New homes a big Myrtle Beach area draw for out-of-market buyers

sjones@thesunnews.comMay 8, 2014 

An Internet real estate listing can hook potential clients for Grand Strand Realtors, but you need to reel him or her in by hand.

A deal normally won’t be sealed, Realtor Anna Marie Brock said at a Thursday morning real estate roundtable, “until you meet them and shake their hand and say this is you, this is me and we can work things out.”

Brock, of Weichert Realtors Southern Coast, was among a dozen real estate professionals at the roundtable sponsored by HomeBridge Financial Services. The focus of the 11/2-hour discussion was marketing to areas outside the region, and topics ranged from the importance of in-person contact to the benefit of vigorous new home construction.

“They don’t want to fix it up,” Janice Ash Sialiano of Coldwell Banker Chicora Real Estate said of many buyers along the Grand Strand.

Martha Thill of Century 21 Boling agreed, and said buyers figure “I’m starting over in a new place, I want new.”

New homes have a further edge, said Paige Bird of Re/Max Ocean Forest, because they offer buyers the latest trends and gadgets that some want in their new abode.

The group said many of the out-of-market buyers come from the Northeast, and head South because they’ve had enough of bitter cold winters, zeroing in on the Grand Strand because real estate is affordable, they’ve enjoyed a vacation here and it’s within a day’s drive of their homes.

Buyers who look for a retirement, relocation or second home along the Grand Strand might also look in Hilton Head Island or the Outer Banks of North Carolina before buying, the Realtors said.

Besides the value of new home availability, the Realtors also said they find open houses to be very productive, and they are hoping that an open house app being developed by the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors will help boost attendance.

Internet real estate listings and open houses allow buyers to see homes that interest them without going through a Realtor, said Greg Harrelson of Century 21 The Harrelson Group.

But surfing the net also gives buyers the feeling that they know everything when they hit the Grand Strand and contact a Realtor. But in fact, they’re only seeing one part of the picture, said Mandy Becker, owner broker of Re/Max Southern Shores. The Internet can give them a first look at homes for sale, but not the feeling of the area.

Many don’t realize the diversity of the area’s neighborhoods and need to see them to decide where they want to live.

“[Educating buyers about the area] is becoming the job,” Harrelson said. “How do we add value to a property besides opening a door?”

While new homes are important for many buyers, the panel also said that polishing up an existing home can be critical for sellers.

“If they want to maximize what they get out of it, that’s the way to do it,” said Brendon Payne of The Harrelson Group.

But never underestimate the power of new homes.

A new home can accelerate the decision of a buyer who may not have been planning his or her purchase for some time.

“It will draw people to move quicker,” Bird said.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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