My Weekly "Favorite" BLOG based on Realtor Tours, Central, North & South

Thank you for visiting my blog! This weekly blog is not intended to promote my listings or those of my Firm, Sea Pines Real Estate Beach Club. We market those very well. Instead, the purpose of this blog is to give you insight to my one pick of what I think is the “favorite” from the choice of homes on the weekly home tour. I will try and guide you through my process and thoughts to my pick.

The home tour is designed to introduce the real estate agents of the new homes on the market. The tours are broken down to North, Mid-Island and South Island. My “favorite" is not based on any particular criteria. It is simply and usually, my professional choice of the “favorite” in this week’s offerings. However, as I am human, sometimes emotions take over and I just like a house.  I take the community, location, price, size, view, condition and other variables into each evaluation. 

Feel free to contact me, Your Hilton Head Agent, or your own agent for information on any homes or villas on the weekly tour or on the island. I look forward to hearing from you!

See you at the beach, bike path, ocean or golf course! :) 


Aug. 2, 2020

Lowest Mortgage Rates in History

Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers


In July, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell below 3% for the first time in history.And while many Americans have rushed to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, others question the hype. Are today’s rates truly a bargain?


While average mortgage rates have drifted between 4% and 5% in recent years, they haven’t always been so low. Freddie Mac began tracking 30-year mortgage rates in 1971. At that time, the national average was 7.31%.2 As the rate of inflation started to rise in the mid-1970s, mortgage rates surged. It’s hard to imagine now, but the average U.S. mortgage rate reached a high of 18.63% in 1981.3


Fortunately for home buyers, inflation normalized by October 1982, which sent mortgage rates on a downward trajectory that would bring them as low as 3.31% in 2012.3 Since 2012, 30-year fixed rates have risen modestly, with the daily average climbing as high as 4.94% in 2018.4


So what’s causing today’s rates to sink to unprecedented lows? Economic uncertainty.


Mortgage rates generally follow bond yields, because the majority of U.S. mortgages are packaged together and sold as bonds. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dampen the economy and inject volatility into the stock market, a growing number of investors are shifting their money into low-risk bonds. Increased demand has driven bond yields—and mortgage rates—down.5


However, according to National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, “the number one driver of low mortgage rates is the accommodating Federal Reserve stance to keep interest rates low and to buy up mortgage-backed securities.” According to Yun, “we will see mortgage rates stay near this level for the next 18 months because of the significance of the Fed’s stance.”6





Low mortgage rates increase buyer demand, which is good news for sellers. But what if you don’t have any plans to sell your home? Can current homeowners benefit from falling mortgage rates? Yes, they can!


A growing number of homeowners are capitalizing on today’s rock-bottom rates by refinancing their existing mortgages. In fact, refinance applications have surged over the past few months—and for a good reason.7 Reduced interest rates can save homeowners a bundle on both monthly payments and total payments over the lifetime of a mortgage.


The chart below illustrates the potential savings when you decrease your mortgage rate by just one percentage point. When it comes to refinancing, the bigger the spread, the greater the savings.


Estimated Monthly Payment On a 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage


Loan Amount



Monthly Savings

Savings Over 30 Years




























Be sure to factor in any prepayment penalties on your current mortgage and closing costs for your new mortgage. For a refinance, expect to pay between 2% to 5% of your loan amount.8 You can divide your closing costs by your monthly savings to find out how long it will take to recoup your investment, or use an online refinance calculator. For a more precise calculation of your potential savings, we’d be happy to connect you with a mortgage professional in our network who can help you decide if refinancing is a good option for you.





We’ve already shown how low rates can save you money on your mortgage payments. But they can also give a boost to your budget by increasing your purchasing power. For example, imagine you have a budget of $1,500 to put toward your monthly mortgage payment. If you take out a 30-year mortgage at 5.0%, you can afford a loan of $279,000.


Now let’s assume the mortgage rate falls to 4.0%. At that rate, you can afford to borrow $314,000 while still keeping the same $1,500 monthly payment. That’s a budget increase of $35,000!


If the rate falls even further to 3.0%, you can afford to borrow $355,000 and still pay the same $1,500 each month. That’s $76,000 over your original budget! All because the interest rate fell by two percentage points. If you’ve been priced out of the market before, today’s low rates may put you in a better position to afford your dream home. 


On the other hand, rising mortgages rates will erode your purchasing power. Wait to buy, and you may have to settle for a smaller home in a less-desirable neighborhood. So if you’re planning to move, don’t miss out on the phenomenal discount you can get with today’s historically-low rates.





No one can say with certainty how low mortgage rates will fall or when they will rise again. A lot will depend on the trajectory of the pandemic and subsequent economic impact. 


Forecasters at Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association predict 30-year mortgage rates will average 3.2% and 3.5% respectively in 2021.9,10 However, economists at Fannie Mae expect them to dip even lower to an average of 2.8% next year.11 


Still, many experts agree that those who wait to take advantage of these unprecedented rates could miss out on the deal of a lifetime. “With rates now at all-time historic lows, it’s hard to imagine that people may be holding out for something even better," warns Paul Buege, president and COO of Inlanta Mortgage.12 Positive news about a vaccine or a faster-than-expected economic recovery could send rates back up to pre-pandemic levels.





While the average 30-year mortgage rate is hovering around 3%, you can do a quick search online and find advertised rates that are even lower. But these ultra-low mortgages are typically reserved for only prime borrowers. So what steps can you take to secure the lowest possible rate?


  1. Consider a 15-Year Mortgage Term


Lock in an even lower rate by opting for a 15-year mortgage. If you can afford the higher monthly payment, a shorter mortgage term can save you a bundle in interest, and you’ll pay off your home in half the time.13


  1. Give Your Credit Score a Boost


The economic downturn has made lenders more cautious. These days, you’ll probably need a credit score of at least 740 to secure their lowest rates.14 While there’s no fast fix for bad credit, you can take steps to help your score before you apply for a loan:15

      Dispute inaccuracies on your credit report.

      Pay your bills on time, and catch up on any missed payments.

      Hold off on applying for new credit.

      Pay off debt, and keep balances low on your credit cards.

      Don’t close unused credit cards (unless they’re charging you an annual fee).


  1. Make a Large Down Payment


The more equity you have in a home, the less likely you are to default on your mortgage. That’s why lenders offer better rates to borrowers who make a sizable down payment. Plus, if you put down at least 20%, you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance.


  1. Pay for Points


Discount points are fees paid to the mortgage company in exchange for a lower interest rate. At a cost of 1% of the loan amount, they aren’t cheap. But the investment can pay off over the long-term in interest savings.


  1. Shop Around


Rates, terms, and fees can vary widely amongst mortgage providers, so do your homework. Contact several lenders to find out which one is willing to offer you the best overall deal. But be sure to complete the process within 45 days—or else the credit inquiries by multiple mortgage companies could have a negative impact on your credit score.16





Mortgage rates have never been this low. Don’t miss out on your chance to lock in a great rate on a new home or refinance your existing mortgage. Either way, we can help. 


We’d be happy to connect you with the most trusted mortgage professionals in our network. And if you’re ready to start shopping for a new home, we’d love to assist you with your search—all at no cost to you! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.


Respectfully submitted,

Susan Ochsner

(843) 816-6388



1.     CNN Business -

2.     Freddie Mac -

3.     Value Penguin -

4.     Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis -

5.     Bankrate -

6.     Washington Post -

7.     Yahoo! Finance -

8.     Bankrate -

9.     Freddie Mac June 2020 Quarterly Forecast -

10.   Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Market Forecast July 15, 2020 -

11.   Fannie Mae July 2020 Housing Forecast -

12.   Washington Post -

13.   Investopedia -

14.   Money -

15.   Experian -

Equifax -

July 24, 2020

Hilton Head Homes Tour - South - July 22nd, 2020

Today is Wednesday July 22nd, 2020 and we have the South real estate tour for homes for sale on Hilton Head Island. It’s a very small one which is somewhat expected. It’s smaller than your typical July but again, our inventories are extremely low. I have mentioned this before but typically in the last decade our inventories for residences in Sea Pines – and this is my perspective – is 125 to 140, in that range. As of this morning we have 83 residences. So, as you can see, it’s quite a drop in supply and if you remember Economics 101, when supply is down, and demand is the same or unchanged then prices go up. So, that is where we are with that. 

Club Course

First we have 4 Long Marsh Lane, a six-bedroom six and a half bath listed at $1,549,000. The price is correct for a six bedroom but when you go from four to five or four to six, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference. This home has a few condition problems but nothing that can’t easily be fixed. It’s just that I’m speaking only of the impression as you arrive to this stately fabulous neighborhood cul-de-sac with marsh views. These marsh views are phenomenal. The home has an interesting floor plan. They have art that distracts from everything. The kitchen and the bath need a little updating but again, it’s a spectacular home and it’s in a great, quiet location and is priced appropriately. It does need a little bit of fixing up. So, it might be a tad too high but again, with the inventories where they are, it’s probably best just to leave it. It has only been on the market for a couple of days. 

