March 27, 2019

Hardwood Floors in the Kitchen?

Kitchens are notoriously tough on flooring. Spilled drinks, dropped dishes, broken glass, food messes, leaks, drips, and more can quickly take a toll on your floors. For many years, tile has been the traditional "go-to" kitchen flooring but many homeowners are swapping out tile for wood...either for coherence with the rest of the decor, or because they want the warmth and beauty of wood.  If you're thinking about making the switch, here are a few things to consider:

When to consider wood floors...and when not to.

When it comes to choosing wood flooring over tried-and-true tile, consider three things: your space, your lifestyle and your budget.

If your home has an open floorplan, wood floors offer a more spacious, coherent feel. If your kitchen is closed off, however, wood flooring may enhance the chopped up feeling of your rooms or be more trouble than they're worth.

 

If you cook a lot or have pets or children, you might want to avoid wood floors which scratch easily and don't tend to fare as well in places with high moisture. Keep in mind if you have problems with leaky appliances, you should get them fixed before installing wood floors because water will also damage them. In addition, if you're on a budget, high-quality hardwood might be too expensive for your kitchen renovation. 

Laminate

However, if you're dead set on the look of wood floors in the kitchen but can't afford or justify natural wood, laminate flooring is an option. Laminate is an imitation of natural wood or stone flooring. It's more affordable, but unless you find a high-quality laminate, it doesn't quite look like the real thing. There's also the issue of moisture to contend with. Laminate is easily damaged by water, causing peeling and discolouration. You can avoid these issues by installing sheet vinyl or luxury vinyl plank (LVP), which is 100% waterproof.

While laminate has come a long way in terms of quality and lifespan, it generally doesn't last as long as hardwood floors, sometimes companies offer warranties of up to 25 years. That being said, once you damage laminate, you're stuck with the damage until you replace it. Thankfully, removing a section of laminate and replacing it is fairly simple, but if a catastrophic spill occurs—for example, your dishwasher floods—you may be in for a bigger job than you bargained for.

 

Keep in mind laminate typically won't add to your home's resale value in the same way wood, stone or tile will.

Solid vs. engineered hardwood

If you have the budget and the lifestyle to put in wood floors, you have two types available to you: solid hardwood and engineered wood.

Solid hardwood floors can be easily scratched and damaged. It's the most expensive flooring option but will also generally add the most to your home's resale value and, if cared for properly, last forever. If you decide to go with solid hardwood, choose a wood which ranks high on the hardness scale. You want to avoid softwood in the kitchen altogether, as softwood is prone to staining and damage and won't do well in a high-impact room.


Engineered hardwood is a great middle-ground alternative to laminate and solid wood, both in price and in quality. It has a very thin layer of wood veneer on the top followed by a few layers of plywood, so it's durable while still giving you the solid hardwood look you crave. This flooring won't last quite as long as properly cared for solid wood, but it's still very durable and the closest you can get to hardwood floors if solid wood doesn't fit your budget.

Both solid and engineered wood flooring can come in scraped or wire brushed finishes—smart options because the texture can help hide imperfections.

 

And while hardwood floors in living areas may be finished with traditional penetrating oils, kitchen floors will need a surface finish, such as polyurethane, to seal the wood surface and prevent water penetration.

A note about installation


 

Installing hardwood in the kitchen can be tricky; it needs to integrate well with cabinetry and the fewer gaps, the better off you'll be in terms of preventing water damage. Unless you're a pro, installing hardwood in the kitchen is not a DIY job. Also keep in mind prefinished hardwood, while the most durable, often have rounded, beveled edges, which might mean more gaps during the installation process. A good contractor can try to avoid these issues to give you a seamless floor.

Caring for your kitchen floors


If you opt for hardwood or engineered hardwood over tile floors, they'll generally require a bit more care and maintenance. Leaks and spills will need to be cleaned up right away. As a general rule, mop wood floors occasionally and do so with a slightly damp mop or towel. Never allow water to stand too long on your floors and be sure to sweep your floors regularly to keep the finish intact. Adding pads under chair and table legs will help protect floors from scratches.

