaking with any real estate agent about anything other than general information and questions.  A listing agent works for the seller. A buyer's agent is bound to work for the buyer's best interests. A dual agent  can't give information to either party that would harm the other's negotiations or best interests but those relationships have to be established in writing. The duties and obligations of having a client/agent relationship are a two- way street. The agent has duties to a client that go way beyond what customers receive ( which are honesty and disclosing any known defects). The purpose of  listing and buyer agency contracts are not  to keep a buyer or seller from working with anyone else but to establish what each party agrees to do for the other and what terms are agreed upon. While it's true that some agents have  different ideas as to what excellent client service should consist of, there is certainly a standard that every client must get. 

While I can't go over every scenario, there are a few that come up over and over.

-Why Buyers Don't Want to Sign Exclusive Buyer Agency
Buyers may not want to sign to work exclusively with a buyer's agent because they may feel like it's just a way for that agent to keep them from working with anyone else. They think that they, the buyer, will end up doing all the work and the agent won't show them homes, give them requested information, negotiate fairly, or basically  anything  other than show up for a commission check when the deal is done. Or many buyers have the misconception that they can just call each and every listing agent and that listing agent automatically represents them for free where they, the buyer, would have to pay a buyer's agent. I don't recommend that a buyer sign with the very first agent they encounter. It's important for each party to understand the other's expectations and establish some level of trust. Until that happens, there is no need for a buyer to be spending hours on the phone, driving all over creation to preview homes, scheduling each appointment separately with various agents and possibly giving away information along the way that can adversely affect future negotiations.  Since real estate commission is determined in the seller's listing agreement and there is a pre-determined amount designated for the buyer's agent, a buyer can have representation at absolutely NO COST to themselves.  The seller pays the same amount whether the buyer has their own representation or not. 

I tell people who randomly call me about a property that I'm happy to give them general information or send them listings.  I understand why they wouldn't want to sign to work exclusively with me before they even meet me or understand my level of commitment.   In this case, if they want to see a house, I  offer to do a one  day buyer's agency that only covers the homes we view that day. By the end of the day, if we haven't found 'the one',  we either have a great comfort level and understand each other's expectations or at least feel comfortable enough signing another short term agreement. I honestly don't want to sign a six month exclusive agreement with a buyer I know nothing about. If I am confident I understand expectations and honestly think I can help achieve the buyer's goals, I enter into a longer term agreement. I go above and beyond for my clients and while I understand they don't know my level of commitment until they work with me awhile, I don't and will not provide client level services to customers who won't commit to at least one day. While I am happy to answer questions and send listings with no pressure or obligation, provide honesty and disclose known defects (every agent is ethically bound to those last 2), it wouldn't be fair to my clients if I gave client level service to everyone. Plus, in the current market I  have to be able to show homes right away to my buyer clients so they don't miss out. I would rather provide excellent client service to those who are willing to commit to me, than mediocre service to everyone.

The following topics  will be addressed in a future No BS Zone blog: 


-When and Why Agents Ask for Proof of Funds or Pre-approval

-Why Sellers May Not Trust a Listing Agent or Take Their Advice

-Seemingly Innocent Things a Buyer Should Always Refrain from Sharing 

-Seemingly Innocent Things a Seller Should Always Refrain from Sharing

While I completely understand why there may be some trust issues, I am determined to share some ways to overcome them to ensure that your real estate transaction is as smooth as possible! 

If I can help you with your real estate needs or you  just have answer a general question, don't hesitate to contact me! 

KEEPING IT REAL

Mary Childress is Not Your Typical Realtor. This is Not Your Typical Realtor Bio. 

You may not be impressed with typical real estate bios. Don’t worry, I’m not either. They’re like cardboard—stiff, bland, and identical to every other bio out there. Instead of boasting ad naseum about awards and accomplishments you’re not interested in, I’m taking the novel approach of actually giving you want you want—real answers to questions you’re probably wondering right now.

Will Mary Childress return my calls and emails? 

Yes. Without question.

I realize this is one of the major frustrations the general public has with dealing with agents. I get dozens of calls and emails daily and I work hard to reply as quickly as possible.

Some past agents have gotten pushy with me when I didn’t want to list with them, not communicated after I signed on the bottom line, or gotten defensive when I want an update or question their methods. Is Mary Childress a jerk?