In Oyster Landing Club we have 17 Oyster Landing Lane. It's a three-bedroom three bath home for $825,000. It is a lovely townhouse. It does not have an elevator, but it has a deck outside that overlooks the marsh. You don’t have the deep-water view that you do on Long Marsh Lane but it’s in a nice little community. Everything that is in there that has gone has been either on the golf view side or the really high-end side. So, things have been going from $635,000 for golf view to $1.5 million for the deep water. So, this one is kind of in between. It does need some tweaking but it’s very workable for sure. It is a nice place. It just needs a little bit of tweaking.

52 North Calibogue Cay Road is a four-bedroom five bath for $1,895,000. This is not on the deep-water side. It’s on the – what we call – creek side which is very private and great, especially if you’re not a boater and you’re not concerned about the rising tides for going out on your boat. A low country style home and has a lot of charm inside. You can see it has been a family home for quite some time. The kitchen has been updated. There is some shelving in the master that has been updated and that has primarily been due to two floods. I believe they were flooded in Matthew and Irma and I looked to make sure it was on the property disclosure and that is the case. So, just be aware if you’re going to renovate and not put too much on it. You might be better off tearing it down and building a new home, but it certainly has charm; you can’t argue with that. 

Then more central in Sea Pines we have 22 Twin Pines Road, a four-bedroom five bath listed at $1,195,000. This home has been meticulously maintained. Yes, it is dated but it has great bones, a very nice view, and I know I have said this ad nauseum for some of you who might have read my blogs before but, you know, the older homes had the better lot choices. They looked to make sure the sun was just right, and the tree canopy was important. So, a lot of times you will have older homes, but I think it wouldn’t take a lot to make this home fabulous. I like the flow of this home. Don’t let the pictures deter you from its potential. The curb appeal is somewhat dated compared to what people are doing now but I think it has great potential and it’s on a wonderful street. In fact, the newer house across the street, I think, went under contract for $1.9 million. So again, this is in the money for the neighborhood. 

Lastly in Schooner Court unit 743, a four-bedroom four and a half bath listed for $675,000. That has been the price for a while. It has been on the market for about four months and they changed agents so, it came back on. It needs updating. I remember it. I didn’t go see it because I remember it. Again, it is hard to understand why it is still on the market. Nevertheless, remember that the supply is quite tight.

In Palmetto Bay outside of the gates we have 19 Palmetto Bay Villa. It’s a three-bedroom one and a half bath for $224,900. 

It is hard because these four houses that I mentioned are all my favorite areas. So, I would have a hard time picking a favorite right now, to be frank. Depending on where you are in your life and what you’re wanting to achieve, they all have their strengths. 

I guess I would pick 22 Twin Pines Road. I think it is probably the easiest renovation. You are still very central to the Resort of Sea Pines. You can easily bike and do the fun Sea Pines things you want to do are very centrally located where in Long Marsh Lane you are in the Club Course area and you are around more residents etc. and if you like to bike, you’re a little further off on that and it didn’t have a dock. So, if you do want a dock, you’d have to go to Calibogue Cay. I know I went around in circles when picking my favorite but it’s hard to do when there are four really great listings out there. 

Remember we have agents that are here to assist you. So, whatever it is we can do for you, please do not hesitate to call. No question is too trite or too insignificant. We’d love to hear from you and help you along your path to real estate ownership on our beautiful island. 

Respectfully Submitted,
Susan Ochsner

(843) 816-6388

Posted in Realtor Tour
July 15, 2020

Hilton Head Homes Tour - North - July 15, 2020

Today is Wednesday July 15th, 2020 and we have a very small North Tour of homes for sale on Hilton Head. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, a lot of the homes aren’t even making the tour but I think now in July things have slowed down a little bit although we still have a few things going under contract in two to three days. 

Windmill Harbour

There is a villa in Windmill Harbour which is 13 Spindle Lane, a two-bedroom two and a half bath for $399,000. It’s a beautifully updated villa. I just don’t know whether or not you’ll be able to get the appraisal for it. The last three that have sold in here have all been under $300,000 and this one is $100,000 more. That’s my only concern but it is beautiful. 

Indigo Run 

In Indigo Run we have 5 Cotesworth Place. It’s a five-bedroom four and a half bath for $799,000. They bought it at the height of the market in 2004. It’s a lovely home. I love the little garden when you come up; it’s very welcoming and it has a fenced in front gate and yard with sort of circular steps that are very pretty. It’s a nice newer home.

245 Berwick Drive is a four-bedroom four and a half bath for $725,000. This one is a little less. The kitchen isn’t as nice, but I do love the view. The other one had sort of a wooded view and the house was better quality but, to me, it’s all about the view because you can change everything else and you can change the inside to what you want. The other one was just so big with five bedrooms, but they are both good homes in Indigo run. 

Palmetto Hall

228 Fort Howell Drive, a five-bedroom five and a half bath for $749,000. The only thing that bothers me about this house is that from the kitchen you go into the master bedroom and the bedroom is just right next to the kitchen but I guess it wasn’t seen as a family home per se. So, the layout kind of bothers me a little bit. 

243 Fort Howell Drive is a six-bedroom seven bath home priced at $1,199,000. This one was purchased as a foreclosure. I remember this house. The railings were memorable, but they bought it in 2017 for $837,500 and I can’t tell where they put money. There was some damage due to a tree and they fixed that, but I really don’t see any updates. So, I really don’t see how they came with this price at all to be quite honest, but it is a spacious, big house. 

There was one more house in Palmetto Hall that, for whatever reason, I missed but I do want to talk about it because it’s a great listing. 2 Stevens Court is a five-bedroom five bath home listed at $649,000. It’s a really great price. I like the curb appeal. It is not a full stucco house. There is a nice view from the upstairs. It’s very welcoming and priced well. I think the carpeting probably needs to be changed and they didn’t really do anything ot the house but again, for 4,000 square feet it is priced accordingly. 

Spanish Wells

Spanish Wells is a peninsula area that has a gate, but it doesn’t have 24-security guard, just cameras. 53 Brams Point Road is a five-bedroom four and a half bath for $2,650,000. It has a boat lift. It is on the water right there on the marsh. It is a beautiful home, and this is the third broker and I’m a little surprised because I know they tried to sell in 2018 and 2019 and now they brought it down $100,000 with a new broker. I’m surprised that it never sold. It’s a beautiful home. Spanish Wells is known for its spacious lots and a lot of families live in there. It’s off the beaten path and a lot of people don’t know about it and it has a lot of high-end homes. I know there was one on the deep-water side that just went under contract. So, if you need that information, I can give it to you. 

We did go to two that were not in a gated community. 

2 Circlewood Drive in Beach City Place is the Edisto model for the developer, Village Park Homes. It’s a four-bedroom two and a half bath for $489,500. This is the last large tract of land for that whole area in Beach City and Mitchellville. It’s where we used to have the baseball field and do Gator football and now you are starting to see small developments in there. This home was built in 2017. Right when you come into the gate it is on the righthand side. It is cute and the garage has air conditioning in it. It’s hard to believe that these tract homes are now also three years old commanding that kind of price. It was clean and turnkey and ready to go.

In Bermuda Point, another popular family-oriented area with a small community of tract homes, we have 91 Bermuda Point Circle. It’s a three-bedroom three bath for $449,900. I know at some point someone is going to build to the left of this unit but on the right, it does have a magnificent tree. Just the way that it was built, it doesn’t really take advantage of that which is unfortunate. When you come in you’ve got to go up a lot of steep steps. So, it’s not for someone old and tired like me but it’s nicely done inside and again, it is in a good neighborhood. 

Hilton Head Plantation

19 Flying King Court is a three-bedroom two bath for $449,000. This is right there on the end of Flying King that is sort of a U-shaped street in the Skull Creek area. So, you’re close to the back gate. This house is adorable. Granted it is on the main road but the bushes and stuff, that didn’t really bother me and you’re right across from the gardens where you can plant vegetables and flowers and you’re conveniently located. It’s turnkey, cute as a button, and I love the price. 

1 Golden Hind Drive is a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $369,000. This one is almost $80,000 but it too was on the main drive and it needs a lot of work. Granted $80,000 might do it but the kitchen wasn’t as nice, and I just saw that the house has been poorly maintained and that always concerns me because then you’re not maybe dealing with cosmetics. You might be dealing with other issues, but it is a very aggressive price. So, again, it really depends on what one is looking for. It is in a great location in the Skull Creek area near the back gate. 

9 Windflower Court is a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $310,000. You will see from the pictures that it’s really cute inside. The problem is waling up to it adn seeing that gray one to the left that is falling apart and not maintained at all, very run down. It is nice inside and it’s centrally located in Hilton Head Plantation and a decent price. 

In Oyster Reef of Hilton Head Plantation, we have 2 Wild Holly Court. It’s a four-bedroom three and a half bath for $620,000. The pool is the best feature of the home. Granted the Headlands is a nice neighborhood and the house is in okay condition. They look like they worked on the gardening and I’m not a fan of the asphalt driveway. Inside they really didn’t do that much to it. I think if you’re looking for a pool, this is a decent house but I did see some water intrusion or something toward the front of the door and it just seems like it’s a little on the high side. I was expected a bit more than I saw but if you need a pool, you want to see it.

