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Another Beautiful Heritage Classic!

Well, everybody, we’ve got to put away the plaid for another year, but what an amazing tournament the Heritage Classic was this year, and what a great story behind Jim Furyk’s win this year.  On the one hand, it would have been great to see Kevin Kisner, a native South Carolinian, win; but the chance to see a great player like Jim Furyk, winner of 17 PGA events, take the win in a playoff was amazing.  At age 45, Furyk proves he is still a contender for any event, and it will be great to see how his year plays out.

As many of you know by now, Furyk hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2010, and he won three that year… starting with the Heritage.  Is that a sign of things to come?  I have no idea.  But I do know that the course looked beautiful, the new clubhouse is amazing, and Harbour Town and Sea Pines is always going to be one of my favorite places in the world.

So what is next here in Hilton Head and the Low Country?

Hmmmm.  Sunny weather, blue skies, and our “snow birds” will be going home and our summer friends will be starting to arrive.  In the meantime, with the beautiful cool evenings and warm sunny days, there is still plenty to do here, and not just sitting on the beach.

When the weather is like this, I just love riding the miles and miles of bike trails both in Sea Pines and all over the island.  It’s not too hot, and literally, everything you could want can be reached by bike.  Now I won’t lie, to get from Sea Pines to Port Royal, you are going to be riding a while, but the chance to say that you rode the length of an island in bicycle is something to brag about for plenty of folks.  The best part?  With all the trails throughout the island, you don’t have to get worried about traffic.

Now is a great time to visit while the kids are still in school, and you never know what adventures can await you in this island paradise.  Heck, April and May are wonderful times to be here, and I can’t think of better place to be 12 months out of the year.


Ready to Get Your Plaid On?

I certainly hope everybody is ready to get your plaid on for the Heritage! Next week, some of the best golf in the world is going to be played at one of the prettiest places in the world. I’m talking about the RBC Heritage Classic presented by Boeing and hosted by Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head.

It’s hard to believe that the Heritage, one of only five invitational tournaments on the PGA Tour, has been around since 1969. Arnold Palmer won that one, playing with Jack Nicklaus on a course the Golden Bear helped design, held before Thanksgiving in those early years. The total prize money? $100,000.

Now the Heritage sports a purse approaching 6 million dollars and it’s played the week after the Masters – for many fans, the tournament of the year. Simply put, there isn’t a better time for golf in the Low Country. 100,000 fans will be here to share in the fun. The iconic course at Harbour Town will see the Golf Channel and CBS dedicating nearly 15 hours of coverage and the best part? Millions of dollars is raised for charities through the Heritage Classic Foundation.

Now, plenty of people will be coming just to see the golf greats of our time take that beautiful walk down 18 on Sunday and our visitors will have the chance to get up close and personal with these pros. Many of the players, along with their families, will stay right here in Sea Pines while the tournament is going on. I’m willing to bet that more than a few visitors will want to see that amazing view of the Harbour Town Lighthouse more often. I’m fortunate enough to make my home just minutes from the Lighthouse, and while traffic may be a little challenging – it is worth the extra time it takes because the beauty of Sea Pines and all of Hilton Head Island never fails to make me smile.

That is the best part about living here in this island paradise. Today, while some folks are still wondering when Spring will start, we are enjoying beautiful days with the temperature in the high 70s. It has been “beach” weather here for, well, months. One of my favorite things to do is to walk to the beach and get my toes in the sand every chance I get. Walking back home to watch the best sunset over the marshes here in the Low Country is a beautiful site, and I love it. The best way to stress relief anyone can prescribe.

So, when you are ready to rub elbows with the greats in the game, you know there is a place that can combine the best weather, the most beautiful beaches, and the most amazing golf courses in the country. Call me and I’ll tell you about Hilton Head, and you can call paradise home, just like me!

The Cold Shoulder? Not here!