Make sure you check your hardwood warranty before you install—some contracts are void for kitchen spaces or other areas where water could be a hazard, like laundry rooms.

 

No matter what flooring you choose, it should align with your home. Consider your taste, lifestyle, and budget, and it won't be long before you're entertaining your friends and family in your Insta-worthy kitchen.

March 12, 2019

Happy Birthday, Myrtle Beach!

Myrtle Beach celebrates its 81st birthday today! You may be surprised to know that it wasn't always the hot toursidt destination that it is today. In fact, 100 years ago, it was mostly pine forest.

Read more about the surprising history of Myrtle Beach here: https://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article227449259.html

 

 

 

 

Feb. 26, 2019

Lower Tax Rates for North Myrtle Beach Homeowners

Something you just don't hear every day, "Your taxes are going down." But for North Myrtle Beach homeowners, that's exactly what is scheduled to happen.

North Myrtle Beach is expected to drop the millage rate from 43.3 mils to 36 mils giving North Myrtle Beach homeowners a lower tax bill in 2020. The official vote will take place this summer. The millage rate had been raised to help pay for the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex. The city is almost finished paying back the eight-year, $15,000,000 bond which means the tax rate is due to drop. 

According to city manager Mike Mahaney, the 36 millage rate is likely the lowest tax rate in the state for a full-service city. 

Sounds like a great time to buy North Myrtle Beach real estate!

Feb. 5, 2019

Is Minimalism Out and Maximalism In?

A new year always has people considering new ideas and home design is no different. Is this the year we see a major swing from the minimalist design aesthetic to maximalist? Some designers and trendsetters think so! Watch for these styles to make their appearance in 2019!

Maximalism

As a possible reaction to recent minimalistic trends, watch for things to get busy. With style pendulums constantly in motion, this kitschy homage to your own personality is already on the upswing and poised to charmingly clutter many a home in the New Year. We're talking styles with maximalist touches, such as Bohemian and Shabby Chic. In fact, any design style placing a premium on personal expression is likely to see gains in popularity as more people than ever gain confidence in their own sense of design.

 

Industrial and Rustic Combined

Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash

Live edge lumber and threaded pipe from your local hardware or big-box home improvement stores are on the upswing for 2019.  Industrial feeling with a hint of rustic practicality have shown up in light fixtures, table legs, and design accents, and will continue in even more ways. Live edge lumber continues to grow into maturity but look beyond the cliche coffee table and watch for new and exciting uses for this rough-hewn texture.

 

Florals

Wallpaper, fabric, art and accents, floral patterns will re-emerge as a design accent. Bold abstract florals will show up in fabrics, bedding, and more. Chintz plays right into the Maximalist playbook so it's likely supply will meet the demand. This may prove to be the hardest transition for minimalists!

 

Coral Life

Moving on from purple, Pantone has revealed the official color of 2019: Living Coral. Described as "an animated, life-affirming shade of orange, with golden undertones," the bold hue is said to "embrace us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy." Who wouldn't want a piece of that? Expect to see pops of this vibrant shade everywhere from velvet accent pillows to sofas and even painted accent walls or bathrooms.

 

Bolder Backsplashes

Photo Cle Tile 

Monochromatic kitchens have been a strong trend for some time now, so look for a change asserting itself with a bold color or pattern along these limited stretches of space. It's the perfect way to transition your existing kitchen into the future.

 

Sustainable Textures

Textural accents will make gains in the coming year. Judicious use of rice paper, clay, weaves and natural materials like bamboo and wicker will make their appearance in force.

 

Mixed Metals

Combinations of metal blends will be a hot visual cue of the new design year. Contrast is always a strong statement, so you'll likely see shiny silver with hammered bronze or aged iron with gold. And all the metallics need not be forged...shimmering fabrics can lend metallics without the weight.

 

Jan. 25, 2019

5 Compelling...and Possibly Irreverent...Reasons to List Your Home in the Winter.

Of course, spring and summer are excellent times to put your house on the market; warm weather definitely puts potential home buyers in the mood to window shop.

That said, there are also some real advantages with listing in the winter...especially here in the Myrtle Beach real estate market. The kids are back in school, there are fewer visitors, and there's typically less competition to contend with – among other benefits.