Lastly in the Headlands neighborhood we have 25 Winding Trail Lane. It’s a three-bedroom two bath for $535,000. I’m impressed at some of these prices. They are really increasing. I don’t know it it’s people just trying, but to have a 3/2 at almost the mid fives seems somewhat pricey to me. It’s 2,000 square feet. They did redo this area a little bit. They put new landscaping in but I remember that this home was on the market a while back. It is in a good location and a home that is ready to go. It has some nice features.

All in all, there is something for everyone whether it is a handyman special or something turnkey. We did have a small North Tour this time but there are some great properties still available. If you need any assistance, we can conduct a search and save it so you only get specific things that meet your needs in your price range and in the specific neighborhoods you are looking for. We’d be happy to do that for you. 

We are here to help you. We put our customers first and treat you like we would want to be treated. We often play devil’s advocate and point out things for your attention, but the main thing is that we want you to be happy with what you have narrowed down to. So, remember we are here to serve and represent you. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time. We look forward to serving you in the future. Have a great day and enjoy the rest of the Summer!

Respectfully Submitted,
Susan Ochsner
(843) 816-6388

Posted in Realtor Tour
July 15, 2020

Add value to your home with DIY projects

Add Value To Your Home With These 9 DIY Improvements



This COVID situation has allowed me more time at home and I have taken on some projects to improve my home. Whether you’re prepping your house to go on the market or looking for ways to maximize its long-term appreciation, these nine home improvement projects are great ways to add function, beauty, and real value to your home.


The best part is, once you’ve secured the materials, most of these renovations can be completed over the course of a weekend. And they don’t require a lot of specialized skills or experience. So grab your toolbox, then get ready to boost your home’s appeal AND investment potential!



1. Spruce Up Your Landscaping


Landscaping improvements can increase a home’s value by 10-12%.1 But which outdoor features do buyers care about most? According to a survey of Realtors, a healthy lawn is at the top of their list. If your lawn is lacking, overseeding or laying new sod can be a worthwhile investment—with an expected return of 417% and 143% respectively.1


Planting flowers is another great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal. And if you choose a perennial variety, your blooms should return year after year. For an even longer-term impact, consider planting a tree. According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, a mature tree can add up to $10,000 to the value of your home.2



2. Clean The Exterior


When it comes to making your house shine, a sparkling facade can be just as important as a clean interior. Real estate professionals estimate that washing the outside of a house can add as much as $15,000 to its sales price.3


A rented pressure washer from your local home improvement store can help you remove built-up dirt and grime from your home’s exterior, walkway, and driveway. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully—and only use it on surfaces that can withstand the intensity. When in doubt, a scrub brush and bucket of sudsy water will often do the trick.



3. Add A Fresh Coat Of Paint


New paint can have a big impact on both the appearance and value of a property. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to revitalize a home’s exterior, update its interior, and make it appear larger and brighter. The best part? Painting is relatively easy and inexpensive!


To get the maximum return at resale, stick with a modern but neutral color palette that will appeal to a broad range of buyers. According to a recent survey of home design experts, cool neutrals are a safe bet when it comes to interior paint. And respondents chose white and gray as the best exterior paint colors to use when selling a home.4However, it’s important to consider a property’s architecture, existing fixtures, and regional design preferences, as well.   



4. Install Smart Home Technology


In a recent survey, 78% of real estate professionals said their buyer clients were willing to pay more for a home with smart technology features.5 The most requested smart devices? Thermostats (77%), smoke detectors (75%), home security cameras (66%), and locks (63%).6


The good news is, many of these gadgets are fairly easy to install. And some of them, including smart thermostats and light bulbs, will pay for themselves over time by making your home more energy efficient. In fact, many manufacturers report that smart thermostats can cut back on heating and cooling costs by 10-20%. 


If you already own a smart speaker, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, choose devices that will pair with your existing technology. This will enable you to create a truly integrated (and in many cases voice-activated) smart home experience.



5. Modernize Your Window Treatments


Smart—or motorized—blinds are also growing in popularity, and several manufacturers make models you can order and install on your own. But they’re not the only way to modernize your window treatments. 


If you have old aluminum blinds, consider replacing them with plantation shutters, which are energy efficient, durable, and have strong buyer appeal.8 Roman and roller shades are another stylish alternative, and they come in a variety of colors and fabrics, which you can personalize to meet your design and privacy preferences.


Fortunately, upgrading your blinds has gotten easier and less expensive in recent years. There are a number of retailers that specialize in affordable window coverings that are simple to measure and hang yourself.



6. Replace Outdated Fixtures


Drastically transform the look and feel of your home by swapping out dingy and dated fixtures for contemporary alternatives. Start by assessing your current light fixtures, faucets, cabinet hardware, door knobs, and even switch plates. Then prioritize replacing those that are particularly outdated or in highly-visible areas, such as your entryway or kitchen.


Even if your home is fairly new, consider trading your builder-grade fixtures for higher-end options to give it a more upscale appearance. And forget the old rule about sticking to one metal tone throughout your property. According to designers, mixing metal finishes can add interest and character to a space.9


For more designer insights and decor trends, contact us for a free copy of our recent report: “Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade.”



7. Upgrade Your Bathroom Mirror


A minor bathroom remodel offers one of the best returns on investment, with a $1.71 increase in home value for every $1 you spend.10 We’ve already explored several improvements you can make to your bathroom: new paint, fixtures, and hardware. Now complete the look by upgrading your vanity’s mirror.


Before you purchase a new mirror, examine your existing one to see how it is attached to the wall. Some vanity mirrors are glued to the wall and difficult to remove without shattering the glass or damaging the sheetrock behind it.11


If you prefer to keep your existing mirror, you can paint the frame—or add one if it’s currently frameless. There are several online retailers that will send you the frame components cut to your specifications, which you can assemble and mount yourself. Much like a work of art, your vanity mirror serves as a focal point for your bathroom, so let your creativity shine through!



8. Shampoo Your Carpet


Carpet is notorious for trapping dust, dirt, and allergens. It’s one of the reasons that most buyers prefer hard surface flooring.12 But if you love your carpet, or you’re not ready to invest in an alternative, make an effort to keep it clean and odor-free.


To properly maintain your carpet, you should vacuum it weekly. Experts also recommend a deep shampoo at least every two years.13 Fortunately, this is a cheap and easy DIY project you can knock out in about 20 minutes per room. According to Consumer Reports, you can rent a machine and purchase cleaning fluid and supplies for around $90. With an average return on your investment of 169%, it’s well worth the effort and expense.14



9. Customize Your Closet


Real estate professionals estimate that a closet remodel can add $2500 to a home’s selling price. And while a professional renovation can cost upwards of $6000, there are many high-quality DIY closet systems you can customize and install yourself.15


Experts recommend taking a thorough inventory of your wardrobe and accessories before you get started. Make sure frequently-worn pieces are easy to reach, and store seasonal and seldom-used items on high shelves. Place shoe racks near the closet entrance so they are easy to access.16 A little planning can go a long way toward building a closet that you (and your future buyers!) will love.





We’ve been talking averages. But the truth is, the actual impact of a home improvement project will vary depending on your particular home and neighborhood. Before you get started, contact us to schedule a free virtual consultation. We can help you determine which upgrades will offer the greatest return on your effort and investment.




1.     HomeLight -

2.     National Association of Realtors -

3. -

4.     Fixr -

5.     T3 Sixty -

6.     Consumer Reports -

7.     American Council for Energy Efficient Economy

8.     Forbes -

9.     Insider -

10.   Zillow -

11.   Lowes -

12.   HomeLight -

13.   Angie’s List -

14.   HomeLight -

15.   National Association of Realtors -

16.   EasyClosets -


Respectfully submitted,

SUsan Ochnser

(843) 816-6388

July 9, 2020

Hilton Head Homes Tour - Central - July 8th, 2020

Today is Wednesday, July 8th, 2020 and we have the realtor tour for the South End. The phenomena continues that we have very small amounts of homes to tour because again, a lot of them are going under contract before they even make the tour. I mentioned this in my last blog. So, please read it to get a better idea of what I’m talking about. 


The first home in Wexford was 36 Plumbridge Circle. It’s a five-bedroom, six bath, and three half bath home for $3,195,000. When I drove up I saw blue trim which is unusual and seems very odd and different from what you typically see in Wexford as you typically see neutral colors. I loved the fact it was on a cul-de-sac.When I went in the house, that has a gorgeous front door that actually is on an axle and not on hinges and is wider than usual, I saw the custom-ness of the home. The owner obviously loves blue and it’s that mission style. It has lots of wood but paired with the blue, it’s funky and will attract a limited number of buyers. I love the spaces and love that you can put your 70-foot yacht in the background. The flow was fabulous. The laundry room with the little doors that look like the old west cowboy doors but again, this is a very unique house. I understand that they have over $5 million in this house. So, obviously, being priced at $3.1 … but you would really have to absolutely love this. It’s so custom built that changes would have to be made and you would need to start thinking about what that would entail. It is a little darker than what people are accustomed to but again, for a unique, special buyer this might be your dream home. This was the only one is Wexford. 


In Shipyard we have a condo. Windward Village #138 is a two-bedroom two and a half bath listed at $349,900. Soaring ceilings and clean.