I was talking with an old friend from New England this week and they were still battling the weather with the near-blizzard conditions they have had all winter and they joked that walking their dog or getting in a nice jog or walk before work was really hard to do when the wind was blowing 35 miles an hour, it was snowing sideways, and the wind chill was somewhere around 20 below.  I laughed with them and cringed at the thought of it, and later, after I got off the phone, I had to smile at how good we have it here on Hilton Head.

I mentally ticked off all the public parks we had on the island, then went and double checked myself.  We have a bunch of parks!  Of course, I knew that we have 13 public parks, seven of which offer recreational facilities like soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, and even skateboarding facilities, but to be honest, I had forgotten just how many we can enjoy.  This is in addition to the public boat ramps and the seven public beaches on Hilton Head.

Now, all of you know I love and make my home in Sea Pines, and I am certainly aware of Sea Pines Forest Preserve, and love it, but when you think about how unique it is, with the community gardens, the rookery for migratory birds, the ancient shell ring from the earliest settlers, and, of course, alligators; well, it is a very special place and we are blessed to have that kind of preserve here to share.

Then there is Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge on the causeway to our island home that encompasses nearly 4,000 acres of pristine salt marshes and tidal creeks and who knows how many different types of wildlife can be enjoyed on the miles of walking and biking trails.   I also regularly drive by the Audubon Newhall Preserve on Palmetto Bay Road, and it offers a unique look at the flora and fauna of this amazing place and reminds us of the natural beauty and diversity that we enjoy here.

By the time I was done daydreaming that day, all I could do was smile.  Despite the wide range of parks and preserves, public areas are a tradition here in the Low Country, and the best part?  Unlike my friend in the frozen Northeast, I will never have to shovel snow to go enjoy the parks here.

A Rich History

Hello friends!  A funny thing happened last week while I was meeting a new client.  We started talking about the history of Hilton Head, and boy, did they know it!  I had read Margaret Greer’s excellent book ”The Sands of Time, A History of Hilton Head Island” a while ago, but these good folks took so much of that knowledge and expanded on it and it was another beautiful reminder of the rich tapestry of the world here.  People have come to this island paradise in the Low Country of South Carolina for millennia, and it was one of the first places that the Europeans explored on the North American mainland.

Everybody knows that Columbus “discovered” the New World in 1492, but the Spanish explorers first set foot in the Hilton Head area (then it was considered part of Spain’s Florida colony) just a few years later, in 1526.  Native American people, such as the Cusabo and Yuchi tribes, have used this beautiful place for nearly 10,000 years.  I know why, too.  Just a ride through the majestic live oaks or a walk along the beautiful beaches can transport you to a better place. The wind blowing off of the Atlantic and the smell of the salt air?  I don’t know a better way to make a day great.

Another part of that fun history lesson I got the other day was the “back story” on the name Hilton Head.  Of course I know William Hilton was the captain who named it, but I learned that he was actually exploring Port Royal and used the bluffs of the island for navigational sightings.  These bluffs, or headlands, gave the island it’s name, and that was all the way back in 1663.  Captain Hilton lingered here for a week or more, noting the great soil, the fresh water, the beautiful coastal forests, and I can’t help but think that a part of him wanted to stay here, too.

What I find so telling is that Hilton Head has never been “undiscovered”.  It has been a part of the American life since before there was an America, and it has played a part in every stage of American history.  The broken pottery and shell midens of the early Native Americans that gave way to the tabby buildings of the Colonial period.  The Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Gullah culture of the African-American people of these barrier islands.  All these amazing parts of our country’s history were witnesses by this island.  In the last century, Hilton Head even contributed to coastal defense in the World Wars, to say nothing of the thousands of young men who have become Marines for this great nation across the sound at Paris Island.

Waking up each day in a place so rich in history, and so ingrained in the growth and beliefs of America, makes me proud to be a part of it, and even happier that others, like my friends this week, share that love of Hilton Head Island.

