Moreland Village at Palmetto Bluff

Take a video stroll thru the brand new Moreland Village in Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, SC !

Today I attended the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors, Professional Development session on “How to Buy and Sell in Palmetto Bluff.”   It featured an exclusive preview of the brand new Moreland Village neighborhood.

Take a look at this video, and let me know if you need more info or a personal tour of this amazing community.   It’s my favorite!

Easter Sunset on the Broad River

Easter dinner had a view last night.

 

EasterSunset

Not a bad view with my Easter dinner with friends last night.  So thankful for where we live, and those that live here with us.

Farewell For Now, My Friend

Lori Bee shares a bit about her friend Cullen Mieczkowski, who was killed by a drunk driver.

Friday evening during rush hour, I heard the sirens from my home.   I live just off of May River Road, and unfortunately, it’s a sound I hear all too often.   There are so many wrecks around here.   I remember thinking, “I hope it’s not for anyone I know.”

I later went down to Peaceful Henry’s/Bluffton Cigar Bar for a smoke and beverage.   I do have a standing rule that if I have more than 2 drinks, I Uber home.   I only had 1 Truly.  And the nice thing about having a cigar is it makes you drink less and more slowly. But while I was there, I read a post on NextDoor that someone had been killed in the accident and that police had shut down Hwy 46 beyond Buckwalter (just beyond my home) to Gibbet Road, for the investigation.   The notice also said that the DUI suspect who fled the scene was apprehended.   I prayed for the victim and their family, still wondering who it was.  I went home early knowing I had a big day ahead.   The police and the flashing lights were at the corner of my neighborhood.   I was sad looking at them knowing somebody lost their life just up the road.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning I was on my way for the first time to the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament with a bunch of friends.  We were car pooling and I was riding with my friends Lindsey, KJ and Veronica.   Veronica’s husband Bill was in another vehicle and he called her.   He told her it was Cullen Mieckowski, who often came into Peaceful Henry’s.   I instantly cried out, “NO!  NO!”

I couldn’t stop sobbing off and on all day.  My friends offered to drive me back home but I said, “No.  Cullen wouldn’t like that.   He would like it if we all celebrated his life and his love of golf, all together. ”   And I knew I would be a wreck at home by myself.  I needed my friends and can’t thank them enough for their support yesterday.  It was a picture perfect day.   Just beautiful, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Cullen.  A lot of us were.

I first talked to Cullen when he signed up for real estate school in October of 2013 at the Keller Williams office where I was Team Leader at the time.   He explained to me that he had been in the lending business for a number of years and was looking into transitioning into being an agent.   He definitely was energetic, smart and enthusiastic about the future.  He always was.

He was from Cleveland and I teased him a bit about that, being I’m a diehard Pittsburgh fan.  He took it in good fun and we laughed together about it.  I can always respect a diehard fan, even of another team, and he had to be legit considering he obviously wasn’t fair-weather considering Cleveland’s football record.    I also told him the weather was much better here, and he said the golfing was too.   He loved golf.

CullenGolf

Long story short, Cullen completed his course and passed the real estate exam.   He was so excited but upon hearing I was no longer Team Leader, he decided to go to a different firm.  He always stayed in touch though and one day he called me and asked my opinion about new construction sales.  He remembered me talking about my experience with that in the Charlotte area, as new construction agent.  I said I thought he’d be great at it, as long as he didn’t mind weekends. Well in October of 2015, he started with K. Hovnanian Homes.  I was the first person to congratulate him on his Facebook post about it.    He excelled there working with another mutual friend, Nanie Ingram.

CullenScreenshot

 

I ran into him often at Peaceful Henry’s.   I had told him about the place that I’d come to call my “home away from home” since moving here when I was interviewing Cullen.   It became his hangout too, and I always enjoyed seeing his big, bright smile when he came in .  He was always thanking me for encouraging him to move here and with supporting his real estate career. Even during our last talk there.   He loved working at K Hov. and he loved living in the lowcountry.   We loved him here too.  Many of our mutual friends in the real estate industry and at Peaceful Henry’s, are deep in grief too.

CullenScreenshotLowcountryView

I will miss those talks.  He was so excited about the future.   I was SO PROUD of him.  He loved his life here.  We loved him too.  I just can’t believe we won’t see him again…

I am so grateful for our tradition at Peaceful Henry’s to hug everybody when we come in and usually when we leave.  I will treasure those hugs and those memories with Cullen. And I will miss him dearly.   I will never forget him.