Palmetto Dunes

45 Full Sweep is a three-bedroom two and a half bath listed for $729,999. I heard that it was reduced to $723,000. I love this home. They redid the kitchen and opened it up with a beautiful and huge island. It’s a three bedroom and it also has an office that is private but still open to the breakfast nook/kitchen area. The pool is great and has extreme privacy to the lagoon. So, it’s low country lifestyle at its best. I really like this house and I think it’s going to make my short list.

38 Swing About is a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $670,000. This home was less, obviously, than the one I just talked about, but it has a sunken living room, a much choppier and tighter kitchen, no swimming pool, and also has some popcorn ceilings in some areas. I do love the turnaround driveway that it has. The other one also had better curb appeal and was just a cozier, homier home than this one. 

Off Plantation

In the Broad Creek area we have in the Crosswinds neighborhood 7 Mossy Oaks Lane. It’s a four-bedroom three and a half bath for $579,000. This is off Marshland Road and it’s your typical home POAs.  There’s an open space to the side but I bet you that it will be built on at some point. That’s a question that, if you do like the inside of this home and get one of our agents to help you, that you really want to qualify because all of the sudden it can take the value away. But it’s a decently nice home. 

Off Marshland Road we have 19 Creek Stone Drive. It’s right near Matthews Drive, the new sub development. This is new, still shiny and with finishes folks want these days and was built in 2018. It’s a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $399,900. It is centrally located, and you do get a newer home. 

Again, since this is all I have today I would have to say that my favorite was 45 Full Sweep. It’s a great neighborhood and low country living at it’s best. Obviously if you come from the city or are somewhere North it’s difficult to transition into the low country living but once you’ve experienced it, you never go back. So, that would be my choice of property.

I do want to mention everything that has gone under contract since the last Central Tour just to give you an idea of what didn’t even make this blog. As the market continues to stay this way I may actually after the end of July stop this blog because you really need to look at what comes on the market when it comes to the market. So, save a search on

Under Contract within 20 days (since last Central Realtor Tour)

Off Plantation we had 50 Palmetto Bay Villa. It’s a two-bedroom one bath listed for $165,00. It was on the market 11 days.

Brittany Place #42 is a three-bedroom two bath for $249,900. It was on the market for five days. 

421 Wyndemere Villas is in the Yacht Cove subdivision. It’s a two-bedroom three and a half bath for $140,000. It was on the market for 18 days.

In Palmetto Dunes, 1776 Saint Andrews Common is a two-bedroom two bath for $395,000. It was on the market for 13 days.

23 Swing About is a three-bedroom three bath for $689,000. It was on the market for one day.

187 Mooring Buoy is a three-bedroom three bath for $895,000. It was on the market for two days.

66 Port Tack is a four-bedroom three bath for $695,000. It spent six days on the market. 

40 Full Sweep is a four-bedroom five and a half bath for $869,000. It was on the market for 14 days.

29 Heath Drive was actually on last week, but we couldn’t show it because it was already under contract. I mentioned this one. It’s a three-bedroom three and a half bath for $525,000. It spent 20 days on the market. 

For condos we had 7458 Anchorage Villa, a two-bedroom two bath listed for $315,000. It spent two days on the market.

19 Fazio Villa is a three-bedroom three bath for $499,000. It spent six days on the market.

Even in Shipyard we had 28 Kingston Cove, a three-bedroom two bath for $439,000. It was on the market for 20 days.

1104 Tennis Master is a two-bedroom three and a half bath for $339,000. It was on the market for two days. 

111 The Greens Villa is a two-bedroom three and a half bath for $369,000. It spent three days on the market. 

211 Beach Walk Villa is a two-bedroom two bath for $335,000. It was on the market for two days. 

181 Colonnade Club Villa is a two-bedroom two bath for $299,000. It was on the market for eight days.

601 Harbour Master is a three-bedroom three and a half bath for $319,900. It was on the market for eight days.

Even in Wexford we had two that popped up really quick. 23 Harrogate Drive is a four-bedroom four and a half bath for $649,900. It spent two days on the market.

29 Oxford Drive is a five-bedroom six and a half bath with almost 6,000 square feet for $1,250,000. It was only on the market for 13 days.

So again, you really do have a limited number. If it’s priced well and in great condition, they are not lasting for the next home tour. So, if there is anything we can help you with, please let us know. Again, with only six villas on the market it was a very short tour. I am considering stopping this for a while until things get somewhat back to normal. 
I think people want quality of life. They don’t want to wait until life is a certain way. Covid has made it so that people are moving and doing what they want. People are able to work remotely more than ever and being in the office is not as important.

So, if we can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to call, text, or email. We really appreciate you reading this and remember that we are here to serve you. We’d love to represent you as a buyer’s agent. 

Respectfully Submitted,
Susan Ochsner

(843) 816-6388

Posted in Realtor Tour
July 2, 2020

Hilton Head Homes Tour - South - July 1st, 2020

Today is July 1st, 2020 and we are showcasing the realtor tour of homes on the South end of Hilton Head Island. I have to say it was a very short list of only six. Typically it is a lot slower in the Summer. A lot of owners are away  in the mountains or wherever they go for the Summer. So, it is a lot quieter but not this quiet. So, I decided I would look at everything that has come on the market in the South end since our last South tour, which was three weeks ago and there were 19 properties that have gone under contract and hence have not made the realtor tour!!

That is the big difference we’re seeing. Things are not slowing down at all since April and we have that pent-up demand from April that took on through May because April was definitely slower. May and June now keep going like gangbusters and I don’t see any slowdown in sight at the present time. I will list all of the houses just so you know what you missed. My point is, as much as I love doing these realtor tours, the way things are moving now, properties are not staying through realtor tours. 

So I would encourage you to set up a saved search on the website. I can help you tweak it if you know exactly what areas you want, especially within neighborhoods in Sea Pines or Hilton Head Plantation. I know them intimately well and can tweak the search to areas of neighborhoods that you like or when a house was built newer but don’t poo poo older homes. I do have people that poo poo older homes and I don’t understand why because some of them, believe it or not, are sometimes built better or at least with better materials. 
Let’s start the tour.

Sea Pines

I wanted to start on a beautiful home that is a new listing. 42 Hearthwood Drive is a five-bedroom six bath home for $1,975,000. I knew it was a beautiful house and I knew it was exactly what people are looking for now and it’s priced under that two-million-dollar range and, of course, when I got there, there wasn’t a lock box. When I called the office, they told me that the owners don’t know yet what they want to do so, they pulled it because IF they are going to get an offer and they don’t know where they will go. So, that is what’s happening now. Homes are going faster than people can find themselves a place to go. So, you have to be very careful now in not listing your house too quickly without have another plan. I know a lot of people want to ride the wave, but one has to be prudent. So, I’m here as the professional to hold your hand and assist in navigating this hot market as to not do anything in haste.

Then there was 23 Audubon Pond Road. It’s a six-bedroom five and a half bath house for $1,800,000. I didn’t look at the price when I went in. A lovely paver circular driveway, which I always like. It has a gorgeous marsh view, which I love. It’s an old-school home but nicely updated. It has an open kitchen but original cabinets. I never like that. Everyone that reads these blogs knows that by now. So, then when I looked at the price tag of $1.8 million I thought it was a little high considering it has old cabinetry even though the trim work is nice and the flooring is gorgeous and the outside space is nice with a great view and a lot of space. Then I found out that it’s on double lots and that makes the pricing proper. What’s nice about this area of Audubon Pond is, they are all full-time owners. There are no renters on that side which is a big plus to have and know your neighbors. Although, I have to say a lot of the houses on Audubon Pond, people are only renting them for a while until they can move themselves down here. Lovely cozy home.

Next was 6 Loblolly Road. It’s a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $729,000. Yes, this is lot value. It’s a little dark but it’s got a great view and is in a great location. A lot of people want to maybe just clean up a house and put it on the long-term or short-term rental market and this one, it has a smell. They’ve done some updating but it’s darkly updated, which is unfortunate. Again, there is not a lot out there but it’s just an okay house. 

Then in 
Club Course I went to 6 Newhall Road which is a three-bedroom three bath home priced at $549,000. I like this house. It’s a great price. I love the natural light in it. The wooden beams are great. It doesn’t show as nice in the photos and doesn’t capture the feel of it. What I love about this home particularly – and again with the older homes – is that they took full advantage of the view in their architecture and how they placed the rooms and the glass going out to the golf course with one view and then out of the living room you have another view from a whole different perspective. So, I applaud these architects and custom homes that were built. Architects back then took their time. Now the houses are all done on CAD and don’t take any advantage of views and sunrises and sunsets. They often tend to be cookie cutter homes. They are gorgeous homes, but I applaud the old-school and how architecturally these older custom homes certainly took full advantage of views in the best possible manner. So, this one made my short list.

Those are the three that I went to and the fourth one I couldn’t get into which was Hearthwood. 

