Should I Retire in Charleston, SC or Savannah, GA?

Charleston and Savannah

When it comes to retirement in the southeast, many retirees often have to choose between the best two places to retire: Charleston, South Carolina or Savannah, Georgia. These historic coastal cities have all the amenities found in larger metropolitan areas but are smaller and more intimate. They also offer a lower cost of living. In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between the two cities. Afterwards, you should make the decision on whether to talk to a Charleston realtor or a Savannah Georgia realtor.

How Are Charleston and Savannah Similar?

People Love to Visit These Cities

Many things that make Charleston and Savannah such wonderful places to live are also the reasons why so many love to visit. Both cities attract a lot of tourists. They are renowned for their historic buildings, great restaurants, close beaches, and vibrant arts scene.

Charleston and Savannah

The Weather is Beautiful

There are many places to visit in Charleston and Savannah and the mild climate means that there are more days to enjoy these places! It is quite normal for temperatures to only get down to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. Spring and autumn are also very pleasant with warmer temperatures and sunny days.

Charleston and Savannah

Both Cities Love to Showcase Different Cultures

Both Charleston and Savannah are well-known as the epicenter of their respective arts. These cities have enough culture to keep art enthusiasts busy all year, from art galleries and architecture to performing and artistic festivals!

The Savannah College of Art and Design, also known as SCAD, is the country’s largest art school. Here, students as well as retired people can take a wide range of design and art classes. Telfair Museums is also located in the city. It includes three museums: Telfair Academy, Owens-Thomas House, and the Jepson Center which is an interactive museum for children. More than 200 festivals are held throughout the year in Savannah, including the famous St Patrick’s Day parade that draws people from all over the globe.

Charleston’s historic downtown also hosts many museums and historical sites, including the Gibbes Museum of Art and the Charleston Museum which showcases priceless artifacts. There are also several historic homes that can be toured. Charleston’s Magnolia Plantation and Boone Hall Plantation are both beautiful preserved buildings and have magnificent gardens. Residents also have many options for live performances, including the North Charleston Performing Arts Center and Opera Charleston. There are also dozens of smaller theaters, music venues, and other venues. 

Charleston and Savannah

How Are Charleston and Savannah Different From Each Other?

Population of Retirees

Charleston is now the most popular destination for retirees in the country, surpassing Savannah due to national attention and increasing housing development. Charleston’s median age is approximately 2.2 years older than that of Savannah. Although it’s so popular, Charleston is actually less crowded than Savannah since it has a larger land area. On the other hand, Savannah’s home prices have many retirees paying special attention to that area.

Charleston and Savannah

They Each Offer Different Lifestyles

Charleston is the best choice if you are looking for a place that is close to the beach with easy access. Savannah is home to Tybee Island, which is the closest and most well-known beach. Charleston, however, has Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, and Sullivan’s Island all within a 45 minute drive.

Georgia and South Carolina both offer free tuition to seniors and they provide multiple opportunities for retirees to benefit from these free learning opportunities. The College of Charleston is located in downtown Charleston and offers over 100 courses in liberal arts, sciences and other subjects. There are also excellent courses at nearby community colleges. Georgia Tech has a satellite campus in Savannah that offers professional education programs without any prerequisites. Armstrong Atlantic State University also offers a Road Scholar/Elderhostel program that provides in-depth lectures and fascinating field trips as well as cultural experiences.

Despite not having the same number of courses as nearby cities Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head Island, Charleston and Savannah offer plenty of options for those who love to golf. 

Charleston and Savannah

Different Healthcare Options

Both cities offer excellent medical care, with large academic medical centers as well as smaller, more specialized hospitals. Charleston residents have greater access to specialist networks and facilities.

Savannah is home of the Memorial University Medical Center, a 610-bed academic medical center that serves southern Georgia and South Carolina. It has been awarded the Best Academic Medical Center in Southeast Georgia. St. Joseph’s/Candler’s has a significant presence in the city, as well as five Centers of Excellence.

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), a 700-bed teaching hospital, is located in downtown Charleston. It has been continuously recognized as one of America’s best medical schools

Charleston and Savannah

Cost of Living Differences

Savannah’s average cost of living is 20% less than Charleston and its housing costs are 40% lower which are things to look out for when buying a home! Master-planned communities are more affordable and offer a wider range of housing options. The Landings in Savannah is similar to Nexton in Summerville. Recommended Savannah communities include Ford Plantation, Savannah Quarters, Wilmington Island, Southbridge, and others.

