Buyer, seller

What is an Appraisal?

What is the home appraisal? When when you need to get a home appraisal? What exactly is the home appraisal based on? How long an appraisal stick with a property? When a licensed home appraiser comes out to your property to do a thorough inspection of the property, they’re going to be looking at all the details of a property and see how they compare to the market and from there determine a true fair market value for the property.

Once you get your report, make sure to look over it, it’s very, very detailed, they’re going to give you a fair market price for the home and this may not be the list price or the contract price, this is a third party objective opinion from the licensed appraiser. An appraisal report is also going to show the conditions of the property. For example, if you’re getting an FHA or a VA loan, there are other conditional things about the property that that appraiser is trained to look for, they’ll do that on the report as well.

It’s important to know if you’re a seller that has an FHA or VA buyer, where the appraisal came in low and you weren’t able to come to terms and had to part ways that the VA and FHA appraisal actually does stay with the property for a certain amount of time. Therefore, if you go under contract right away with another FHA or VA buyer there’s a chance that that appraiser is going to pull the old report and it could under appraise again, just for your reference an FHA appraiser will stick with the property for 120 days, a VA appraisal will stick with the property for six months.


Pros and Cons of an HOA

Did you know there are over 350,000 HOAs in the USA?!!

Are YOU a part of one? I’ve got my own feelings on HOAs…it’s not all bad!

Check out my pros and cons list in this video!

Let’s go ahead and talk about a few of the pros and cons you should consider about HOAs. Let’s start with the pros. Pro #1 is that your neighborhood will probably look better because of an HOA. An HOA’s primary function is to keep a community to a particular standard to help protect property values. And because of this, they’ll create and enforce rules about things like lawn standards, paint colors, and other property maintenance and upgrade decisions you may make. The result is usually a clean and uniform look to your neighborhood.

Another pro is the amenities that may come along with your HOA. Amenities like pools, trails, and other shared spaces can be included in your agreement. These are exclusive to your HOA and are not available to any member of the general public. Along with those shared amenities may also be shared maintenance costs. Not only will those shared spaces be maintained by the HOA, but some or all of the lawn care may be as well. In a lot of people’s eyes, this is one of the main benefits of being a part of an HOA. As you can imagine, not having to worry about maintaining beautiful landscaping can be a huge relief for a homeowner.

Okay, but now let’s talk about some of the cons – the biggest con being the dues. The money to take care of all of those beautiful spaces and amenities has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is your pocket. By entering into an HOA agreement, you’ll be legally responsible for yearly dues that keep the HOA running. The amount of those dues will depend on the amenities and general scope of your HOA. Another con is the lack of freedom that comes along with an HOA. You are certainly not free to do whatever you’d like ON or TO your property, and that can rub some people the wrong way.

And finally, the last con is the potential politics that can come into play. If you happen to cross a particular neighbor or HOA board member the wrong way, that person might have the ability to make your life really difficult. By calling out or enforcing obscure rules, pettiness can be a tool for revenge, and the HOA becomes the vehicle. Any vengeful neighbor or board member could potentially cite you for these “infractions” if they’ve got beef.

However, having said all that, the majority of people who belong to an HOA consider it a positive experience, and over 90% of people have a good relationship with the HOA board members. As with most things, the devil is in the details, so make sure you read the fine print several times so you know exactly what is expected of you.

Got any HOA stories of your own? I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments!

Do you want more information on what an HOA is? Watch my video “What Is An HOA?

If you’d like to see homes that do NOT have an HOA, click here:

This video is loaded with home buyer tips, don’t miss out!


This home buying resource is loaded with home buyer tips and tricks to help make you a savvy buyer, and to help YOU make the most of your due diligence period / Inspection period.


What Is An HOA?

As your Columbia and Midlands, South Carolina REALTOR® I can’t tell you how many questions I get about HOAs! ………SOOO MANY!   Homeowners associations are extremely common here in South Carolina and it is important that you understand what they do, why they do it, and how it impacts YOU!  If you have specific questions about HOAs that we don’t cover in this blog post you can email me at and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

At the end of this post I’ll also give you exclusive access to my guide:

Making a Change to Your House or Yard? 5 MUST KNOW TIPS for working with your HOA to Win Their Approval (and Their Trust).

So, make sure you stick around until the end.

What is an HOA?

HOA is short for Homeowners Association.  HOAs are typically incorporated non-profit associations of homeowners that create and enforce Bylaws and what are often referred to as CCRs.  CCR stands for Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.  All of these items are put together in one, big, long document, that basically acts as the HOA’s bible.  It dictates what the homeowners can and cannot do with their property, what the HOA is responsible for, and a ton of other information that impacts the homeowners.  I won’t go into too much detail on this because the CCR’s are different for every community.

