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Selling a home can be tricky, especially when it comes to buyer offers. Here's how to know when an offer is a good one.

If you're thinking about selling your home, there are important things to know that can impact your sale. Before you accept an offer, make sure you're choosing the right buyer and not just the highest offer. Our real estate agents know that the highest offer is not always the best one, and you should consider other factors if you want to make the right choice.

Look for Pre-Approved Buyers

Buyers looking for mortgage loans must first qualify with a lender by showing proof of finances, income, job stability, and credit history. After reviewing this information, buyers may be pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan, but there's a big difference. A pre-qualified buyer is not guaranteed loan approval, but a pre-approved buyer is given a pre-approval letter by the lender that ensures a mortgage loan for a certain dollar amount.

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You may look for help and advice when selling your home. Just make sure you don't listen to these misleading tips.

Selling your home is a big deal, but it doesn't have to be an impossible challenge. If you're thinking about moving, our real estate agents can help you avoid bad pricing advice that can keep your home on the market way too long. Take a look at six common pricing mistakes you should avoid.

  1. Price Your Home Without a Market Analysis
    Pricing your home so it's comparable to prices of other homes in your surrounding area is an important sales tool. A good real estate agent will do a complete comparative market analysis (CMA) and spend a lot of time researching homes for sale and comps in your area. When a CMA is done correctly, your home should sell relatively close to the listing price and within a short amount of time after it hits the market.

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Making your home appraisal-ready is simple with a little effort. Here's what you need to do.

Selling your home is a process and has many steps. One of the first things you will need to take care of is the appraisal. Before you schedule an appraisal, you will want to make sure your property is ready for the intense scrutiny it will soon have to endure. The following steps are just a few that our real estate agents recommend to help our clients get their homes ready for an appraisal.

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Selling a home for the best price is tricky to pull off. Here's how you can ensure you sell at the price you want.

Sooner or later, most homeowners will face selling their home and moving elsewhere. Many life situations can necessitate the sale of a home — change of jobs, marriage, divorce, retirement, or simply the quest for a "dream home." Regardless of the reason, you may be contemplating listing your home among Southport homes for sale.

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Cleaning Tips

Winter is a fantastic time to deep clean your home. Our real estate agents also recommend that you thoroughly clean your home before an open house or showing. Follow these tips to get your space cleaner than ever. 

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Pet Owners Selling HomeHaving a pet in your family makes your house feel even more like home. Unfortunately, not all buyers are thrilled about having a four-legged friend as a prior resident — especially if they have pets themselves. Our real estate agents understand that you have a lot on your plate as you sell your home. We want to take a moment to remind you that there are a few additional tasks to add to your to-do list if you're selling a home that housed a pet. Pet owners should complete these duties before a showing.

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Hanging Wall Art Tips

Wall art can make your home look more pleasing and personalized. But many homeowners are apprehensive about putting holes in their walls and worry about exactly where to hang their art.

Fortunately, this type of decorating isn't as difficult as you may think. And if you change your mind, you can also select different artwork or hang it somewhere else. Our real estate agents suggest the following tips to help make hanging wall art in your home easier:

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Features Buyers are Looking forThe real estate market sees numerous changes each year with new trending features to entice homebuyers. The coronavirus, homeschooling, and working remotely have many families looking to expand their living space to accommodate all the changes. Whether you are selling or viewing Southport homes for sale, it's important to know the current trends.

When looking for a new home, every buyer has a specific list of essential features. Your home is more than just a house; it's your sanctuary. Right now, buyers want specific features for a comfortable and efficient living space. Check out the following five growing trends for homebuyers in 2020.

  1. Extra Space
    Before the recent health crisis, working remotely at home was a growing trend. Now to stay healthy, more individuals are working from home. For cost efficiency, many employers will continue to have their employees work at home in the future. Meeting the demands of working from home requires a private area to conduct business and close off the rest of the household. Homebuyers are looking for houses with extra bedrooms or other areas to transform into a home office.
  2. Two Bathrooms or More
    With everyone at home, the bathroom is a busy location. Increased use means a lot of traffic. If your current home only has one bathroom, the extra use may be overwhelming for your system to handle. Numerous homebuyers want at least two full baths or an extra half-bathroom to meet the needs of the family.
  3. Large Kitchen Space
    With the preparation of more meals at home, kitchen space is essential to meet the demands of daily cooking. The ideal kitchen would have extra space off to the side for a large pantry to stock up on necessities. A spacious kitchen is a growing trend taking over the preference of sizeable formal dining areas. A kitchen is an ideal location for family meals with quick and easy cleanup. The extra space is also an excellent area for doing schoolwork or entertaining.
  4. Backyard Space
    Spacious backyards are a welcome feature for numerous homebuyers. After all, when staying close to home, your outdoor living space is essential. Homebuyers want space for family entertainment and maybe a patio for enjoying summer evenings and meals. 
  5. Energy Efficient
    Home's with energy-efficient upgrades were already gaining popularity with homebuyers. Now with more people working at home and using electricity all day long, these features are even more desirable. A highly efficient HVAC system helps reduce your energy consumption and saves money. Plus, windows should be Energy Star qualified to help reduce heat or cooling loss. 