New Years Resolution on Hilton Head

Well, it is a New Year in the Low Country and I have resolved to be more attentive to my blog and to post much more regularly! I am sure you are all doing great on your New Year’s resolutions, and I am keeping all of mine, too. The funny thing is, I made this resolution after a series of others, but the catalyst for it was our beaches here in Hilton Head… I want to walk on them, spend more time sitting on them, and soak up all the beauty and solace of spending a day feeling the warm sun on my face, the sand under my toes, and hear the waves lapping at the shore. I know I can’t spend every day there, but I resolve that I will make time to enjoy them more than I have in years past. The idea of spending a relaxing day at the beach seems so far away, with the weather today … and depending on where you grew up, it is either cool or cold! We can’t be too bitter, though, I mean, nearly every day here is shorts weather, and even in January, my sandals are never far away. Isn’t that the beautiful thing about living in Hilton Head? Any given day, even in the dead of winter, it will be 75 degrees and sunny tomorrow. I love the beauty of the Low Country beaches and I know you do to.

So here is my resolution to all of you – I will enjoy the beautiful beaches we have here this year! Whether it is South Beach here in Sea Pines, Coligny, Burke’s Beach or any of our other beautiful beaches , I am going to spend a lot more time walking these 14 miles of South Carolina beachfront we have and should all enjoy more. I mean, after all, if you didn’t want to live in paradise, you wouldn’t have moved here. And as we ramp up to our busy season, don’t let the “busy” get in your way. There are too many beautiful spots that we, I bet, just haven’t quite gotten around to seeing, and I promise you, I’m going to find them and take in those sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. And for those of you reading this that have not taken the plunge and joined into this lovely spot by the sea, I can’t wait to get you out on the sand!

Year to Date Pending Real Estate Sales on Hilton Head Island

January through May homes and villas that went under contract on Hilton head Island are down 10% from 2013 pendings during the same time period.  The only month in 2014 that exceeded contracts pending for both homes and villas was January which was 8% over for homes and 2% over for villas.

To try to ascertain what is happening in our market, we look at Sea Pines.  This resort community is a grand indicator of the health and stability of all of the resort markets on the island.  Sea Pines homes going under contract was down a considerable 28% Jan.-May, while  Sea Pines villas was down 31%.

So, coming off a very healthy 2013, what is happening?  What we think is happening has to do with inventory and expectations.  As the inventory decreases on Hilton Head Island,  sellers are not having to negotiate as much as they have in the past 5 years.  Prices are not going up per se, but they are not continuing to slide down. Buyers are having a difficult time finding what they want at prices they want.  Buyers are also still in the get it really cheap mode and sellers are not.  This is contributing to the slowdown.  But, we are seeing well priced properties come on the market, sell quickly and sometimes with multiple offers. Buyers are still asking the question, can we still get good deals.  The answer is yes, if you have realistic expectations of fair market value.

We will be watching very carefully what happens over the next couple of months.

2013 Hilton Head Island Year End Newsletter

The analysis is done and the newsletter uploaded to market reports.  Please log in to access.  You will find the results of Hilton Head Island real estate in an easy read format.  You can read the Bluffton, SC results for the mainland analysis.  And you can read the Sea Pines real estate statistics as well.  2013 was another good year for Hilton Head real estate and we are looking forward to another strong year in 2014.

Award-winning Hilton Head Island, SC

Award-winning Hilton Head Island SCWhile I can tell you all about Hilton Head Island, South Carolina’s beautiful beaches and world renowned golf courses;   its great dining and shopping venues; the areas many festivals and its arts & cultural opportunities;  our communities attention to preserving our natural environment;  and how the South Carolina Lowcountry is an incredible place to live or vacation. You don’t have to take my word for it – check out this list of what others have recognized as award-winning about Hilton Head Island!