If you’re ever having trouble sleeping at night, crack open your CCRs.  Just kidding, they actually contain extremely important information that we encourage all homeowners to read and understand before buying in to a community.

Because an HOA is a non-profit, it has members rather than shareholders.  The members of the HOA are the homeowners in the area governed by the HOA.  This means that if you live in an HOA governed community you are a member of the HOA.

The members of the HOA typically elect a Board of Directors.  This is made up of members of the HOA who volunteer their time to assisting with the enforcement of the CCRs and deal with any other issues that may arise.  For example, many of our local associations oversee several hundred homes and has a volunteer board of directors made up of around 5 volunteers.  Notice that I said volunteers, that means that these people have the thankless job of dealing with member complaints, so keep that in mind if you ever need to communicate with your HOA Board.  What’s that saying?  …You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Yeah, keep that in mind when dealing with your HOA board!

Why do we have HOAs?

Now that you know that the CCRs aren’t exactly going to make it into Oprah’s Book Club, you might be wondering, ‘why do we have all these covenants, conditions, and restrictions in place, why don’t we just live and let live?’.  If you don’t like the idea of an HOA there are definitely options for you in South Carolina!  But, if you’re like me, and a lot of other folks, you like the idea of having an HOA.  The HOA helps to ensure the orderly and harmonious enjoyment of the community.  It also helps to protect against depreciation of home values resulting from deterioration of the community.   For example, the HOA where I live will send you a notice when they see something that needs some attention on your home.  It may be that the grass it too high or that your house needs to be pressure washed.  it’s time to repaint, you’ll usually need to contact your HOA to have them approve your color choice, it’s not a big restriction, but it’s a huge benefit because you don’t have to worry that the neighbor is going to paint their house lime green, or that everyone lets their home’s appearance deteriorate to the point of hurting property values in the neighborhood, that’s just one example. All of these things help to ensure that the community maintains a uniform appearance, and protects property values in a community.  If given a choice, I think we’d all choose to live in a place where it looks like everyone cares about the appearance of the community, and HOAs help us do just that!

How do HOAs impact you?

Well, it’s easy!  If you buy into a community that has an HOA, you become a member of that HOA and you will need to understand and abide by the CCRs.  For example, if the CCRs specify that you can only have 1 pet, and you have 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 6 hamsters, it might not be the perfect community for you! Or if you absolutely have a twenty by thirty workshop, but the CCRs dictate that sheds are only permitted up to 10 by 10 in size, you might need to keep looking! It is ALWAYS a good idea to read the CCRs BEFORE buying in to an area or during your due diligence period once you’ve put in an offer on a house.  I get that it’s not fun reading but it is totally worth it so that you don’t have any issues down the road.

So, there you have it!  I hope this post about HOAs was helpful and that you can look at new neighborhoods and communities with confidence!

Also, if you haven’t got your fill of HOA information yet, Click here to download my guide: “Making a Change to Your House or Yard? 5 MUST KNOW TIPS for working with your HOA to Win Their Approval (and Their Trust)”.

Are you looking for a home without an HOA? Start you search here.

Buyer, seller

437 Angel Grove Lane | Columbia SC

437 Angel Grove Lane offers a two story town home with two  bedrooms, two and a half baths and over 1400 square feet of affordable luxury interior living space.

This home is located in the sought-after Harbison Grove Community.  This community is known for its gated entry, sleek contemporary design and overall great location just down the street from Costco.  Residents of the Harbison area are surrounded by an abundance of dining, shopping, and entertainment venues.  Head in one direction and you have a variety of shops, restaurants, and Columbiana Mall.  Head in the other direction and you have Harbison State Forest to explore our natural beauty where you can walk, bike or run. 

This well-maintained two-story townhome continues the contemporary theme inside.  The townhome is filled with natural light and offers an open concept floor plan.  It boasts granite countertops and designer cabinetry that sets the modern tone. The oversized center island provides extra space for prep and the breakfast bar adds casual dining to the mix. Finishing up the first floor, you will appreciate the smart details of a rear patio with a storage closet, a large laundry room, a half bath and a closet by the front entry. 

Upstairs you’ll find not one but two Primary bedrooms.  Each bedroom features a large living space for plenty of design ideas, a walk-in closet, and a private bathroom ensuite with a tub shower combo and linen closet.  Both Primary bedrooms also have Luxury Vinyl Tile floors for easy maintenance and comfort. 

Buyer, seller

Chapin South Carolina | Night Harbor Subdivision

Today I welcome you home to Chapin South Carolina and the neighborhood of Night Harbor. Night Harbor offers residents access to Lake Murray and some homes being lake front. There are about two hundred homes in Night Harbor and range in price from $245,000 to $570,000 in the first six months of 2021 and the homes offer square footage of 2,200 to 3,700 square feet. Luxury abounds in Night Harbor where you will find luxurious master suites, large walk-in closets, spacious open floor plans and oversized garages. Night Harbor residents have access to a marina, boat ramp, tennis courts and a club house that sits on the shores of Lake Murray.