When selling your home, it's important to know what homebuyers are looking for in their search. 

Starting a search of your own? If you need help finding the right home for you and your family, our real estate agents are ready to help. Contact us today. We will find the ideal home match for you.  


Elegant Home

Most of us are sitting at home these days, and it can be challenging to find projects to keep busy. One relatively easy goal could be sprucing up your home with simple, inexpensive touches that will enhance its elegance and won't break the bank.

Our real estate agents have you covered with these tips to make your home look more elegant, without breaking your budget! Plus, these simple changes can help your home stand out among the Southport homes for sale

  1. Declutter
    You've seen this tip before, but less is always more when it comes to the home. Be merciless; go through each room and remove knickknacks, photos, gifts from relatives, and dated furnishings (no matter how sentimental). Store these items and switch them out another time.

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Home Improvement Tasks

When you spend more time at home, it's natural for small home annoyances to turn into big home problems. That dripping tap becomes torture when you're listening to it all day long. Lots of homeowners turn time at home into home improvement time, and it's a great time for small DIY projects. But there are a few projects that should wait for licensed professionals. Our real estate agents want your home improvement projects to be safe and successful, so we suggest you save the following for the pros. 

  1. Electrical Work
    It's hard to overemphasize the dangers of DIY electrical work. You could cause injury to yourself or a member of your household. Unlicensed electrical work could cause damage to your home that could cost thousands to fix. Some projects, such as changing a light fixture, are promoted as DIY projects, but even those are safer in the hands of a trained and licensed electrician. 
  2. Plumbing Changes
    Adding that outdoor faucet or installing a bidet sounds like a simple DIY project when they describe it on home improvement shows, but it can end with a flooded basement or worse for the unlicensed plumber. Licensed plumbers have access to tools and materials that the average homeowner simply does not. There are some simple repairs that you can do on your own, but making significant changes requires professional help. 
  3. Adding or Removing Walls
    Perhaps you're tired of your open-plan layout, or you have a section of a dining room just crying out to become your new den. But put down the sledgehammer. Dividing or combining rooms carries a significant risk to the structural soundness of your home. Adding or removing walls creates a stress on your home that cannot be accomplished safely without professional assessment, planning, and execution. You may also need to get a permit before altering your home in such a manner. Creating an addition to your home, such as adding a sunroom, creates a similar stress on your home's structure and the electrical grid. Please consult an architect with your plans to alter your home's structure. 

Spending time at home is great for assessing your home's strengths and weaknesses. You'll have time to figure out just what would make your home one of the finest Southport homes for sale. And knowing what projects should be best left to professionals will save you time, money, and keep your family safe. Renovations done by licensed professionals look better to potential home buyers and show the pride you have in your home. If you're interested in learning about what repairs and renovations can do for your home's prospects on the market, contact us today. 


Downsize Your Home

Your home is your castle. It's a comfortable, peaceful retreat from the pressures of work and the world outside. It's where you raise your children and send them off into the world with fond memories of backyard bbq's, holidays, and family gatherings. As the years go by and your lifestyle changes, it's entirely possible that your once comfortable home will simply be too large for your needs. If you find yourself wondering if now is the right time to downsize, the following are seven signs that it's time to make your move into one of the smaller Southport homes for sale right now.

  1. Maintenance is Taking its Toll 
    The bigger the home, the more it takes to maintain the landscape and everything else. Some tasks such as fixing the roof or climbing ladders to clean gutters can be downright dangerous the older you are.

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Southport Plants

Spring is beginning, and it's a perfect time to plan your garden. The weather is warm enough that you can plan your garden outdoors, even if the lawn isn't as lush and green as it will be in a month or two. While exotic greenhouse blooms win flower shows, if you select plants suited to the local climate, you'll have multiple choices for beautiful blooms and plants that require relatively little intervention to thrive. Whether you've never planted a seed or win gardening prizes every spring, consider the following plants when planning a garden for your Southport home. 

  1. Peace Lily
    The peace lily is a tropical plant that thrives in Southport's hardiness zone, classed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as zone 8A. Its dark, glossy leaves spread out over the ground, helping to maintain the soil moisture it needs, and the ivory blooms give the peace lily its name, despite not being a true lily. It's an excellent plant for novice gardeners, but not for those with small children or pets, as several parts of the plant are toxic.

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Selling Your Vacation Home

It's lovely to have a vacation home as a getaway, but sometimes circumstances change, and it's time to move on. It takes some work, but with a little research, selling your vacation home can be a liberating experience. Our real estate agents often advise clients on how selling a vacation home can be different than putting your permanent home on the market. These tips can make the process run smoothly and help you get more bang for your buck when it comes to selling a vacation home.  