On the other hand, Charleston offers more luxury options, such as oceanfront or waterfront homes on nearby islands like Kiawah Island or Daniel Island. Recommended Charleston communities include Nexton, Daniel Island, Seabrook Island, Wild Dunes, and more.

Charleston and Savannah

Conclusion

Charleston and Savannah are great places to retire. They have mild winters, world-class amenities, and a wealth of master-planned communities. These coastal towns are worth a visit to see if they’re the right place for you. Whichever you choose, act now and call a local realtor in Charleston or a Savannah Georgia realtor to begin your retirement dream!

Atlanta Home Prices – First Half of 2021

home prices

Atlanta GA Real Estate Market

In the first half of 2021, Metro Atlanta home prices rose. This is a continuation of a year-long rise that has sharply risen prices since the market’s short freeze in the first weeks after the pandemic.

According to the Atlanta Realtors Association, the median home price increased 5.2% between April and $363,000 last month, an increase of 27.4% over May 2020.

There are many factors that have contributed to rising demand. However, sale listings have declined, which has led to buyers bidding against each other for a limited number of homes. Cynthia Lippert is the president of the association. “Scarce of inventory is definitely playing a part.”

Experts say that the average number of listings in a market with buyers and sellers having roughly equal bargaining power is six months. However, inventory has dropped to about 1.1 month.

This is transforming a growing number listings into auctions of high-intensity with multiple bids exceeding the asking price.

According to Torrence Ford of Premier, an Atlanta realty brokerage, wannabe buyers are quick to find attractive listings and will often put down a bid. They also offer to pay fees that would normally be paid by the seller.

Ford stated, “Every listing that I take, I receive between six and 29 offers in the first 72 hours of being on the MLS.” We are seeing the asking price go up for every listing we get. Each and every one.

Some sellers were hesitant to allow strangers into their homes at the beginning of the pandemic and refused to list the property for sale. Many potential sellers realized they could get a fair price but began to wonder if it was possible to find a home.

Scarcity is Driving Up Prices

According to John Hunt , a principal at MarketNsight (a housing research company), the gap has not been filled by new housing construction.

He said that homebuilding has been far below population growth since the 2007-2009 recession. It will take time to restore the market to its former balance. “We have underbuilt the market for 10 years, so it will take us 10 more years to rebuild it. It’s not me. That’s math.

He said that while supply is limited, demand is increasing.

Demand is High

Despite the economic hardship caused by the pandemic’s devastation, the majority of the damage was done to lower-wage earners, who were more likely to be renters than buyers. The largest generational cohort was also responsible for stabilizing their finances, moving up their careers, combining up, having children, and contemplating homeownership.

Hunt stated, “We just switched off this huge beast called the millennials.”

Rajeev Dhawan (director of the Economic Forecasting Center, Georgia State University) said that home economics were further fuelled by “the wealth effect”.

Dhawan said that the stock market rebounded after a brief but severe slump. This made many people, whether they were wealthy investors or holders 401(k),s, feel richer. The stock market is tightly linked to the housing market.

Top Realtors in Atlanta 2019
Who will make the list for the Top Atlanta Realtors for 2019?

Word of mouth is a great way to avoid a bidding war. Ford at Re/Max Premier learns about a potential seller and searches for a buyer quickly.

A home will be listed by a major service once it is. This will allow thousands of agents to view it and their clients. They won’t bid on a home if they don’t know where it is for sale.

Ford stated that there are many off-market transactions. They have not listed the house. They haven’t placed a sign in my yard. They do know me.”

Zillow reports that one-third (33%) of homes in Metro Atlanta sold in March were purchased for more than the asking prices. One in eight homes sold above the list price last year. Zillow stated that the average home for sale in Atlanta was listed for six days before it was sold.

Last month, 6,631 homes were sold in the 11 tracked counties by the Realtors Association reports. 75% of these sales took place in the core four counties. Gwinnett, Cobb, and DeKalb had the most homes that were sold in Fulton, with 1,760. Fulton also had $410,000 as the median price.