I did go see one in 
Forest Beach which was 207 Ocean Walk. Ocean Walk is like Fort Knox. It’s a five-story building in which you have to use the fob to get in the front door. Inside the front door and there is an indoor pool with an elevator but then they have long wings that go out. I didn’t want to get in the elevator. I knew it was on the second floor so I walked down the long hallway and up the stairs and walked down the long hallway. When I opened the door to this place, I have to tell you that I felt like I was in an oasis. This is really a diamond in the rough. It’s a two-bedroom two bath for $389,900. It’s 207 Ocean Walk Villa. I wouldn’t even put this on the rental market. The walls have been soundproofed. Most of the times you go in Ocean Walk you are with buyers in there and you close the door and you can still hear the kids screaming down the hall. There was none of that. I felt like I was in a wonderful, soft bubble. Every nook and cranny was done to the nines. You’ve got your balcony out to the back. You are in Ocean Walk, but you’ve got probably one of the nicer units I have seen at under $400,000. It is a must-see. If you are in the market for a condo under $400,000, make the effort to go see this unit. It’s fabulous. 

That wraps it up for the short tour but now just to show you what you’ve missed. I actually for the first time went into ALL the open houses including Villas! If you do just look at the blog, I encourage you to please save a search and not just look at the blog. You will be glad you did. If properties are priced well and in great condition, even if they need some cosmetic updates, they are moving. 

17 Baynard Cove Road is a four-bedroom four and a half bath house that is 2,300 square feet for $,1295,900 that is under contract. 

12 Lands End Court is a three-bedroom two bath with 1,602square feet for $939,000 and is under contract.

23 Oyster Landing Road is a three-bedroom three bath with 2,308 square feet for $949,000 and is under contract.

5 Loblolly Road is a three-bedroom four bath for 2,623 square feet for $1,150,000 and is under contract. 

39 Deer Run Lane had multiple offers. It is a three-bedroom three bath with 2,128 square feet for $799,000 and is under contract with a pool.

19 Oyster Catcher Road is a four-bedroom four bath with 2,500 square feet for $1,899,000 and is under contract.

83 Governors Road is a three-bedroom two bath for $699,900 with 2,075 square feet and is under contract.

2548 Gleneagle Lane is a two-bedroom three and a half bath with 1,600 square feet for $585,000 and is under contract. 

2 East Beach Lagoon Drive I remember was on and didn’t move for two years. It has five bedrooms and five baths with 4,122 square feet for $3,185,000 and is under contract. 

2 Tupelo Road was actually done off market. It’s a four-bedroom three bath with 2,466 square feet and a pool for $799,000 and is under contract.

10 Twin Pines Road, this guy has been trying to sell it for four years with five different brokers. It’s a five-bedroom six bath with 6,065 square feet for $1,688,000 and is under contract. 

In Forest Beach we had 260 Seaside Cabin, a one-bedroom one bath for $217,000 and is under contract. 

8 Ocean Club Villa is a three-bedroom three bath with 1,964 square feet for $529,000 and is under contract.

259 Seaside Cabin is a one-bedroom one bath for $217,900 and is under contract. 

306 Forrest Beach Villa is a one-bedroom one bath with 657 square feet for $244,9000 and is under contract.

3D Xanadu Villas is a two-bedroom two bath with 1,050 square feet for $179,900 and is under contract. 

13 Sea Oak Lane is a five-bedroom six and a half bath with 3,901 square feet for $1,450,000 and is under contract. 

5402 Treetops Villas is a two-bedroom three and a half bath with 1,416 square feet for $264,000 and is under contract.

6 Gannet Street is six-bedroom four bath with 2,184 for $390,999 and is under contract. 

I’m telling you; we usually do have one or two or three that go on before they make it to the next realtor open house, but this is historic movement on the market. Either just wait for the wave or, you know, we’d have to sit down because there are a lot of variables coming in the Fall. So, don’t necessarily chase the wave. It really depends on your risk tolerance and your upside and downside risk thoughts, but we are here to help you. We are here to represent you. We are here to serve you. 

So, don’t hesitate in saving a search or reaching out to one of us. We are here to help. I will be out of the country for two weeks. I have a Swiss passport and will be visiting family and friends, but I will be available should you need anything as will my associates. We thank you for reading my blog and stay safe, stay sane, and there is no place to be like Hilton Head Island. Every time I talk to people, there is no place like it. 

So, I hope you make the decision to join us and please reach out to us if we can be of any assistance. 

Respectfully Submitted,
Susan Ochsner

(843) 816-6388

Posted in Realtor Tour
June 24, 2020

Hilton Head Homes Tour - North - June 24, 2020

Today is Wednesday June 24th and we have the North tour of homes today on Hilton Head.  Before we do the tour, I want to say that for the past several days, every time I do a market watch exclusive for the island, i’ll have anywhere from 19 to 27 go under contract while only 4-9 new listings. So, if this rate keeps up, these prices are going to go up because there will be very little inventory. 

Things that are absolute turnkey don’t stay on but one or two days. We are selling a lot of things. So, just keep that in mind. It’s important to have your ducks in a row. If you do want to buy on Hilton Head, my suggestion is, talk to your financial advisor. Talk to your mortgage banker. Find out what kind of price range you are comfortable in and then, zero in on the neighborhoods and areas and that’s where we can help you narrow that down.

Hilton Head is not just a destination, it’s also a lifestyle. I think what makes Hilton head unique to the mainland and other places is the bike paths, the water, the golf, I mean, it’s all about lifestyle here and the island vibes, so to speak, is very much alive. I think the thing that also makes Hilton Head very unique is that even though some of the gated communities are quite manicured, there is a balance of nature with humanity and it’s very low-density. I think that’s what the attraction is. So, you’re not just buying a place; you’re buying a lifestyle that is second to none. 

Having said that, let’s get going for the North Tour.

Windmill Harbor

9 Sparwheel Lane is a three-bedroom two and a half bath listed at $525,000. This one has been on the market before with same brokerage. The vegetation is very overgrown, and the place needs a power wash. Inside it’s pretty nice. It looks toward some houses on Crosstree but there is plenty of space and a nice little garden. It’s priced reasonably. I just think that the seller needs to make a bit of an effort because it looks very run down, the presentation of it. 

21 Crosstree Drive is a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $519,000. This one isn’t as tucked away as Sparwheel. It’s on the main road but it’s very convenient and another Charleston style home. I liked this one the first time around and I’m surprised that it’s still on the market. It shows very nicely. The other one had the same brokerage. This one has a new broker and they’ve staged it and it has a very quaint lagoon view and a Carolina room where I would spend all my time. The kitchen cabinets are dark, and they are old-school but a fresh can of paint could do wonders and it’s well-priced. I like this one a little more than Sparwheel. With Sparwheel you are kind of squeezed in there. I kind of like space but they are both good in their own way. 

13 Indian Hill Lane is a four-bedroom three bath listed for $1,400,000. This was absolutely stunning. There was a moth smell when I entered. They have redone the kitchen. It is draped around some mossy oak trees. So, you don’t really get that clear water view but it’s a very cozy home. I wish they would leave it furnished because I think it would sell very well that way. It’s absolutely pristine. I really love this house. 

We have a villa in Windmill Harbor. Spindle Lane Villa #58 is a two-bedroom two bath for $309,700. A second floor unit. These have also gone up in price and probably will not last long.

Hilton Head Plantation

1 Ribaut Drive is a five-bedroom five and half bath listed for $1,995,000. This is a very stately home in the exclusive Ribaut Island. It has a fantastic water view. It’s a little on the dark side. It has brick steps going up. It sits on the corner. The one negative is that it looks like someone is now building to the right. So, right now you’ve got a very good view but half of that view is going to be blocked with a home.  Probably in a year or two it won’t matter but it matters now. It seems a little high for me but there are a lot of features in this magnificent home. 

44 Seabrook Landing Drive is a four-bedroom four and a half bath priced at $1,675,000. This is all the way on the end. You go down a driveway. It has a spectacular view and they have updated the master bath. The colors are much nicer than they were before. They started in May of 2018 at $1,845,000 and then lowered it. It expired in July at $1,396,000. So, now they put new bathrooms in, and the colors are nicer, and it has got a million-dollar view. It’s very tucked away with a long driveway. It’s beautiful. You’ve got two masters on either floor and you have an elevator. It’s a lovely residence.

277 Seabrook Drive is a four-bedroom three and a half bath listed for $729,000. I was really excited about this home. I like the curb appeal and the location. It’s a little under 3,000 square feet at 2,671. It is a little beat up, especially the floors. That was a little disappointing and when I went in the breakfast nook area there was a urine smell. I don’t know if it was due to the dogs and underneath the cabinet in the kitchen baseboards were splitting apart. It does have space and I would either lower the price to under seven or fix some of these things that might deter a buyer. You can see a well-used family home and good space for sure. 

Spring Lake, we have one condo. I did not go in because it is already under contract. It’s a three-bedroom two bath at 19 Brooms Edge Court. It’s listed for $285,900. 

In the 
Dolphin Head area we have 30 Brown Thrasher Road, a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $499,900. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a good-sized lot with a very nice golf view. It is not updated to the nines, but they have lots of natural light. I love the flow of it and it feels very open. I love that it’s right there on the golf course green. It has decent curb appeal and is under $500,000. I was pleasantly surprised on Brown Thrasher.