1. The Internet runs all year long.

cartoon characters Spongebob and Patrick walking over to a computer with the caption "we have technology......"
Via Giphy

The web has changed the way we shop for homes...with over 90% of buyers starting their home search online. At no time does this offer more convenience than during the colder months when people can research and view properties simply with the click of a button.    Potential buyers don't need to wait for good weather to home shop.

2. Lawncare & Curb appeal is easy peasy.

a man in a park throwing up Fall leaves
Via Giphy

During warmer months, buyers are looking for flowers, manicured lawns, and impeccable landscaping, which can cost a lot of time and money. In the winter, expectations are significantly lowered! Plants are dormant and all you really need to do is keep it raked and neat. Put a wreath on the door and call it done. 

3. There's usually less competition

a man jumping off a structure that is suspended over a body of water
Via Giphy

Believe it or not, not everybody reads our blog and therefore they aren't privy to all of this brilliant advice. Many are still under the assumption that they need to wait for Spring to list their home which means there will be fewer new listings on the market. You'll have a great opportunity to get your home in front of serious buyers. Which leads to...

4. Winter buyers are serious.

a woman running in a clothing store
Via Giphy

Not gonna lie, when you live at the beach, summertime can bring alot of lookers that may not actually be interested in purchasing a home. In the winter, that changes. First, serious buyers who didn't find what they were looking for in the crowded summer market usually have a clearer idea of what they want now. And buyers who are looking in the winter are usually not just killing time while on vacation.

5. You live at the beach. You're going to want to enjoy it.

via GIPHY

Nobody who lives at the beach wants to spend the best months of the year stressing over a move. If you put your home on the market in the fall or winter, chances are good you'll be settled into your new home by the time spring arrives, so you can enjoy a hassle-free summer.

 

 

Jan. 11, 2019

South Carolina Restaurant Week in Myrtle Beach

January 10 - 20, 2019 is South Carolina Restaurant Week in Myrtle Beach. 

"Restaurant Week South Carolina gives local, regional and national food lovers the opportunity to enjoy amazing values during Lunch and/or dinner at a number of participating casual and high-end South Carolina restaurants. Restaurant Week’s goal is to position South Carolina as one of the top culinary destinations in the nation by increasing awareness of the many dining opportunities available in the state, as well as stimulating business and revenue for restaurants throughout South Carolina."

Restaurant week is a great way to sample a diverse menu, from casual to elegant restaurants along the Grand Strand.

Here's a list of participating restaurants and their special menu offerings during Restaurant Week South Carolina:

You can visit the Restaurant Week South Carolina website for more information.

 

 

 

 

Dec. 19, 2018

Are You a Snowbird Heading South for the Winter?

If you're a snowbird, we don't blame you one bit for wanting to spend the winter on our sunny shores! Plenty of Myrtle Beach homeowners have a primary home somewhere else. Just make sure to prepare your home before flying the coop so you don't return to any awful surprises. Homeowners in Canada and in the Northeast, Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions risk expensive problems that can be prevented by taking basic actions before leaving.

1. Don't let your pipes freeze!

If you live where the mercury drops below freezing, it's important to keep your pipes from freezing when the temperatures dip. No matter what kind of community you live in, make sure the pipes in your home or building are properly insulated. If you're not sure, ask! Water damage from a burst pipe can lead to serious mold problems and be very expensive to repair. If you don't understand what you need to do, call a plumber and ask for advice or an evaluation. 

Double your protection by turning off the main water valve, then run each faucet to make sure the pipes are free from any water. Another tip – keep at least some heat on when you're away. While it's tempting to save on heating bills by shutting it off completely, a little bit of warmth can go a long way especially if no one is checking on your home to discover an issue early. One last tip to protect your pipes: Open cabinet doors to allow heat to more easily reach pipes inside the walls.

Make sure your house looks occupied and is secure.

Overflowing mailboxes, a stack of newspapers or packages piling up at your front door and lights that are always on or always off are dead giveaways that no one has been home for a while. Place a temporary hold on all mail and newspaper deliveries or recruit a trusted friend or neighbor to stop by every few days to retrieve your stuff and make sure everything looks okay. Let your alarm company and local police and fire departments know you’re away for an extended time. Change all your smoke detector batteries and check that your alarm system works properly before you leave, too.