Lippert, of the realtors association, stated that 8.0% less homes were sold in May than April. This is not good news for homeownership long-term.

This was a huge problem for sellers, but it won’t stop buyers with more money who will have more options. However, the shortage of homes at the lower price points is preventing some buyers from entering the market.

She said that there is a growing number of buyers who are likely to be prevented from moving at this point.

Metro Atlanta* Home Sales, May 2021

6.631 homes sold

Median sales price $363,000

Comparable to May, 2020

Should You Rent or Buy?

Why is my home not selling_

Should You Rent or Buy Your Next Home?

Deciding whether to rent or buy a home is an important decision. Which option is best depends on several factors.

  • Can you afford all the costs associated with home ownership?
  • How long do you plan to live in the home?
  • What are your long-term goals?

Deciding whether to rent or buy a home is a personal choice that requires you to think carefully about the pros and cons. Both renting and buying have their own advantages.  

 

Advantages of Renting

Here are several benefits of renting a home instead of buying. 

Flexibility

When you rent, it’s relatively easy to leave your home if you need to. There’s no need to hunt for a real estate agent or stage the house for sale. All you need to do is pack your belongings and move. If you don’t plan to stay in an area long-term, renting is a better choice than buying. 

Lower Upfront Costs

The upfront costs of renting a home are often significantly lower than the costs of buying. While renters usually need to pay a security deposit of one to two months’ rent, buyers must shell out a sizeable down payment for a home. The typical down payment is about 20% of a home’s value.  If you don’t have enough savings for a down payment, you’re probably better off choosing to rent. 

Maintenance

When you rent a home, your landlord is the one responsible for any repairs or maintenance needed. If an appliance breaks down or the plumbing backs up, all you need to do is call your landlord and they will send out a local contractor. If you own your home, you’ll be the one to spend time and money on repairs. It’s important to factor the costs of repairs into your budget. 

Property Values

Property values and the housing market have a big impact on homeowners. A home’s value affects a homeowner’s mortgage payment, their property taxes, and their net worth. If the housing market goes down, it does not have an adverse effect on those who rent.  

Fixed Rent Payment

While a landlord may increase rent at the end of a lease term, as long as proper notice is given, rent payments are fixed for the term of the lease. In contrast, a mortgage payment can increase if property taxes rise or if the mortgage has an adjustable interest rate. Renting makes budgeting easier, since the amount of rent you’ll pay does not change during the lease term.  

 

Preparing for a home sale
When it’s time for a homeowner to offer their house for sale, there are many things that must be considered in order to get the best home prices available. Getting a home ready for the marketplace requires focus and attention, as today’s real estate market is a highly competitive place.

Advantages of Buying

Home ownership offers a number of benefits. The advantages of owning a home include: 

Build Home Equity

When you buy a home instead of rent, you’re building equity with every mortgage payment. Equity is the difference between the amount of your mortgage and the value of your home. When you’ve build equity for several years, you may be able to qualify for a home equity line of credit or a home equity loan. Home equity loans and lines of credit usually have lower interest than other personal loans. 

Tax Deductions

Most homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest on their tax returns. Beginning in 2018, married homeowners filing jointly may deduct mortgage interest on home loans up to $750,000.[2] Homeowners may also deduct interest on home equity loans, as long as the loan was used for home improvements. Ask an accountant or a tax advisor for help with tax deductions. 

Property Values

Your home is likely to appreciate in value over time. Home values depend on the local real estate market, as well as any improvements or upgrades made to the property. Your home equity will increase as your home gains value. 

Freedom to Customize and Personalize

When you rent, you’re not permitted to make any changes to the property without seeking permission from your landlord. If your needs change, you’ll often need to move to another rental home.

Home ownership gives you the freedom to make whatever changes to your home you desire. You can remodel and redecorate to suit your needs and tastes any time you like. Pride of ownership is one of the main benefits of buying instead of renting. 

Whether buying or renting a home is best for you depends on your individual circumstances. As with any major financial decision, think carefully about each option and decide what’s most important to you.

Tips for Saying Goodbye to a Home You Have Sold

Saying Goodbye to a Home you have Sold 🙁

Buying a home for sale is a major purchase for just about everyone, and it’s very often also an emotional one. As large purchases go, people tend to be more emotionally invested in their home than they are when they buy a car.