  1. Find out the Best Time of Year to Sell
    Depending on the location and type of property, it may be much easier to sell your vacation home during certain times of the year. For example, Southport homes for sale are scooped up much faster in the spring and summer because it's a coastal town that's bustling during these months. Although there is more competition, there are also more potential buyers, which can help you sell faster and make more money. If you own a condo or timeshare, make sure to check with the HOA or timeshare company to find out if there are any restrictions on when and how you sell your vacation home. It's also a good idea to speak to your accountant or attorney about the tax implications of selling your vacation home.
  2. Find an Experienced Agent
    The seasonal/vacation home market can be very different than real estate markets in other areas. Look for a knowledgeable real estate agent who has a proven track record of success in helping clients successfully buy and sell vacation homes. A well-established local agent should also provide references and understand the multifaceted aspects of the area and what buyers are looking for. An excellent real estate agent will also advise you on how to appropriately prepare and price your vacation home to make it sell.
  3. Price it Right
    Check out recent sales of comparable homes in the area to see how much they sold for. Make sure you take into consideration location, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and amenities like a fenced-in yard. Some people looking to buy vacation homes are interested in purchasing a house that's furnished. Ask your real estate agent about how to add furnishings to the overall cost.
  4. Clean it Up
    Getting ready to sell is the perfect time to declutter and clean your house from top to bottom. Make sure to make any minor repairs and do affordable updates like new cabinet and drawer hardware in the kitchen and new lighting fixtures. Have carpets professionally cleaned and paint all rooms a neutral color such as beige, cream, or greige. If any major repairs need to be done, it's a must to take care of them before you put your house on the market. Once it's all cleaned up, stage it for photos and listing.
  5. Create Curb Appeal
    Now that the inside of your vacation home looks all pretty and clean give the outside some attention. Cut the grass, pull weeds, and trim hedges and trees, so it all looks neat and tidy. Adding splashes of color with pots of vibrant flowers and a new welcome mat will make the outside pop.

Are you looking to buy or sell a vacation home in Brunswick County? Our real estate professionals have you covered. Contact us to get started.


Real Estate Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, and when you're taking real estate photos, you want your buyer to have only two words in mind — dream home.

Our REALTORS® know the importance of high-quality photography for your real estate listing. The question is, do you know how to stage your home for these amazing photos? We've gathered this list of 7 tips to help you stage your home in a picture-perfect way.

  1. Let's Talk About Lighting
    Lighting is one of the most vital elements in photography, and it's just as important in real estate photos. Natural light will always be your best resource, so schedule your photographs during a time late morning or early afternoon. Open all curtains and blinds as well.

  2. Crop Out Clutter
    Clutter can be very distracting in photographs so minimize it as much as possible. Ideally, you should see no clutter, which includes items like dishware, clothing, or pet supplies. When you take your photos, your home should look as presentable as it would be if buyers were walking it in person.

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Selling During the Slow Season

Winter can seem like a slow time to sell a home, but that doesn't mean you should wait to list your house or condo. While it may seem like a slower season, there are still homebuyers opting to move during the holidays due to changes in family size, income, or a change in jobs. When selling your home during the winter season, there are some strategies you can employ to make your house stand out among other Southport homes for sale.

Attract Out-of-Towners

Moving is one of the top reasons a buyer will be searching for a home in the offseason. Use this information to tailor your listing to out of town buyers. Highlight your year-round home features as well as access to local amenities and community events. Include information that is local-only knowledge to give them the inside scoop. 

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Selling Vacant Home - Margaret Rudd & Associates

People often ask our REALTORS® if it's a better idea to list their Southport homes for sale after everything has been moved out and it's vacant. The reality is that homes can sell just fine either way. Sometimes the seller's situation requires one choice over the other, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you're not sure what might work for you, consider these pros and cons.

Reasons for Selling a Home Vacant

There are a lot of reasons selling a vacant home might be the best or only option for a seller. These are just a few of the reasons a home might be vacant:  

  • Relocation out of town or out of state
  • Elderly homeowners that have had a sudden change in their living situation
  • Home that needs major renovations before selling
  • Homeowner has health problems, mobility issues, or a disability that would make it difficult to leave for showings

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Home Valuation - Margaret Rudd & Associates

Our REALTORS® are experts when it comes to determining the best price to set for a home. Southport homes for sale can go for a wide range of price points. Many factors go into the final calculation and having outside help is essential. When sellers choose to set their own price, they often overestimate. It's easy to price a home out of the market simply because the value it has for you will influence your thinking. Of course, your feelings about a property do matter! And you want to find someone who will pay you enough to reach your goals and make saying goodbye worthwhile. That's where a REALTOR® comes in.

With years of experience navigating the Southport real estate market, a good REALTOR® is your best ally in setting the perfect price for your home. When you attract attention from motivated buyers, you'll often get more at closing than you expect. Buyers compete—you stay focused on what matters to you. Wondering how a REALTOR® makes the call on a property's value? This quick crash course will give you the basics:

  1. Amenities of the Home
    It's no coincidence that the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is one of the first things people look at when they check a listing. Amenities can add value by lowering cost of ownership—as with efficient appliances—or matching a buyer's lifestyle. Be mindful of trends: An on-trend layout can entice buyers, but some amenities that might look fun, such as a pool, can turn them off.

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