Back in 2006, several residents expressed an interest in getting together at the Community Clubhouse from time to time informally just to talk and mingle among the neighbors.  So, fourth Friday was born and it is still going strong!  All residents of Night Harbor are invited to join the group at the clubhouse on every fourth Friday of the month.  It is held inside the Clubhouse or outside where you can enjoy their beautiful patio area with tables and umbrellas depending on the weather.  It is a great time to chat with your neighbors, nibble and sip, listen to music, and just plain relax.  Night Harbor also offers yoga, bunco groups and a book club.

Night Harbor is located in friendly Chapin, South Carolina which offers a small town feel in the heart of a town filled with convenience. Night Harbor offers Lake Access to Lake Murray so it’s super convenient to enjoy water sports and fishing. Nearby Crooked Creek and Melvin Park offer family recreation and sports, and the Harbison area is close by which has many choices for shopping and dining, while Interstate 26 provides easy access to downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Students residing in Night Harbor attend the award winning Lexington-Richland Five schools with the brand new Piney Woods Elementary opening in the fall of 2021, Chapin Middle School and Chapin High School.

If you are interested in a home in Night Harbor or any other properties around Chapin, give me a call for a personalized tour. 

Buyer, Mortgage, seller

Appraised Too Low!! Now What??

Last week I posted all about what a home appraisal is, when is it needed and what it exactly is it based upon. I also went over how to maximize your home appraised value by following the seven tips I provided. This week we’re talking about, what do you if even after following the seven tips your home appraisal still comes in too low… What are the options for you both as a buyer and a seller in that situation, are there any? Of course there are, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.

Now as a buyer, you’re getting financing on the property, your lender or your bank is going to require you get a home appraisal. You see, the appraised value is the amount they’re going to be willing to loan to you. They’re not willing to loan you more money than what the home is actually worth in fair market value. If they were to do that, well then, that would be a bad investment on their part. So they want to make sure, aside from your feelings, the sellers feelings, and the listing and buyer’s agents feeling that you are paying a fair price for the home. That’s why a third party a licensed appraiser is going to be coming to the property and evaluating the property attributes and the market conditions.

So what are your options when it comes in too low? Do you have any? Does this mean the whole deal is dead? Well not exactly. I’m going to use round numbers as we talk through these options just to make it easy for you. Let’s say the home is purchase price is $250,000, and the appraisal came in at $240,000, $10,000 below the purchase price.

Option #1: Make Up The Difference In The Price.

So, for example, if you’re getting financing on the property, the lender is going to base the loan on the $240,000 purchase price. So, if you would like to make up the extra $10,000, in cash out of your own pocket. You are free to do so as the buyer and that certainly is something that the sellers are always going to be looking for because they always want the price that they negotiated from the beginning. So the first option is going to be to make up the difference in price out of cash from your pocket

Option #2: Renegotiate With the Seller

Now is your chance as the buyer or at least the buyers representation is to go back to the seller and say, “Look, unfortunately, even though we came to the agreement of $250,000, a licensed appraiser third party objective opinion on the fair market price for the property is $240 thousand. Would you be willing to take 240k?” It’s actually in the seller’s best interest to try to work something out with you as the buyer, because the appraisal is still going to be there if they went under contract with somebody else. So it’s a good idea to try to make this work, now.

Option #3: Walk away

If the seller really won’t budge on their price, and you’re not willing to make up the difference in cash because you don’t want to pay above appraised value for the property, which is understandable. Sometimes you can meet in the middle so maybe instead of $10,000 you guys split the difference of five thousand each. Of course, You have the option to walk away, assuming you’ve done everything else to the contract contingencies correctly and both parties sign the release, you get your deposit back you can part ways and you can go find another house.

Option #4 Challenge the Appraisal

Now the one thing I always get asked by by buyers is when the appraisal comes in low , why can’t we fight it? You absolutely have the opportunity to go back to the appraisal and challenge the current appraisal report. In the situation where you’re going to be challenging it, your agent is going to most likely work together the seller, and make sure that the appraiser has all the information about the property correct, like square footage, condition, any upgrades or updates they’ve made to the property that could affect the pricing. They’re also going to review all of the comparable properties that the appraiser used to pull together the report. And if there are one or two comparable homes on there that the agent, the seller, or the buyer or any party involved feels like is not the right comparable for the property and there is one that’s better, you can actually submit that as a challenge. Now I will caveat all this by saying getting an appraisal revised is very very difficult. There are not very many appraisers out there that are going to accept the challenge and revise an appraisal report, it has happened before, but it’s very often. So I just want everybody to understand that, the chances of getting the challenge accepted, and the appraisal report actually revised are very slim.