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Real Estate FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions for Home Buyers

Q: How do I know if the home I’m buying is a good deal?
A: Ask for comps. Your Dunes Realty Agents are your best resources for expert neighborhood information and can provide you with a list of recently sold properties, high and low ranges, and current active listings.

Q: Why do I need a termite inspection?
A: Subterranean termites and other wood boring pests love it here, and they especially love an untreated home. So, protect your home and your investment with a termite inspection. A Dunes agent can guide you through this process.

Q: How do I know if I need flood insurance?
A: Ask your Dunes Realty agent if the property you are looking at is in a flood zone. If so, you need to know what type of flood zone because insurance rates vary with the amount of risk involved. You might also ask to see the seller’s flood insurance bills to know what the cost will be. A Dunes agent can get you in touch with a local insurance agent for quotes.

Q: Should I ask the seller for a home warranty?
A: Your home inspection should reveal any problems, but you can ask the sellers if they are willing to provide a warranty, or purchase it yourself for your own peace of mind.

Q: What are my energy bills likely to be?
A: Much of that depends on your heating and cooling system and how you operate it. If you like it cold in the summer and hot in the winter, your costs will be higher. Ask the seller to provide electric bills for the past year or two. This will give you an idea of what your monthly bills are likely to be. Additionally, a good home inspection and a HVAC technician can tell you if the system is in proper working order.

Q: What is the name of the local electric company?
A: Santee Cooper serves most of the coastal area down to Pawleys Island. Horry Electric Cooperative serves the rural areas and Georgetown Electric Utility serves the city of Georgetown.

Q: What are the schools like in Horry County and Georgetown Counties?
A: Horry County has one of the top school districts in the state, with over 50 elementary, middle and high schools serving over 40,000 students. Eight of those schools have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence. Georgetown County has a progressive school district with 19 schools serving nearly 10,000 students. There are ten elementary schools including Coastal Montessori Charter School in Pawley’s Island, one intermediate school, four middle schools and four high schools.

Q: What schools will my children go to if I live in Murrells Inlet?
A: That depends on which side of the county line you live. If you live south of the county line in Georgetown County, the schools are Waccamaw Elementary School, Waccamaw Middle School and Waccamaw High School in Pawleys Island. If you live north of the line in Horry County, the schools are St. James Elementary (west of Bypass 17), Seaside Elementary (east of Bypass 17), St. James Middle School and St. James High School.

Q: What taxes do I have to pay?
A: Horry and Georgetown Counties assess property at a rate of 4% of fair market value for legal residents. If your property is a second home or rented for investment, the rate is 6%. You must also pay an annual personal property tax for your cars and boats, and on any furnishings and appliances for your rental investment property.

Q: What health care facilities are there?
A: Grand Strand healthcare is some of the best around. Hospitals include the Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, which recently was designated a teaching hospital, the Conway Medical Center, and Waccamaw Community Hospital with locations in Murrells Inlet and Georgetown. Additionally, there are a number of clinics and outpatient facilities, specialists and medical practitioners in every field.

Q: Do I need to find a local lender or can I use my hometown bank?
A: The choice is yours. We find that the lending process tends to be smoother with a local lender who knows the area.

Q: How do I find a local lender?
A: Ask your Dunes agent. They are familiar with local banks and mortgage lenders, and stay current with local guidelines.

Q: How do I know there are no hidden defects in the house I’m buying?
A: Your Dunes Realty agent will provide you with a copy of the South Carolina Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statement. This is a document signed by the seller acknowledging any defects or problems of which they are aware. Additionally, Dunes recommends all buyers hire a licensed home inspector to go through the property.

Frequently Asked Questions for Selling Your Home

Q: What’s the best time of year to sell my house?
A: Traditionally the spring and summer months are active real estate sales months, but on the Grand Strand, we sell all year long. Your Dunes Realty agent can advise you on market conditions and timing.

Q: Is it better to sell my house or rent it?
A: That depends on your long range plan. If you want to hold on to your house to return to after a temporary job elsewhere or for retirement, you might consider renting your home annually. If you know you want to sell, talk to a Dunes Realty agent for expert current market advice.

Q: How do I know I’m getting the best price for my house?
A: Your Dunes Realty agent will provide you with a comparative market analysis of your neighborhood and show you how your house compares in features with other similar homes. You’ll see what has sold recently and what other properties are listing for to get a well-rounded picture of the market before you list.

Q: My friend sold his house himself. Shouldn’t I do that and save the commission?
A: Research has shown that houses sell faster and for higher prices with a Real Estate professional than they do without one. Homeowners often don’t realize the amount of paperwork, personal contact, phone calls, and 24/7 follow-up involved in selling a home. Your listing agent is more than your Realtor; he or she is your guide to a flawless and worry-free closing.

Q: Do I have to replace the carpet before I sell?
A: Not necessarily. Sometimes buyers want to make their own changes. If the carpet is really bad you might offer a carpet allowance. Talk to your Dunes Realty agent for expert advice on how best to prepare your home for selling.

Q: Why does my home need a termite inspection?
A: Subterranean termites and other wood boring pests love it here, and they especially love an untreated home. So, to protect your home and your investment, a termite inspection is a must. The best thing is to keep your home under a termite bond. Then there shouldn’t be any bad surprises at the inspection.

Q: Should I give the buyer a home warranty?
A: All appliances and home systems should be in working order before you list your home for sale so a warranty usually isn’t necessary. The buyer’s home inspection should reveal any problems, but if you want to provide a warranty just for your own peace of mind, you certainly can. Talk with your Dunes Realty agent.

Q: I’m leaving the area and won’t be in the house while it is on the market. Can I turn off the water and electricity to save money?
A: Sorry, no, the utilities need to be on for agents to show the property and to protect it from possible damage by extreme cold or heat. There is a minimum of cost to keeping the utilities running when you’re in the marketing phase and a maximum to gain in showing your property in its best light, so to speak.

Q: Do I have to hide all my family pictures while I’m trying to sell my house?
A: Not at all, but it is important that you reduce clutter and keep the house clean. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyers. They will come into your home and try to imagine their furniture and personal items in the rooms. Help them out by making the rooms as open and neutral as possible.

Q: What’s the best way to communicate with my Realtor?
A: The best way is the way that works best for you. Do you check your email frequently? Do you prefer a text or phone call? Chances are your agent will use all methods of communication, but ask them to communicate with you in the way that will get your quickest response.