Depends on who you ask. Certain people who have stood between my clients and their real estate needs might not see my kindest and gentlest side. I can assure you that I am honest and candid. I take pride in being approachable and friendly. And if you need a quick real estate brain, or a strong dose of honesty, you’re in the right place. Loyalty to family, clients, and friends is one of my core values. People who mess with my people are the only ones who may think I’m a jerk.

Do you have experience doing exactly what I need?

These are ‘strong suits’ of mine:

-Listing and aggressively marketing homes to get desired results for my seller clients. (AKA getting their property SOLD!) I often help those who have listed previously without getting desired results.

-Willingness and ability to successfully help buyers and sellers who have unique circumstances. One example would be short sales: Sometimes homeowners need to sell when they don’t have enough equity to do so. I love it when things are smooth and easy, but I get a deep sense of satisfaction helping a client with the transaction that others didn’t want to or couldn’t help with.

-Helping buyers get the most home for the best price. I also make sure they understand the process and give them the information they need to make informed decisions in the search, negotiations, inspection process-all the way to closing and beyond.

Problem solving-It’s not that I look for difficult deals. I love it when things are smooth and easy. But if something unforeseen happens along the way, I will not panic. I will not give up. I will work diligently to provide viable options while keeping my client informed every step of the way.

If your goal or situation isn’t represented on that list, don’t worry.  Contact me anyway. If I can’t help, I can get you referred to another agent who can.

What kind of work are you really good at?

On a personal level, I’m pretty good at cooking. (I make a mean lasagna!) I’m working on my gardening skills though there have been some disasters on my quest to have a green thumb. (I can share a few funny stories about that when we know each other better).

On a professional level, here are the skill-sets that I’ve developed over the years:

-Listening. Unfortunately, it’s a lost art

-Problem Solving. See above. I always have a back-up plan plus a team of professionals I can consult for advice. My creative thinking is a huge plus in this industry.

-Handling Pressure. On a daily basis I deal with a myriad of tasks. Once I find the right house for my buyer or find the right buyer for my seller’s home, I have to help negotiate and deal with the many things that come up during the process until closing. I not only can handle my full schedule but absolutely thrive on it.

-Work ethic. So important. As an agent I not only know who I work for, but I make sure everyone else understands this as well. And I NEVER make a transaction about myself. It should always be about the client and his or her best interests. I make sure my clients have the information they need to make informed decisions. Once their decision is made, I work hard to get them the results they have instructed me to get for them.

What do clients think of you?

My clients are better suited to answer this for you. You can check out reviews on my website: MaryChildress.com or on my Facebook page Mary Childress, Realty ONE Group Dockside.

Here are a few testimonials:

“My wife and I absolutely loved working with Mary. We had our house on the market for 8 months with very few showings and no offers. We decided to go in a different direction and on a friends recommendation we chose to list with Mary. She had our friend’s house under contract within 8 days a year or so prior to us listing and we thought surely that won't happen for us, and we were right it didn't... She had us under contract in 6 DAYS! She guided us through the entire process, and was always easily reachable. Mary you were a blessing to me and my family and I can not thank you enough!”

“Mary Childress is incredible. I can’t say enough great things about her. She sold not one, not two, but three properties for us all in a year’s time. She made it extremely easy and seamless each time. I highly recommend Mary for all of your real estate needs. We are more than pleased with her. Thank you Mary for all you hard work.”

“If you are looking for the best real estate agent in the area, you've definitely found her!”

“Mary represented me throughout my home purchase. She was a veteran advocate on my behalf. Professional, polite, and tenacious when the need arose. I recommend her every time I am approached about real estate on the Grand Strand.”

“Mary Childress is a wonderful realtor!! She helped me in multiple ways in my efforts to find the home for me! I'm thankful she put up with my constant requests for her to find me different types of listings until I found THE ONE for me! Once I found it, Mary made a seemingly overwhelming process completely smooth and simple! I can't thank her or recommend her highly enough!”

 “I loved working with Mary for the sale of our home! She is very personable and professional. She did everything possible to get a quick sell! I highly recommend her to anyone selling or buying a home. I am sure to call on her again!”

 “Mary is very dedicated to her clients and GETS THE JOB DONE!”

If you would like to see a more conventional bio with my sales, my company bio, what awards I have won, what committees I serve, and what charities I actively support, I can make that happen! 