27 Brown Thrasher Road is a four-bedroom four and a half bath priced at $850,000. This one has been on the market before. It is an estate size. It’s on a very large lot on the corner. I think it’s just a lot of house and it is going to take a special unique buyer for it. It is cool looking with the space. It has a three-car GarageBand a lot of great features but you’re not in Seabrook. You’re in the Pineland area. So, I think that is sort of the tough part but it’s a great home and I think they did lower the price a little bit from the last listing. It has the same brokerage. It’s a unique home and very spacious.

47 Pineland Road is a three-bedroom two bath for $389,000. This one I had a little trouble with because it looked better in the pictures. There are stains in the living room around the wood and also the carpet has faded. The back bench is a little beat up and the linoleum in the kitchen. You’re kind of in a blind spot on Thrasher. It just needs a lot of work but it’s priced really well. There is really no view but it’s a great price and for a handyman that can fix those things. It seems like there is a lot to do. The floors are my main concern.

20 Sugar Pine Lane is a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $449,000. This is a very meticulously maintained home on a patio lot in the Dolphin Head neighborhood which is a higher end neighborhood. It’s pristine as can be. It’s not as open as Brown Thrasher but it’s also $50,000 less. It has a very nice little garden but the house is situated so far back that you really don’t have a lot of space in the garden and you have the golf course right there. It’s a very pretty garden. It’s a cozy, cute home. 

In the 
Headlands neighborhood we have 21 Rusty Rail Lane. It’s a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $434,500. I really wanted to like this one but it has a sunken living room. I think it has lots of potential. It’s in the Headlands areas which is nice. It could do pretty well with some creativity. I like the view. It’s a good size and I like the area. 

All of homes were good this time. Some of them have smells that you have to be aware of but all were good especially with the dwindling inventory we are continuing to see.

Indigo Run

We only have one house in Indigo Run which is 26 Primrose Lane. It’s a three-bedroom three bath listed at $725,000. This is a lovely, lovely home with high ceilings. It’s a very nice home. It’s a little on the dark side in the kitchen but it has been meticulously maintained. Some of the furniture is negotiable, I think. Again, Indigo Run is more manicured and full of newer homes. This one is priced at market. 

Palmetto Hall

Palmetto Hall also had only one home. 262 Fort Howell Drive has five bedrooms and six baths and is priced at $795,000. It has a very nice view. I love that when you walk up you have sort of a wraparound front porch that is very cozy and homey. It’s a nice home with lots of space and an open floor plan with a golf view. Lovely.

Off Plantation

I’m just going to run through these homes. I didn’t really go in these although I have been in some of them in the past. So, if you have any questions about them, I can do a Zoom meeting with you to show you these homes.

180 Mitchelville Road in the Fish Hall area is a three-bedroom two and a half bath listed at $449,436. 

18 Sterling Point Drive is a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $569,000. We’ve had that one before. I remember it was a lot of up and down living but a great marsh view and well maintained. 

37 Old House Creek Drive is a three-bedroom three bath for $438,200. All these are in the money.

2 Pastel Lane is a three-bedroom three and a half bath for $675,000. It’s in the Silver Moss subdivision and I wish I could have seen it. The others all seem to be in the money. 

In Allenwood we have 230 Caesar Place, a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $300,000. It probably needs some updates. 

3F Summerfield Villa is a three-bedroom three bath for $265,000. 

Lastly in the Preserve we have unit 2620 The Preserve at Indigo Run, a three-bedroom two bath for $369,000. 

All in all, the market is strong, and all of these are great options on Hilton Head. If you’d like to see any of them or if we can help you in any way, please reach out to us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully Submitted,
Susan Ochsner
(843) 816-6388

Posted in Realtor Tour
June 24, 2020

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell Real Estate?

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell Real Estate?



Traditionally, spring is one of the busiest times of the year for real estate. However, the coronavirus outbreak—and subsequent stay-at-home orders—led many buyers and sellers to put their moving plans on hold. In April, new listings fell nearly 45%, and sales volume fell 15% compared to last year.1


Fortunately, as restrictions have eased, we’ve seen an uptick in market activity. And economists at expect a rebound in July, August, and September, as fears about the pandemic subside, and buyers return to the market with pent-up demand from a lost spring season.2


But given safety concerns and the current economic climate, is it prudent to jump back into the real estate market?


Before you decide, it’s important to consider where the housing market is headed, how it could impact your timeline and ability to buy a home, and your own individual needs and circumstances.





The economic aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak has been severe. We’ve seen record  unemployment numbers, and economists believe the country is headed toward a recession. But people still need a place to live. So what effect will these factors have on the housing market?


Home Values Projected to Remain Stable


Many Americans recall our last recession and assume we will see another drop in home values. But the 2008 real estate market crash was the cause—not the result—of that downturn. In fact, ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed real estate prices during the last five recessions and found that home prices actually went up in most cases. Only twice (in 1990 and 2008) did prices fall, and in 1990 it was by less than one percent.3


Many economists expect home values to remain relatively steady this time around. And so far, that’s been the case. As of mid-May, the median listing price in the U.S. was up 1.4% from the same period last year.4



Demand for Homes Will Exceed Available Supply


There’s been a shortage of affordable homes on the market for years, and the pandemic has further hindered supply. In addition to sellers pulling back, new home starts fell 22% in March.In fact, Fannie Mae doesn’t foresee a return to pre-pandemic construction levels before the end of 2021.6


This supply shortage is expected to prop up home prices, despite recessionary pressures. Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors predict housing prices will rise slightly this year7, while Zillow expects them to fall between 2-3%.8 Still, that would be a far cry from the double-digit declines that occurred during the last recession.9



Government Intervention Will Help Stabilize the Market


Policymakers have been quick to pass legislation aimed at preventing a surge in foreclosures like we saw in 2008. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress gives government-backed mortgage holders who were impacted by the pandemic up to a year of reduced or delayed payments.10


The Federal Reserve has also taken measures to help stabilize the housing market, lower borrowing costs, and inject liquidity into the mortgage industry. These steps have led to record-low mortgage rates that should help drive buyer demand and make homeownership more affordable for millions of Americans.11





As the pandemic hit, real estate and mortgage professionals across the country revised their processes to adapt to shifting safety standards and economic realities. While these new ways of conducting business may seem strange at first, keep in mind, military clients, international buyers, and others have utilized many of these methods to buy and sell homes for years.


New Safety Procedures


The safety of our clients and our team members is our top priority. That’s why we’ve developed a process for buyers and sellers that utilizes technology to minimize personal contact. 


For our listings, we’re holding online open houses, offering virtual viewings, and conducting walk-through video tours. We’re also using video chat to qualify interested buyers before we book in-person showings. This enables us to promote your property to a broad audience while limiting physical foot traffic to only serious buyers.


Likewise, our buyer clients can view properties online and take virtual video tours to minimize the number of homes they step inside. Ready to visit a property in person? We can decrease surface contact by asking the seller to turn on all the lights and open doors and cabinets before your scheduled showing.


The majority of our “paperwork” is also digital. In fact, many of the legal and financial documents involved in buying and selling a home went online years ago. You can safely view and eSign contracts from your smartphone or computer.



Longer Timelines and Higher Mortgage Standards


The real estate process is taking a little longer these days. Both buyers and sellers are more cautious when it comes to viewing and showing homes. And with fewer house hunters and less available inventory, it can take more time to match a buyer with the right property.


In a recent survey, 67% of Realtors also reported delays in the closing process. The top reasons were financing and buyer job loss, but appraisals and home inspections are also taking more time due to shifting safety protocol.12


Securing a mortgage may take longer, too. With forbearance requests rising, lenders are getting increasingly conservative when it comes to issuing new loans. Many are raising their standards—requiring higher credit scores and larger down payments. Prepare for greater scrutiny, and build in some extra time to shop around.13





The reality is, there’s no “one size fits all” answer as to whether it’s a good time to buy or sell a home because everyone’s circumstances are unique. But now that you know the state of the market and what you can expect as you shop for real estate, consider the following questions:


Why do you want or need to move?


It’s important to consider why you want to move and if your needs may shift over the next year. For example, if you need a larger home for your growing family, your space constraints aren’t likely to go away. In fact, they could be amplified as you spend more time at home. 


However, if you’re planning a move to be closer to your office, consider whether your commute could change. Some companies are rethinking their office dynamics and may encourage their employees to work remotely on a permanent basis.



How urgently do you need to complete your move?


If you have a new baby on the way or want to be settled before schools open in the fall, we recommend that you begin aggressively searching as soon as possible. With fewer homes on the market and a lengthier closing process, it’s taking longer than usual for clients to find and purchase a home. 


However, if your timeline is flexible, you may be well-positioned to score a deal. We’re seeing more highly-incentivized sellers who are willing to negotiate on terms and price. Talk to us about setting up a search so we can keep an eye out for any bargains that pop up. And get pre-qualified for a mortgage now so you’ll be ready to act quickly.


If you’re eager to sell this year, now is the time to begin prepping your home for the market. A second wave of infections is predicted for the winter, which could mean another lockdown.14 If you wait, you might miss your window of opportunity.



How long do you plan to stay in your new home?


The U.S. real estate market has enjoyed steady appreciation since 2012, which made it fairly easy for owners and investors to buy and sell properties for a profit in a short period of time. However, with home values expected to remain relatively flat over the next year, your best bet is to buy a home you can envision yourself keeping for several years. Fortunately, at today’s rock-bottom mortgage rates, you can lock in a low interest rate and start building equity right away.