Take advantage of smart home technology to play music and put lights on timers or even turn them on and off from 2,000 miles away. Random patterns of lights and sound make it seem like people are coming and going. You can make that happen through smart light switches or even Wi-Fi light bulbs! Smart home tech can allow you to see anyone who rings your doorbell, and smart security systems and keypad-controlled locks make it more difficult for people to break in. You can even control your thermostat from a distance with smart home tech, too. If you know a storm or deep freeze is coming, turn it up a few degrees to keep pipes warm. (And then turn it to your comfort level a couple of hours before you get home!)

Consider unplugging major appliances.

Some severe storms can cause power surges, which can damage your appliances, or worse, start a fire. To be on the safe side, unplug computers, TVs, coffee makers and all other major appliances. Consider emptying your fridge and freezer – leave fridge doors open so it will air out. Definitely empty your ice maker and turn it off! An extended power outage will turn it into a watery mess.

The smart tech we mentioned above does require that your internet and Wi-Fi stay on. Make sure there's a battery backup attached to those so that the system won't be disrupted in a short-term power outage. If a close friend or family member has a key (or smart door code), ask them to reboot the system and its components if there's an extended power outage.

Unplugging appliances protects them and lowers your energy bill, too. Even when they aren't in active use, appliances use small amounts of electricity. So go green, save money and protect your investment by unplugging what you can.

Plan for snow removal.

Depending on where you live, snow removal needs can be hard to plan for. Although we can pretty reliably count on heavy snowfalls in the Midwest and Canada, there are places in the mid-Atlantic region that may have a white Halloween one year and no snow until January the next. But planning for prompt snow removal when needed is important for a few reasons.

First of all, snow piling up on the driveway and walk makes it clear no one is home, and that's the last thing you want to do. Beyond that, cycles of freezing and thawing without any maintenance can cause layers of ice to build under the snow, and that will be harder to remove later. Those same cycles can also cause damage to sidewalks and driveways.

There's usually a simple solution. Either find a reliable neighbor or neighborhood kid you can pay to remove snow after each storm or pay a snow removal company to do the job. Try to find one that will only bill you for work that is done rather than a monthly fee even if the grass stays green until Christmas. If possible, ask them to check your gutters for ice blockage, too. 

Being able to escape the cold and snow for sunshine and sand is a gift...and we're happy to have you here! Take the time to make sure that the home you return to is the same one you left.

 

 

Dec. 13, 2018

How to Handle All Those Falling Leaves

The weather is cooling and it's that magical time of the year. No, not that magical time. We're talking about the time of year when the leaves of thousands of trees change color and fall to the ground covering lawns, footpaths, gutters, and driveways all along the Grand Strand. Myrtle Beach is well-known for its beautiful beaches, but we also have a ton of gorgeous oak ( and other) trees which means unless you're living in an oceanfront condo, there is some leaf maintenance to be addressed every year.

Some people deal with the leaves by scooping them up to use on their gardens; others cart them away or rake them into the street or gutter for the city handle.


Let's take a look at some of the do's and don’ts of handling your fallen leaves this winter/fall.


Check Your Local Laws - All counties and cities differ when it comes to disposing of your leaves. It is very important to become familiar with your local regulations, which will save you both time and any potential aggravations. Also, this may allow you to manipulate the current policies to your advantage.

 

PLEASE Do Not Burn Your Leaves - Not only is this illegal in most states, but it can also be very harmful to the environment. It will also be damaging to your health if the smoke is ingested.

 

PLEASE Do Not Put Leaves in the Street - This is a common practice for homeowners to avoid damaging their tree lawn. However, the leaves inevitably end up in road drains, which end up in waterways and restricts the sunlight that produces the oxygen that aquatic life needs to survive.

 

You may be able to avoid raking - If you have some problematic patches of grass on your lawn, it may be more beneficial to “leave” it covered with leaves. Decomposing leaves act as a great nutrient that will bring that unsightly spot back to life which brings us to our next point.