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are looking for a full-time, dedicated, hard working, and no-nonsense real estate agent! 

LOOK, A SQUIRREL!!

Look, a squirrel! 

I was walking my dog, Samson, yesterday and a squirrel ran across the sidewalk about a block in front of us, but Samson didn't miss it. He momentarily forgot about his obedience training, his manners, his dignified pace at my left side... all of that.  He just wanted to go check out that squirrel. I couldn't really get upset with him, because first of all, that's pretty normal behavior for a giant Mastiff overgrown pup and also because I, too, suffer from the "Look, a squirrel" syndrome. 

It's not that I can't focus.. I just very much practice the art of multi-tasking. If I am with a client, I do give them my undivided attention, but if I am working in the office, I am all over the place.  I don't leave until I get everything on my work list done, but sometimes (often) my personal to-do list grows instead of getting any smaller. 

This blog is a perfect example. I enjoy writing. I have lots of ideas in my head that I'm convinced could fill several best selling novels. I just don't make time to write. I seldom even read these days-unless you want to count contracts, real estate related articles and continuing education information. I intended to write a weekly, personal, interesting yet informational post that covered things that buyers and sellers want and need to know but aren't typically emphasized.  Though I have posted some useful information and topics that may be helpful to some, it hasn't been very personal and has definitely been all over the place. 

Staying on Track

It's much easier to post checklists or statistics than to actually write a heartfelt and 'keeping it real' type of blog. I also can't explain or even understand how it can be 6 AM and then 6 PM in the blink of an eye, pretty much every day of my life. They say time flies when you are having fun and as busy and complicated as real estate can be, I absolutely love what I do, but I do get sidetracked sometimes. (OK, often if not always)  

If I realize I should have made a blog post but have already put in 12-14 hours that day, I'll wait until the next day so I can be fresh and creative, but that next day I will wake up to an inspection emergency or end up showing property all day to a buyer who doesn't want to miss out on a house or countless other things that pop up in addition to my already full schedule. So, the blog goes on the back burner or I end up posting something quick and relatively easy several days after I intended to post it. 

That is not what I intended and though I need to prioritize, I am going to start making it my goal to post a weekly blog the way I initially planned. I am not going to focus on what everyone else is doing or what words I need to include in the title to get bumped up on the search engine, but in true Mary Childress fashion, I'm going to keep it real and post about things I think are useful and relevant. 


In fact, I am going to spend time today making a list of possible blog topics. I will stay focused on that very task no matter what. Unless Samson needs a walk. Or someone calls me to find our how much their home is worth. Or somebody needs information on a house that just went on the market. Or maybe somebody needs a recommendation for a thorough home inspector, or closing attorney, or insurance company, or roofer, or.....Look a squirrel!  

Check out my FB page!
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HOME BUYER’S CHECKLIST

10 Things To Do After You Are Under Contract


🔥MUST DO A.S.A.P. STUFF! 🔥

1. Earnest Money - (Good Faith/Deposit) - Money that says you're real and serious about buying the house. Make sure it's delivered to my office, your closing attorney, or me (whatever is most convenient for you) in the time and format as stated in the sales contract. 💸

2. Property Inspection - Choose your inspector(s) and get them scheduled ASAP to determine if any repairs are needed. A general inspector is able to give you an overall report on the house and if he feels something should have a second opinion. This is your time to have foundation checked, pest control, plumber,electrician, etc. come check it out and give the OK. 🔧 🔨

3. Lender Docs - Once you're under contract your lender needs to know ASAP. I will send him/her the contract. (as well as to your chosen closing attorney) Make sure to get them all the requested documentation on time. This means as soon as they are requested!

👉WHAT'S NEXT?

4. Title Work – Your attorney will initiate the title search and exam (This makes sure this house actually becomes YOUR HOUSE ) They will be checking to make sure your new home doesn't have any previous tax liens, federal liens, or judgments. Be sure to review the title commitment once you receive it from them. I highly recommend asking them about title insurance.

5. Appraisal - The appraisal should be ordered as soon as you have performed your inspections and resolved any issues. This is something you'll have to pre pay to your lender. (Some lenders will allow you to give them a credit card to hold in case you’d prefer the appraisal to be paid at closing.) Are you keeping track? That’s *inspections, earnest and appraisal you'll have to pay out of pocket before you close on your home. I can help estimate these fees. 💲

6. Insurance - Choose your home owner’s insurance provider and provide the relevant information to attorney and your lender. Don't know who to use? Drive for like 2 minutes and I'm sure you can find one on a nearby billboard. Or just ask me and I’ll be happy to make recommendations. 😎

🙌FINAL STEPS!!!