Can you meet today’s higher standards for securing a mortgage?


Mortgage lenders are tightening their standards in response to the growing number of mortgage forbearance requests. Many have raised their minimum credit score and downpayment requirements for applicants. Even if you’ve been pre-qualified in the past, you should contact your lender to find out if you meet their new, more stringent standards.



Is your income stable?


If there’s a good chance you could lose your job, you may be better off waiting to buy a home. The exception would be if you’re planning to downsize. Moving to a less expensive home could allow you to tap into your home equity or cut down on your monthly expenses.





While uncertain market conditions may give pause to some buyers and sellers, they can actually present an opportunity for those who are willing, able, and motivated to make a move. 


Your average spring season would be flooded with real estate activity. But right now, only motivated players are out in the market. That means that if you’re looking to buy, you’re in a better position to negotiate a great price. And today’s record-low mortgage rates could give a big boost to your purchasing power. In fact, if you’ve been priced out of the market before, this may be the perfect time to look. 


If you’re hoping to sell this year, you’ll have fewer listings to compete against in your neighborhood and price range. But you’ll want to act quickly. Economists expect a surge of eager buyers to enter the market in July—so you should start prepping your home now. And keep in mind, a second wave of coronavirus cases could be coming in this winter. Ask yourself how you will feel if you have to face another lockdown in your current home.


Let’s schedule a free virtual consultation to discuss your individual needs and circumstances. We can help you assess your options and create a plan that makes you feel both comfortable and confident during these unprecedented times.



The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.




1.     Forbes -

2.     HousingWire -

3.     Curbed -

4. -

5. -

6.     Fannie Mae -

7.     HousingWire -

8.     HousingWire -

9.     Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis -

10.   Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -

11.   Bankrate -

12.   National Association of Realtors -  

13.   Forbes -

14.   Washington Post -


June 17, 2020

Hilton Head Homes for Sale Realtor Tour Central -June 17, 2020

Today is Wednesday, June 17, 2020 and we have the broker realtor tour for the central homes and villas on Hilton Head Island.

Port Royal

13 Audubon Place is a three-bedroom two bath home listed at $510,000. I got really excited when I saw this and thought, “Oh my gosh, it must be a real dump a lump,” but I was pleasantly surprised. The curb appeal is okay. When you walk in there are smooth ceilings in the living space that looks out and shows you the view. It is private and on the golf course and on a large lot. You take a right to get to the kitchen from the living space. The kitchen is a little disappointing because it doesn’t really have a lot of windows. On one side you have the garage and on the other side you have the formal dining room with just a pass through. That wall needs to come down so you can open up the kitchen, but it is still not toward the view or the living space. The bedrooms are large and there are good built-ins. I would say the tough part is the bathroom in the master which overlooks the golf course – it’s a beautiful setting – has carpet in it and it has a smell. That is tough but I can see this home being a great potential for someone that wants to build down the road. Buy it now at a great price and just clean it up a little bit -it doesn’t need a lot – and put it on the long-term rental market because Port Royal does not allow short-term rentals. Then, start planning and building your dream house. It’s on a great lot. The old homes are sitting on the best lots. That is why the homes are old. People had the pick of the litter back then. For that type of buyer, this house has tremendous potential. I think it is a great price and on a good street.  It doesn’t need a ton to put a long-term renter in it or just use it as a second home until you can build your plans. I don’t know if it’s worthwhile to blow out because you might be putting a lot of money into an older home. I’d have to look at it but it’s as great price.

13 Donax Road is a four-bedroom four bath for $985,000. This one has been on the market before. It’s very close to the beach, you’ve got a 2-minute walk. There are funky houses on these beach-oriented streets. This one has been on the market before, but they lowered the price. I remember seeing this house when it was on tour in January of 2019. At the time, the price was $1,149,000. They then ratcheted it down to $985,000 by August. Then they withdrew it in January after a year and now they just put it back on at $985,000. It is a special home. It is close to the beach with southern style and charm. There are lots of different floors. The steps are going up right off the front to the bedrooms upstairs. The master is upstairs and has a really cool closet. There are a lot of steps everywhere so, you’ve got to like that. Some of the kitchen has been updated. There is a nice laundry space. I think the toughest thing is that you really don’t have any privacy compared to the one I just came from because you have two homes that you back into. So, even though it has a really long deck, which is the length of the house, the view is of two other homes. You’re kind of exposed so to speak but you could put plantings up to mask that. So, those would be the two biggest objections, I think, but it’s priced well for being that close to the beach and it’s a low country home. 

Folly Field

If you have read my blog before, you know I don't usually do villas. I went into this one because I wanted to support a colleague. It’s Stones Throw Villa #40. It has three bedrooms and two and a half baths. It has good space. The bedrooms are upstairs, but you are close to the beach and it’s a decent price for someone that just wants something beach oriented and that is up and down townhome and not apartment style. This unit backs right up to Fiddler’s Cove with a fence in between. You could put some green up, so you don’t see the fence and have a lot of privacy. 

4B Sandcastle Plaza is a two-bedroom two and a half bath priced at $449,000. These have gone up since they tried to sell these after the recession. They are newer, higher ceilings, etc. They are nice & spacious.

15K Fiddlers Cove Villa is a two-bedroom two bath listed for $200,000. These have also gone up in price, nearly 50%. It’s beach oriented and probably has decent Summer rental numbers.

Yacht Cove is a cute little neighborhood. A lot of locals with young families live in Yacht Cove. The homes are closer together, but they are cute Charleston-style homes. 64 Jib Sail Court is a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $314,000. It is clean, cute, and listed at a great price. So, keep this one in mind. 


In Wexford we have one home which is 1 Plumbridge Lane. It’s a five-bedroom four and a half bath listed for $2,495,000. This is a new home hence beautiful with clean lines. It has a long view of the canal which I find quite special and more private than some other lots on the canal. You can park your boat right in the back. You don’t have to worry about things that older homes sometimes have hidden, especially since Matthew. Not many newer homes available on Hilton Head Island right now.


28 Kingston Cove is a three-bedroom two bath for $439,900. It’s clean as a whistle. There is a carport underneath with tons of storage space and some steps to go up but it’s all on one level. The kitchen is to the right as you come in the door. These do quite well because they are beach oriented.  They have their own on-site pool. 

Palmetto Dunes

32 Mooring Buoy is a four-bedroom four bath for $1,140,000. I remember this one. I almost didn’t go in because I remembered it and it had needed a lot of work. The curb appeal, even though it’s there right on the main track and very tight, I wasn’t sure about it. I’m glad I went in though because somebody bought it for $600,000 and did upgrade it. Still doesn’t have a pool. They started way too high. I decided to look at the history and they started at almost $1,300,000 during April and Covid. I think had they priced a little more aggressively, they would have probably sold it. They have dropped it to $1,140,000. They did do a nice job but not sure $600K worth. It’s a choppy home but they opened it up a bit. I think it has room for a pool, but you’d want to ask for a variance or the space will be very tight.  

On the Mariners side there was another one. 33 Starboard Tack is a four-bedroom five and a half bath for $1,699,000. This one was a beauty with high end build. It’s in a residential area and it’s a new home. Actually, it isn’t that new. It looks like a new home and it was actually built in 2008. I love the archways. It has beautiful detail in it and it’s a really, really nice home. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

We also have one on the Inverness side. 29 Heath Drive is a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $525,000. When I printed out my sheet last night, I was really looking forward to seeing it from its price and curb appeal,  but by the time I got out this morning there was an email that it was cancelled because it’s already under contract. They put it together last night so, I was unable to go see that one. It just goes to show you that if you have price it well and is in somewhat decent condition and flow, it will go.

Long Cove 

We have one home in Long Cove which is 354 Long Cove Drive. It’s a three-bedroom three and a half bath listed at $735,900. This home is an older home but has light and bright spaces, a gorgeous long fairway view. It has arches and a dated fireplace. I loved the outdoor space and also the two greeting lions as you approached the property. What I love my many older homes is also the circular driveway that this one has. Needs a bit of work but great space and price. I like the back deck the best. 

That completes the showings of homes on the tour. We only had a total of 12 this time. Again, Summers tend to be slower and I think Covid is also keeping some folks from allowing people in their homes. Inventories are down. My though is that through this Covid thing, folks have decided that life is too short, and we need to not hesitate on doing what we’ve intended to do. There are some great opportunities out there and again, we love to represent buyers and would be happy to navigate with you to determine where the best place on Hilton Head is for you.

If you have any questions or need any assistance, please feel free to reach out to us. We are here for you. We are passionate about Hilton Head real estate and hope to hear from you soon.

Respectfully Submitted,
Susan Ochsner
(843) 816-6388

Posted in Realtor Tour
June 10, 2020

Hilton Head Homes Tour South - June 10, 2020

Today is Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 and we excitedly have a South end tour again. I am so excited to have things slowly be back to normalcy. Our beach oriented market has not missed a beat since April and today we had a Sea Pines oceanfront go under contract at $8.,495,000 list and Palmetto Dunes one for $6,500,000. That market is hot hot hot right now. It was so good to meet and have a sales meeting today. I’m going to put the video on this blog showing our meeting. We had it outside at the Forest Preserve at Fish Island and it’s in the middle of 600 acres in Sea Pines.  You feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere and yet, there is a beach right nearby. It’s just a fabulous piece of property. 