Please, don’t drink and drive.  Uber.  Call a friend.  It’s just not worth it.

I hope I will see you on the other side someday, Cullen.   Love and prayers for your family and friends.

UPDATE 4/17/2017:  Please consider donating to Cullen’s Memorial Fund.  “We would like to assist his family in preparing for a service and memorial. Your donations in this difficult time are greatly appreciated.”

Thank you to Bill Kelly, Tanner Sutphin, and Daniel Moskowitz for setting the fund up.

Your Version of “As Is” May Leave You Unsold

Understanding “as is” in the Hilton Head area real estate market.

I think consumers watch way too much HGTV.   TV is NOT reality and a good agent will explain to you the laws in your state and practices in your market.  Real estate is truly local. For example, in the Hilton Head area market, we have a different purchase contract than the rest of the state.  In Section 8.  It clearly states:

“8. CONDITION OF PROPERTY. At Closing, all appliances and systems referenced in Section 4, including heating, air conditioning, electric and plumbing systems, fireplace/chimney, irrigation, pool and spa, shall be in good working order, and their physical condition shall be subject to reasonable wear and tear regardless of age. Further, the structure shall be reasonably sound and the roof free of leaks at Closing.”

This is very important to note to sellers who have a property that is a little older or perhaps has some maintenance issues to address.

Also of note is that this area of the contract also does address what buyers expectations should be:

“Other than the Property condition requirements set forth in this Section, the Property shall be conveyed in its present condition “As Is”. “As is” means the Property shall be conveyed in the condition existing on the Effective Date, subject to the terms of this Contract. The Property is a resale property. It is not new construction. Normal wear and tear is to be expected. For example, fogged windows, appliance rust, overgrown or dead landscaping, tile or countertop cracks, missing or torn screens, and uneven walkways or driveways are considered normal wear and tear and are not subject to repair unless otherwise required by this Contract. Seller shall not be obligated to make the Property comply with current building codes if the Property was constructed in compliance with the then applicable building codes. The Property shall be habitable, and Seller must repair deficiencies which render the Property uninhabitable as determined by licensed professionals.”

This is certainly a lot different than what you see on TV, right?     In a hot selling market sellers still need to make sure things are in working order.  And even in a hot buying market, buyers can’t expect a home to be perfect.   I like this clear definition in our contracts, but not enough agents take the time to clearly explain it to their clients.

Also of note, is that Sellers can not expect an “as is” clause to relieve them of the responsibility to disclose any material fact affecting the habitability of the home.  They still MUST be honest and truthful when filling out the mandatory Property Disclosure.  This even applies to every FSBO (for sale by owner) sale.   It also does not remove the buyers right to inspect the property.

Furthermore, we as agents need to explain how lending affects the sale of the property.   Especially in the case of FHA/VA loans, the government wants to ensure that property is habitable and in good working order.  They won’t grant the loan otherwise.  For example, if the roof is more than 20 years old (sometimes as little as 15 years!) they won’t grant a loan unless it is replaced.  This can be done in two ways, with the seller doing it during the inspection repair period, or WITH APPROVAL, an escrow for the roof (or repairs) to be done by after closing.   The funds are often requested from the sellers proceeds.

In fact these days, I’m often seeing this same request from conventional lenders as well.   A bank doesn’t want to grant a loan on a property that could potentially be damaged by negligent maintenance.   Understandable right?

Well a lot of sellers still think that they can mark their home in the MLS for sale that they will accept financing (FHA,VA, & Conventional) but then sell it “as is.”   Yeah, no.    Especially, if your definition of “as is” is to do nothing.

And agents, if you are marking your homes in the MLS that you are accepting financing and you know that your seller won’t fulfill such requirements, you are MISREPRESENTING!   Such listings should be marked Cash Only.  Sellers should be warned that this practice can severely limit their pool of buyers and can actually cost them more money as the home lingers on the market, than simply repairing items to make the home “habitable’ and in “good working order.” It also will definitely affect the amount buyers will be willing to offer, as well as appraisals.

Agents, you may also want to consult with an attorney about using an entirely different contract than the standard one in our Hilton Head area market if your seller insists on a bare bones “as is” sale, because the transaction won’t match the language in ours.

If any of you, even my fellow agents, have any  questions about this, I’m happy to help.  I’m not posting this as sour grapes, I am truly posting to help everyone get the deal done.  I love my job and I love helping people sell and buy homes, but we all have to understand the process to accomplish that.

Best Wishes !