  • Parents Magazine named Hilton Head Island #1 in “Top 10 Best Beach Towns” of 2013
  • Hilton Head Island Tops of Fox News’ “10 Beautiful Beach Town Fall Vacations 2013 in USA”
  • Conde Nast Readers Rank Hilton Head Island Among “Top 10 Best U.S. Islands”
  • Southern Living showcases Hilton Head Island in its June 2013 issue “Bliss on a Budget”
  • U.S. News & World Report featured Hilton Head Island at #6 on its “Top 10 Best Beaches List 2013”
  • In recent years, the island has also earned recognition by The League of American Bicyclists who designated the island a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community and has been recognized for its participation in the Audubon International Sustainable Communities program.

While Hilton Head Island  is certainly a great place to get away to, it is an even better place to live. There are numerous Hilton Head Island communities, each offering exceptional amenities to meet your individual lifestyle needs.  Explore the various communities found in Hilton Head Island

Whether you are purchasing a Luxury Home or villa on Hilton Head Island for your primary home, second home, vacation retreat or investment, you can realize your dream!  Contact me, Felice LaMarca, at 843-671-6702 or email me here.  As your full service Hilton Head Island real estate broker I specialize in exclusive resort and luxury properties in the South Carolina Low Country and as your full service Hilton Head Island real estate broker you can rest assure that my knowledge, experience, and professionalism will always serve your best interests when buying or selling a home.

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Get Your House Ready to Show Buyers

Home Staging Tips - Hilton Head Island SCYou’re distinct to sell your home – So what’s next?  Need to get ready to show buyers! This is called home staging – the art of correctly presenting your home – is one of the easiest ways to assure selling your home fast and at the loftiest possible price.  So move up and view your home with the eye of a highly censorious buyer and try to imagine that the way you decorate to sell, may be quite different from your day to day decorating way.  Staging a home well doesn’t have to spend a lot of money and it will be an investment that can have a bigger return if you do it right. Here are simple steps to get you started:

Start to visit few open houses.  It will give you the opportunity to view how your home compares to others and get an idea of what is going to take to compete within your local market.

Do Complete Repairs. Doing repairs before resale heighten the chances of quick selling.  A property that is not preserved is a red flag for home buyers. Exert much effort to replace that old carpeting, replace aging appliances, complete cosmetic upgrades, and make all necessary home improvements that will make your home feel welcoming and show buyers that it has been well cared of.

Clean, Be Neat, clean.  This can be tedious to make  your home competitive in the market! The effort to sell your home for big dollar. Scrub all tiles includes in the kitchen and bathrooms, wash windows, clean hardwood floors, mist clean carpets and drapes, repair cracks and holes on the walls, repaint doors and moldings, and try to paint interior walls with neutral colors.  A house that “sparkles” on the surface will sell faster than its scruffy neighbor.

Depersonalize and Unclutter.  The more stuff in your home any prospective buyers see, the lesser they can envision themselves in a home. Consider it as “pre-packing”!  Clear counters, take off family photos on the walls, personal collections removed,  and closets should be organized and uncluttered. One major contributor to a cluttered look is having too much furniture so take a serious look at those you have and ask yourself what things you can live without. Make sure hallways are wide – they lead potential buyers into your home and should be bright and clutter free.

Create more space. Add some items to enhance your home: like table and floor lamps that are simple but eye catchy, flowers or greenery can add fresh appeal to every room, a soft throw,  luxury fabric pillows, mirrors to make a room look larger and reflect light, or a glass bowl of fruit in the kitchen table or a touch of color.

Don’t ignore curb appeal. Paint the exterior if needed and power wash siding and windows. It won’t matter if you have the marvelous kitchen ever;  if your outside paint is peeling you’ll have a tough time getting potential home buyers in the door to view it. Visit the front door, maybe it needs repainting even if the rest of the house don’t. Change out entry door hardware, doorbell, address numbers and light fixtures are less expense way to add style and gain more interest to your home’s exterior. In the yard, cut shrubs and trees, get a lawn mower and sweep the walkway and entryway. It would be attractive to plant colorful flowers or add a few container gardens close to the entry door.