Sea Pines

In the Club Course area we started with 70 Club Course Drive, a three-bedroom two and a half bath listed at $789,000. It has beautiful wood floors and a double fireplace. It has been meticulously maintained. I loved the cute little breakfast nook, the tiled garage, office/work out off the garage, the large laundry room a fabulous golf view and pool. From a location standpoint, it’s conveniently located to all Sea Pines amenities and close the entrance gate with green space to the left.  It’s a beautiful home with a nice entry. The landscaping outside is gorgeous. So, it’s a very good home and all on one level!

50 Oyster Landing Lane is a two-bedroom two bath listed at $639,900. This is on the golf course side of Oyster Landing with a one car garage. As you walk in, there is a lovely little garden. It has very nice curb appeal also with old Savannah brick just like at 70 Club Course. It is a two-bedroom and both bedrooms are to the right as you walk in. Lots of natural light in the space. The kitchen is good and opens to family room on one side and living space to another with a breakfast sitting area in the middle. I love that in the living room area, they actually did a corner window that looks to the marsh on the other side of the street. That was a beautiful little addition that kept it from being a cookie cutter home and made it a special custom home. That’s what I love about Sea Pines, most homes in Sea Pines are custom homes. They are not spec or model homes for sales and this one is a great example of that. It does have off of the dining room a little library space near the living space again that was kind of different. You really can’t even make a third bedroom or anything out of it but it’s a very cute space. It’s a lovely home and it shows lovely and I think it is exactly what people are looking for if they want two bedrooms. 

23 Pine Island Court, I have been in this one before. It has three bedrooms and three and a half baths and is listed for $1,195,000. I sold #25 next door in the mid-five’s and it was only 2BR but high end updates. This is really done to the nines. It is just that the surrounding real estate does not support such high number but for those that want turnkey lovely and don't care about surrounding estimates, this one is quite lovely. Someone really has to know and love this and know it is here. I love it. The woman just put way too much in it for the neighborhood, but it is gorgeous. It is all designer made and, for the right buyer – and not for value per se - who doesn’t really care about that, this is a beautiful, turnkey, high-end, decorated home and I believe it is furnished.

23 Governors Lane is a five-bedroom five and a half bath for $795,000. This one has been on the market before for months and  has nice spaces. The biggest challenge, I believe, is that they added two bedrooms that are accessible down a long narrow hallway, which might be a good thing for teenage children or adult children. It has a nice view and it’s a very cozy home. 

Centrally in Sea Pines we have 45 Lawton Road, a four-bedroom three bath priced at $625,000. The curb appeal on this one is not a favorite of mine during this tour. It does not have a garage and as I drove up, I saw a magnificent oak out there, but Spanish moss is hanging out over the roof and not maintained. Folks living with specimen oaks need to really trim and work on the limbs every 5 years to just maintain them more beautifully. It will help the roof from getting so dirty. When you go inside the home, it has nice spaces and beautiful tile floors. It has good space. It’s a little choppy but it is a nice space and a good listing. 

Beach oriented, we have 1 Sandhill Crane Road, a four-bedroom four and a half bath listed at $1,499,000. This one is right on the corner. I love the circular driveway made of oyster shells and brick. The space inside is cool and it has an open kitchen. It has a back Carolina room/outside space. The pool is very tiny and tight, the same issue that we have at 3 Sandhill Crane but it has a very cool master bath and it’s just an old-school house that has been nicely updated.

In the South Beach area we have 7 Brown Pelican Road. It’s a seven-bedroom seven bath home priced at $4,625,000. Our oceanfront market has been really, really hot as you read earlier in my blog. I love this house. The views are unobstructed, just gorgeous. You can even see the Daufuskie Island and you are, of course, with a fabulous view the Atlantic. It’s an upside down home with a modern kitchen upstairs. I love the little putting green outside and it has a nice sized pool. You can walk to South Beach because that is a great location. Most of the bedrooms are downstairs. Flood insurance and electrical bills are the ones I would be thinking about but it’s in a great location. 

7 Green Wing Teal Road is a four-bedroom four and a half bath listed for $1,800,000. This is third row off of South Beach Lane. It’s old-school. I didn’t care for how when you go from the kitchen to the dining room you’ve got very steep steps going down to the back door by the carport. It just didn’t feel good. The master is light, bright, and big. You really don’t have any views. The front of the house looks nice, but you always come in from the angle. So, that one didn’t really appeal to me at all but again, it’s on the rental market and inventories are low right now. 

I will mention the two condos that are in Sea Pines. 2389 Lighthouse Tennis is a two-bedroom two bath for $324,900. It’s a decent price. Those are moving off inventory because of where they are located and price point. 

In Stoney Creek Villa we have unit 285, a three-bedroom three bath listed for $469,000. That is kind of getting gup there, but there is not a lot in inventory with three bedrooms anymore. So, that ends what we have in Sea Pines.

Forest Beach

In Forest Beach we have 1D Beachwood Place, a two-bedroom two bath for $399,000. This is a prefab that has been refurbished. They have done the roof and all the stuff. These used to be really ugly and dated on the exterior. The Sea Pines Montessori School used to be in this tract of land and then it became condos. They have really done a nice job upgrading everything. I know everyone was assessed but that is all behind them. This is oceanfront. You have a peek-a-boo ocean view through the pool from the place next door. It is not facing the ocean. It does very well in rentals. Last I saw, it had done $45,000. It is small but again, it’s has very good rental potential. 1E I know is under contract for $329,000 but it needs to be completely updated. That one is an end unit so, take that into consideration also.

Seaside Villa #175 is a one-bedroom one bath for $215,000. Those are, again, five stories. There are lots of those always on the market.

102 Springwood Villa is a two-bedroom two and a half bath for $230,000. It’s one that is closest to where the time share ones are. It’s a decent price and in a good location. It also probably won’t last long knowing that the Coligny area also has declining inventories right now.

7101 Treetop Villas is a two-bedroom two bath for $268,886. I love how they come up with these numbers. I have to laugh. I don’t know if they just take the law of averages to come up with that price nevertheless, again, there is very low inventory and it’s priced okay.

Also in the area of 
Point Comfort and Palmetto Bay Marina we have four condos – actually, one is a townhouse so, it’s actually considered a residence.

18 Quartermaster Lane is a three-bedroom two and a half bath for $398,900. It is priced well and lots of locals live there. It’s off the beaten path and close to Cross Island. 

Also, in 
Broad Creek Landing for condos we have 21B Compass Point. It’s a three-bedroom two bath listed at $289,900. 

We also have 6A Shipwatch Point. It’s a three-bedroom two bath listed for $204,900. None of these have garages but some have a screened in porch. In Compass Point, a lot of those have nice water views. They are close to the water and kind of tucked away in the woods and they are good low country condos to have. 

In Brighton Bay we have unit 104. It’s a two-bedroom two and a half bath for $263,000. For you guys that are looking online, you probably need to go to 30 Paddleboat Lane, that’s how it’s listed - #104. 


Lastly in Shipyard we have one condo. Sailmaster Villa #2 is a two-bedroom two and a half bath for $393,000. Sailmaster and Shipmaster have a lot of people and a good combination of rentals and people that live in them. They are pushing the envelope with the high four numbers but nevertheless, inventories are low. Hopefully, there is some wiggle room in that price. 

That concludes the homes and villas for the South end of Hilton Head. Inventories are low and I do want to say that a lot of people are surprised about how vibrant our market has been for May and June and even April while we all were quarantined and there were no rentals on Hilton Head. We had a very good market April and May and it is continuing in June. 

I think the perception of being a healthy and safe area is a contributing factor. I think the idea that people can work from afar now is a proven fact through the quarantine and if you can be in a little condo in the city or living somewhere like Hilton Head, why not come down here? I know of a few clients whose children are staying in the homes because they have a lot more space and a lot more outside amenities. 

The other thing we’re seeing is, there is a flip plan of people looking at second homes here on Hilton Head and now they are deciding to say, “No, we don’t want Hilton Head to be our second home. It’s now going to be our primary home and maybe we get something small in our area and make this our primary home.” 

Of course, low interest rates continue to be a factor however, the lenders are telling us that it’s a lot stricter, especially for self-employed, and if you have been furloughed and haven’t made your primary home’s mortgage payments, don’t think you can buy a second home or an investment property. Lenders are tightening up. So, there are some hurdles out there.

That concludes our tour. The inventories are tightening but there are some great buys out there. So, this is a really good time to get ahead of the market because I have a feeling that there is not a lot coming on the market in the Fall. People don’t want to leave. So, get what’s out there while you can, but I may be wrong. You never know. It is a year of elections and that sometimes causes more shifts. 

Remember that we are here to help you and represent you whether you want to buy or sell real estate in Hilton Head. Please contact us at YourHiltonHeadAgent. We would be delighted to help you navigate all the selections that are out there. 

Thank you so much and God bless. 

Respectfully Submitted,
Susan Ochsner

(843) 816-6388

Posted in Realtor Tour