It's Free Mulch! - Not only will it help your grass grow but also can be used to help flowerbeds. Around 70% of leaf plants extract, which makes it an affordable and effective resource to aid your garden.

 

Compost Pile - Your leaves can be added to your compost pile or can be a great kick-off point to start to one. Composts one of the best solutions to help combat waste and can be used to help make your landscaping FLOURISH come spring.

 

Keep Off Hard Surfaces - Leaves incredible decomposing properties can be a problem if in the wrong place. The sap, pollen, and acid from leaves can stain and damage the paint finish on your car, especially if the leaves are wet.

 

Dec. 6, 2018

Where to Find the Perfect Christmas Tree on the Grand Strand

It's the most wonderful time of the year! If you haven't yet decked your halls, and are looking for a special place to find the perfect Christmas tree, check out our list of the top spots around the Grand Strand.

 

Booths Christmas Tree Farm

5268 Adrian Highway, Conway, SC 29526

A variety of cut your own trees (saw provided), pre-cut fraser firs, wreaths, garland and more. Hayrides and other activities on the weekends.

 

Cabana Christmas Trees

10615 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, SC 29585

A good variety of trees, fresh wreaths, and garlands.

 

Snowy Branch Farms 

512 Carson Avenue, Murrells Inlet

Frasier firs from NC, wreaths, and other decor. Free coffee and hot chocolate.

Free delivery available.

 

Goodman's Tree Farm

Inlet Square Mall, Murrells Inlet

Fraser fir and white pine Christmas trees.

 

Marlowe's Christmas Tree Lot

4801 South Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach

Fraser firs that are cut and delivered weekly from North Carolina.

Nov. 27, 2018

7 Simple Steps to Get Your Home Ready For Holiday Guests

Hosting friends or family for the Holidays can cause a little anxiety during an already potentially stressful time. You want your home to be welcoming and you want your guests to feel comfortable...but you also want time to relax yourself!

These 7 tips will help you focus on what's necessary to get your home ready:

#1 Declutter

The day before guests arrive is not the time to try to organize junk drawers and clean out linen closets.

Declutter your guest rooms and main areas of your home — foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room. Remove unnecessary items from countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; if it's out of sight, keep it out of mind, for now.

If you run short of time, bag up the clutter and store it in car trunks, basements, and out-of-the-way closets. Don't get caught up in sorting through everything now...sort and arrange after your guests leave.

#2 Add Night Lights

Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can't. Make sure outside lights are working so they don't trip on the way to your door. Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage after the sun sets.

#3 Make Space in the Entryway

Your home's foyer is the first place guests see, so make a good first impression.

Place a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors from mud and snow. 

Clear out shoes, umbrellas, and other clutter.

Free up room in your coat closet, or add extra hooks to walls or a coat tree so guests can hang coats and hats.

Add a bench where guests can remove boots and shoes.

#4 Add a Coffee Station and Extra Stools

Your kitchen is command central during the holidays, so make sure it's clean and ready for guests and extra helpers.

If possible, move your coffee station into the dining room or a family room so guests don't crowd the kitchen when you're trying to fix meals.

If you like to visit while you're cooking, place extra stools and chairs around the perimeter of your kitchen so guests can set a spell.

#5 Create Extra Sleeping Space

If you've got a guest room, make sure guests have a fan...either a ceiling fan or a standalone so they can customize their room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat for the entire house. 

To carve sleeping space out of public areas, buy a folding screen or rolling bookcase, which will provide privacy for sleepers. Fold or roll it away in the morning.

#6 Make Extra Bathroom Supplies Easy to Find

Bring toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves so guests can find them easily.

If you don't have enough wall space for shelves, place these items in open baskets around the bathroom.

Also, outfit each toilet with a plunger (to avoid embarrassment).

#7 Have Extra Wrapping Supplies on Hand

There's always a last minute gift that pops up and guests usually don't travel with wrapping paper. Have a few supplies on hand so your guests can easily access and use it if needed!

If you're in the market for a new home for the holidays, take a look at our BRG Featured Listings! We've definitely got something for everyone!

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