Assured that a properly staged home is stands out against the competition so find ways to highlight your home’s measurements and will go a long way toward creating a home that will appeal to the greatest possible buyers.

If you are purchasing a Luxury Home or villa on Hilton Head Island for your primary home, second home, vacation retreat or investment, you can realize your dream!  Contact me, Felice LaMarca, at 843-671-6702 or email me here.  As your full service Hilton Head Island real estate broker I specialize in exclusive resort and luxury properties in the South Carolina Low Country and as your full service Hilton Head Island real estate broker you can rest assure that my knowledge, experience, and professionalism will always serve your best interests when buying or selling a home.

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Why Do I Need A Home Inspection?

Home Inspection - Hilton Head Island SCAlthough lenders may not always require a home inspection,  having a complete  home inspection helps ensure homebuyers of the quality of their investment. A professional Home Inspector is familiar with the elements of home construction, proper installation, maintenance and home safety. It is in your best interest to have your new home inspected by a professional prior to closing to ensure there are no major problems and it is best to avoid costly repairs down the road.

Avoid Unpleasant Surprises With Home Inspections
Conduct an objective examination of a house, including everything that comes with it, by inspecting it top-to-bottom. The standard report must have a review of the home’s plumbing and wiring; heating & air-conditioning system; attic, roof, ceilings, walls, foundation, floors, doors, windows and basement.

Hiring a professional inspector is important for older houses because the roof and those hard-to-reach areas of the house get damaged after some time, and you might not be able to see it right away. Neglected repair work often results in problems or damages, such as the last owner’s failed attempts at installing light fixtures and outlets.

When buying a new house, make sure to inspect it first and foremost because it can prove to be a good investment. It’s a fact that new houses often have defects, either caused by construction oversight or simply a human error.

Hiring An Inspector
Make sure to get an unbiased and experienced home inspector. You can usually get a referral from your real estate agent, or through word-of-mouth. You can also check the Yellow Pages, or search online for “Building Inspection” or “Home Inspection.”

Depending on the size of your property or location, home inspections can cost around a few hundred dollars. Be reminded that the inspection fee may cost more in an urban area than in a rural setting. Whatever cost it would take to inspect the house, think of it as money well spent. Consider it an investment to your investment – your new home.

In some cases, builders may convince you against hiring a home inspector or examining the house, especially if it’s one they built. It’s not necessarily because they’re trying to hide something, but they’re confident in their work and will often offer to fix any issues in your new house before you move in. They will also offer to conduct their own inspection, but it’s still advisable to hire a third-party inspector for an objectively professional appraisal.

Inspection Timing and Results
Buyers usually arrange for an inspection after signing a legal paper or purchase agreement with the seller. The results may be available immediately or within a few days. The home inspector will review the findings with you and inform you to any costly conditions. In some cases, you can be advised not to buy the home unless such problems are remedied.

You could include a clause in your contract that makes your purchase contingent upon satisfactory inspection results. If big problems are found, you can back out of the deal. If costly repairs are warranted, the home seller may be willing to adjust the home’s price or the contract’s terms. But when only minor repairs are needed, the buyer and seller can usually work out an agreement that won’t affect the sale price.

Home inspections help you learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy.

Whether you are purchasing a Luxury Home or villa on Hilton Head Island for your primary home, second home, vacation retreat or investment, you can realize your dream!  Contact me, Felice LaMarca, at 843-671-6702 or email me here.  As your full service Hilton Head Island real estate broker I specialize in exclusive resort and luxury properties in the South Carolina Low Country and as your full service Hilton Head Island real estate broker you can rest assure that my knowledge, experience, and professionalism will always serve your best interests when buying or selling a home.

Search Hilton Head Real Estate

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