While buying real estate is often recognized as an emotional purchase, selling real estate does not always evoke the same sentimental impact. But when it is time to sell the home that, once upon a time, you fell in love with, it’s emotional, too.

It’s often hard to say goodbye to something that’s been a part of your family for a period of time, here are few suggestions for home sellers who are faced with saying goodbye to a home they’ve sold. Preparing for a home sale can be an emotional rollercoaster.

Let someone else paint

When you moved into that home that was new to you at the time, perhaps you prepared a nursery for a growing family or painted your kitchen a color that gives you a certain feeling. If so, recognize that it could be difficult to let those things go.

That’s why, if you have to change things for the new homeowners, it makes sense to pay someone else to cover over those memories. That nursery? Let someone else paint the neutral wall color everyone is saying you need. That family kitchen’s warm walls? Pay someone to change them.

It’s easy to pick up a roller or brush and physically change the appearance of rooms yourself, but if you’re emotionally invested in those rooms, let someone else do the work. It’s much easier emotionally.

Host one last party

If you have a home that’s been the site of fun events, have one last fun event.

At some point, you likely entertained a group of people for the first time in your home. Now that you have sold that home, you have a final opportunity to gather the same people who are important to you and host the last party in that home. You’d be surprised at how many of your guests over the years might share an emotional connection to the home with you.

You christened the home at one point with those people, so give it a bon voyage with them, too.

Have a garage sale

This might not seem all that exciting, but purging your home of stuff you don’t need serves several purposes.

First and foremost, everything home sellers decide to sell is something they don’t need to pack for their move to new digs. Also, however, just like having a final party is a way to say goodbye to the home with friends, a garage sale is a way to say goodbye to the stuff in your home you no longer need while making a couple of bucks. You might enjoy the purge that comes with the preparation for the sale, and it might give you a profitable way to part with possessions that were once part of your life in the home you’re leaving. Selling those things, rather than throwing or giving them away, also can provide you with some closure on items your mind connects with the home.

Family First

If you host a final party for your friends, you probably owe it to your family to do something similar. If you have a fireplace where you’ve hung stockings at Christmas, have one last fire. If you have a room where family movie night has been a thing, have the last movie night.

Take your family, room by room and travel back through time. Shuffle through the memories you all have of each space, and spend some time with each other in those same spaces. If nothing else, a room-by-room memory-making tour will give you something to remember that house by forever.

So re-connect with each room, as a family, before you have to leave the home for good.

Last Supper

Moving can be stressful. It’s not unusual for a family’s last meal in a home to be pizza or something else easy. The boxes are headed out, the trucks are getting packed, so a rushed takeout dinner is the final meal shared in the family home.

That’s not the way to do it, though, is it? Prisoners on death row are given a better alternative. So instead of the final meal in your home being an afterthought as you rush out the door, let the trucks go. Leave the boxes for the next day. You might not have any furniture or dishes or whatever, but cook a final meal that you will remember. Share it together.

Even with no silverware, plates or whatever, a meal that you’ve made yourself and had to eat off paper towels with your fingers is more appropriate a goodbye than takeout from boxes.

Don’t undersell the emotional aspect of moving from a home. It was an emotional decision to move INTO it, a home full of great memories and family “firsts.” So don’t be shy about constructing family “lasts.” Say goodbye to that sold home properly.

Preparing for a home sale

Preparing for a home sale

Preparing a Home For Sale

When it’s time for a homeowner to offer their house for sale, there are many things that must be considered in order to get the best home prices available. Getting a home ready for the marketplace requires focus and attention, as today’s real estate market is a highly competitive place.

Buyers today look at properties with a high level of scrutiny, which is why a seller has to do everything they can to prepare their home. Just as actors and job applicants have to realize they make the most impact within the first few seconds of a meeting, so will a home’s look and feel make the most impact in the first few moments of a walk through. All of this is why preparing carefully is the very best policy for a home seller who wants to do well.

 

How To Sell a Home in Today’s Competitive Real Estate Market

People who want to buy a home in today’s real estate market are looking for many things, and part of what they are looking for will be geared to their own specific needs. Couples with children will have different needs than older couples or single people. They will be concerned about the local schools and that the area is welcoming to families. All of this should be kept in mind when preparing a house for sale.

