Seven Tips For Buying A Home On Hilton Head Island


Whether you’re looking for your first home, a second home, or retirement home, searching for a new house can be exciting ….and of course a bit overwhelming. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself when searching for property and the questions quickly start mounting: What’s my budget? What neighborhood should I buy in? How much space do I need? Should I go with a condo, townhome or single family house? Which real estate agency should I trust? Where do I begin?

Stop right there! The Sheri Nixon team is here to help! Take a deep, relaxing breath. Try not to let your racing mind stress you out. We have come up with the top 7 things you need to think about before starting the search for your dream home. Below are the key areas to focus on as you start looking for your new digs..

With the real estate market making normal corrections over the last few years, home prices are once again in-line with local values and consumer demand. In a nutshell, we are back to buying property at “fair-market” prices. In addition to the easing of financing guidelines and low mortgage rates, owning a vacation home is now “back on the table” to a wider range of prospective buyers. Factor in the explosion of vacation rental opportunities such as VRBO, Airbnb, and more, offsetting expenses of your vacation home is easier than ever.

1. Know Your Budget

Buying a house is one of the most serious purchases of your lifetime. You definitely want to start off on the right foot! To improve your Hilton Head home search, start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you a good idea of how much a bank is willing to lend you so that you know what you can afford. You will need to create both a monthly budget and estimate how much you will be able to put down at closing.

Doing proper budget preparation ahead of time can save you a lot of stress and headaches in the long run. When establishing your budget, be mindful of other debts you may have (such as credit card debt) as well as expenses such as car payments, home repairs, utilities, groceries, cable, entertainment, etc. As any homeowner can tell you, unexpected expenses always seem to pop up from time to time. That’s why it’s important not to stretch yourself too thin when it comes to your house payment.

Realtor ON Hilton Head

2. Remember To Factor In Closing Costs

Remember to keep closing costs in mind, which will vary, based on the price of the house, the size of the mortgage, tax and insurance requirements and a number of other factors. Closing costs range from lender applications and processing fees to legal fees and home inspection fees. Be sure to have your mortgage lender help you out to give you a really accurate idea of this number… no one likes surprises the week before closing!

3. Researching Neighborhoods Will Help Guide Your Search

When it comes to your home search, remember the three magic words: location, location, location. Be sure to research several neighborhoods to find the one that’s the best fit for you and your lifestyle. You would think picking a neighborhood on Hilton Head is easy, it’s anything but. Though our Island is on the smaller side, it has several distinct areas with various personalities. To help narrow down your options, consider commute times to work, school choices, and amenities that are most important to you. Do you want beach access from your neighborhood? Are you an avid golfer? Do you have school-age children? Are you interested in a vibrant retirement life? A quiet one? The Sheri Nixon team can help you understand the neighborhoods once you assess your requirements.   

4. Make A List Of Your Must-Have Home Features

When it comes to home features, there’s a difference between must-haves and nice-to-haves. To help narrow down your Hilton Head home search, first make a list of what’s most important — number of bedrooms, bathrooms, size of backyard, storage space, neighborhood amenities, proximity to work and schools, etc.

Next, make a list of nice-to-haves — spare room for a home office or sewing room, pool, deck, new appliances, etc.

A must-have list is extremely beneficial when working with a Realtor® so he or she can use it to improve your Hilton Head Island home search, saving you both time. And then if it comes down to a few homes that you’re thinking of purchasing, the nice-to-have list is a good way to see how things are stacking up.

Property For Sale

5. Be Realistic About The Features You Need In A Home

Unless you’re building your own home, going on the hunt to find the “the perfect” house with everything on your must-have and nice-to-have list is setting you up for disappointment. While it’s possible to find a house in your price range with all of your “musts,” realistically, you’ll likely have to make some compromises and forego some items on your list.

For Sale

6. Have An Open Mind When Searching For A Home

Go into your house hunting with an open mind. A Realtor®, for example, may show you a house that’s not in the neighborhood that you’d hope for, but the price is under your budget and checks off all the boxes of your must-haves. Or, a house doesn’t have the extra bedroom you were hoping for, but is priced right, is in a great spot and has ample room for expansion.  

It’s important to also remember to look beyond aesthetics that can easily be changed. Don’t rule a space out because the flooring needs to be replaced or the bathroom screams 1980s. Focus instead on what can’t be changed, such as location, or things that are expensive to fix, such as major foundation issues, a roof that is past its life, an old hvac, termite damage, etc.

This is one area where our Team can be extremely helpful. All of us are well versed when it comes to remodeling and renovating property on Hilton Head. That’s one of the perks living and being active in the community for so long. We can all guide you in picking out reliable contractors, experienced architects, and finding the perfect handyman for smaller jobs.

So, if you do come across an older home that needs updating, don’t rule it out! We can show you some amazing before and after examples and put you in touch with the right people.

Realtor On Hilton Head

7. Find A Hilton Head Island Realtor® You Can Trust

One of the best ways to improve your home search is to find the right Hilton Head Island Realtor® to work with. When buying a home, whether it’s your first, last or anything in between, trusting your home buying experience to a knowledgeable and highly reputable Realtor® is the key to your house hunting success. Again, this is one of the most important decisions of a lifetime. Be sure to depend on someone trustworthy as your guide. A Realtor® is the best person to help answer all of your questions and has a wealth of information to help navigate the ins and outs of buying a home.

It’s important to choose a Realtor® who’s easy to talk to, spends the time explaining the process, gets back to you in a timely manner and gives you the best advice.  

Best Realtor Hilton Head

The Sheri Nixon Team can help find the home that’s right for you, whether it’s a Hilton Head Island condo, townhome, or house, whether it’s your vacation home, retirement home or your only place to call “home,” we’re one of the best in the business for your Hilton Head Island home search — we’ll be happy to help.


Hilton Head Property Search