7. Turn On Utilities - Schedule all your utilities to be transferred or turned on before closing or you'll be spending your first night in your new home in the dark and with no TV. 📺

8. Schedule Closing - Schedule your closing early to make sure the closing attorney has a convenient time slot open. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour and most are open Monday-Friday. Some close early on Friday. Also, please note that in Horry County, keys are not given when you sign but when the deed actually records. So if it’s important for you to take occupancy of the home on closing day, let me know so I can help get you scheduled accordingly. 🕘

9. Final Walkthrough - Before closing, do one final walkthrough to make sure that everything is ready for closing...and that the previous owners didn't leave you any surprises. 🚽

10. Close The Deal!!! - Bring your photo ID and make sure you have gotten wire instructions from attorney’s office. You should get these in person or over the phone, NOT via email for risk of attempted wire fraud. Your lender WILL NOT ever change the wiring instructions via email. Some attorneys allow you to bring a cashier’s check but suitcases full of money are not allowed.   Be sure to be on time! 💰 💰 💰


If you have any questions about the home buying process, don't hesitate to contact me. I make sure my clients are informed every step of the way. 


CHAMPAGNE TASTE ON A BEER BUDGET

In honor of International Beer Day, let’s get into the saying “champagne taste on a beer budget”, and how it relates to real estate.

That saying gives beer a bad rap. It suggests that beer is bad, or not as good as champagne. It paints a picture of beer being “cheap” or lower quality.

Truth is, there’s some pretty bad champagne out there, even if it’s more expensive than beer.

But there’s also some pretty “cheap” champagne. And nowadays, there’s some pretty pricey beer.

I know, I know. It’s just a saying used to make the point — I like and want things I can’t afford.

Continue reading

MOVING CHECKLIST

Before You Leave

Remember to Give Address Change to: ​

  • Post Office 
  • Credit Cards and Charge Accounts
  • Subscriptions
  • Insurance: Life, Health, Fire, & Auto
  • Friends and Relatives 

Bank

  • Transfer funds
  • Arrange check cashing in new city
  • Arrange credit references 

Utility Companies

  • Gas, electric, water, telephone, internet, and cable
  • Get refunds on any deposits made

Medical

  • Ask doctors and nurses for referrals
  • Transfer prescriptions and medical information to include eye glass and x-ray
  • Obtain birth and medical records

On Moving Day

  • Carry enough cash or funds to cover the cost of moving services until you make banking arrangements in new city
  • Carry jewelry and documents (passports, etc) yourself- don't send in moving van 

At Your Old and New Address

  • Plan for transporting pets
  • Double check closets, drawers, and shelves to make sure they are empty
  • Check on services of telephone, internet, cable, gas, electricity, and water
  • Check pilot light on stove, water heater, incinerator, and furnace if applicable
  • Get driver's license in new city
  • Register for school if applicable
  • Arrange medical services

If I can help, don't hesitate to contact me! 

Sea Turtle Facts

SEA TURTLE SEASON

One of the best things about visiting or living in Coastal Carolina is enjoying our beautiful beaches. We can enjoy the sun and sand while being mindful of the creatures who live there. 

Sea turtles are ancient creatures who spend most of their time in the water.  Females leave the water to lay eggs. They dig a nest with their back flippers and buyer the eggs before returning to the ocean. When the baby turtles are born it sometimes takes them a whole week to dig out of the nest! They emerge at night and return to the sea, where they remain until time to mate. 

There's much we don't know about sea creatures while they are at sea but we do know there are a few things we can do to help them during nesting season which is May 1st through October 31st. Not only do the following things help, but can prevent unintentionally ​harming them: 

    1. Be sure to remove all trash you bring to the beach and any you see left behind
    2. Fill all holes you dig in the sand
    3. Since artificial light discourages nesting and misleads offspring, keep Lights Out on the beach.
    4. Avoid nesting and hatching areas

Myrtle Beach State Park (843)238-0874 has more information and is also a very beautiful place to visit if you are on vacation or live here and have never been. 

Have a great week!