If the home being offered is in a good area for families, this should definitely be highlighted in the communications about the property. If there is a good play area for the children, that area should be cleaned and landscaped before it is shown.

An unkempt yard will definitely bring down the value of a home, so it’s important to pay careful attention to how the yard looks on the first impression. This is especially true of the front yard and walkway. Adding bright flowers to the walkway or around the front door is an easy job that will add a lot to a positive first impression of the home.

 

Staging the Property For Those Who Want To Buy A Home

Again, the first impression a buyer has of a home is huge. Along with taking in the first impression of the home, a buyer will also study the neighborhood and the condition of the home, including the roof, plumbing, and foundation. Still, the first walk-through of a home is the time when a person falls in love with it and that’s why it’s so important to carefully prepare the home in advance.

The home should look immaculate and clutter-free for the open house walk through. If new furnishings are needed, they should be brought in in order to make a great first impression. Any clutter or threadbare carpets or furniture will take away from the price a seller can ask for a home, so all of the details must be attended to.

There are interior design experts who can be brought in to help with staging a home and their expertise is worth the price. A homeowner can also consult interior design magazines and websites for ideas on how to stage a home beautifully. Extra touches like vases with fresh flowers and scented candles add a lot of the welcoming feel of a home.

Cosmetic touches, like staging a home with new furniture and flowers might seem inconsequential, but ultimately, a home sale is an emotional experience. That’s why the more a seller can do to make a home look and feel like a “dream house,” the better chance they’ll have at getting the price they really desire.

Selling a house takes focus and hard work, but ultimately, a successful home sale is worth all the trouble involved.  For more information about how to make your home beautiful for selling, contact your local trusted Real Estate agent today.

 

Savannah Home Prices Are Changing the City’s Character

rising house prices

The city of Savannah, Georgia, has grown immensely in recent decades. After years of stagnation, home prices in the city have soared. New businesses and young professionals have made the city a destination in the South. But the influx of people has created an inflection point for the city’s housing market. In its late stage of revitalization, Savannah’s housing market will determine what kind of city Savannah becomes.

Reasons For Rising Prices

There are many reasons for high real estate prices in the downtown Savannah area. One clear reason is the increase in tourism. Savannah tourism has increased at a steady clip ever since the 1990s. In that decade, books and movies both provoked urban growth and showcased Savannah’s splendor to the rest of the nation. As the years went on and industry continued to wane, tourism emerged as the area’s economic engine. It became easy to sell a home and the local Realtor sector flourished.

Now, the city’s politics and economy are almost entirely dependent on the money from tours and visitors. But the city has not remained stagnant or rested upon its laurels. Education has quietly grown to also push real estate prices higher and higher. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has benefited enormously from the housing push. It has bought numerous buildings in downtown Savannah and started to join tourist companies in a revitalization effort. Savannah State University has also benefited from the city’s largess and SCAD’s success.

The question is whether or not Savannah simply wants to remain a limited historic city built on tourism where it is difficult to buy a home for a reasonable price. Soon, SCAD and local businesses may branch outside of the historic squares and start to bring money into neighborhoods south of Forsyth Park. This expansion may actually be beneficial to the local economy. Building outside of historic neighborhoods could increase rent and home prices even further. But less restrictive building codes in non-historic areas could also result in larger housing stock and more affordable units.

What It Means

The change in downtown Savannah is indicative of a city that is passing into a new stage of revitalization. Much of Savannah has gentrified. Young professionals have bought local property and restored historic areas. The local Realtor cadre continues to bring buyers to the area and drive the thriving housing market.

More tax revenue has led to more police officers and a resulting decrease in crime. The investments of local individuals have led to more businesses and a diversified local economy. As a result, one could envision a Savannah where SCAD and new tech startups could build up new housing that benefits everybody in the city instead of simply its wealthiest citizens.

Conclusion

Savannah is very much on the cutting edge of urban growth in the United States. Its historic area has been successful and desirable for years. But it may be time for the City to grow and expand. More expansion means more homes, more home sales, and a vibrant yet dynamic housing environment. The city of Savannah may have years or even decades of growth to look forward to. For more information about buying or selling a home in Savannah Georgia, contact your local professional Realtor today.