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Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Denver Downs is the One Farm To Put On Your Don’t Miss List This Fall

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If you adore fall, you may be planning a visit to a local farm with activities your whole family will love. One of our favorite farms is Denver Downs Farm, which offers a huge corn maze, a jumping pillow, a zip line, and much more. We’ll give you the details of all the activities they will offer this season!

Don’t miss the Family 4-Pack of Tickets giveaway at the end of the article!

This article includes:
The Corn Maze at Denver Downs
Things to Do at Denver Downs
Plan Your Visit to Denver Downs
Fall Weekend Themes at Denver Downs


Elizabeth Faulkner REALTOR®: 7 Myths of Real Estate

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Are you currently buying or selling a home in the Greenville, SC area? Local REALTOR®, Elizabeth Faulkner and mortgage lender, Andrew Evans, are here to demystify common real estate selling and buying myths. Thank you to Elizabeth Faulkner for sponsoring this article!

Faulkner 2023

Myth #1: Looking for a house is the first step of the home buying process.

Starting the process by “just browsing” could be setting yourself up for heartbreak. Before you go looking for (and falling in love with) a home you need to:

  • have a realistic idea of what you can afford.
  • make sure your credit is in good shape.
  • get pre-qualified for a mortgage.
  • possibly most importantly, find a great Realtor to work with.

I can help you with that last one, I’m that great Realtor! I also have great local lender connections. Making those connections is the real first step of buying a home.

Myth #2: Buying a house requires a 20% down payment.

There are a wide variety of home loan options available to home buyers today. While some loans do indeed require a 20% down payment, others require very little money down. A good lender can explain the different types of loans to you and help you choose the one that will best fit your needs.

Faulkner Myth 2

A few loan highlights from Andrew Evans, a local lender who has helped many of my previous clients:

  • Conventional loans require as little as 3% down.
  • FHA loans require as little as 3.50% down payment.
  • VA loans are 100% financing so no down payment is required.
  • USDA loans are 100% financing so no down payment is required.

Keep in mind that the lowest interest rate isn’t always the best for your particular needs. Yes, a higher interest rate means a larger monthly payment. But it’s not that simple. What kind of loan you should consider depends on many factors.

How long do you plan to stay in the home? How much cash do you have to put down? Where is the home that you’re considering buying located?

The point is, when you’re considering buying a home, a mortgage lender should be one of the first calls you make. They will provide you with all the mortgage options available so you, as a buyer, are able to make an informed decision. And when you’re ready to speak with a mortgage lender, I know who to connect you with to help you get the right answers. Working with me means: my connections are your connections!

Myth #3: If you don’t have children, the schools don’t matter.

Unless you know with 100% certainty that you are buying your forever home, you should always take the quality of the schools into consideration. A house with good schools close by will have a greater resell value because, for many homebuyers, great schools are high on their priorities list. But good schools is far from being the ONLY important criteria when you’re shopping for a home.

Faulkner Myth 4

Here are a few of the factors to keep in mind when hunting for a home:

  • Location, location, location — This is a biggie for lots of great reasons. Is there a work location you plan to drive to regularly? A long commute to work is often a deal breaker in a home search! What else is important to you and your daily routine? Consider the distance to all the important people and places in your life when you’re house hunting. Maybe you want to be within 5 minutes of your in-laws or church. Be very specific on where you want to live when you begin your search!
  • Size matters — Is the house the right size? Even if your family could make it work for the time being, what does your future look like? Is your family growing? Unless this is a home you don’t plan to be in very long, make sure you’re hunting for a house that will fit your family in a year or two years or five years.
  • Think long term – If you expect to be in a home for many years, make sure the home functions well for your needs today and for years to come. Items on your must-have list may be things you couldn’t care less about in 3 years. For example, sending your 2 year old upstairs to play in the bonus room feels impossible right now but before you know it, that room will be invaluable! And, yes, having a master on the 2nd floor is great when kids are little. However, we are all getting older. One day you may wish you didn’t have to climb steps on repeat because your bedroom isn’t on the main level of your home.
  • The neighborhood — No matter how much you love a house, the neighborhood (or lack thereof) matters. If you have kids and want an active neighborhood full of amenities like a pool, tennis courts and playgrounds, let your Realtor know this. If you absolutely hate HOAs, you need to be sure you’re only looking at homes without a homeowners association. It won’t matter how perfect your home is if the neighborhood was never the right fit. And no one wants to go through this process all over again because they picked the wrong house the first time!

Myth #4: You don’t need a home inspection.

Faulkner Myth 5

Even now, with mortgage interest rates on the rise, the housing market is still hot. We are seeing low levels of inventory and lots of buyers. Which means, fewer homes for buyers to choose from and more buyers to compete with. Given the market we are in, you may find your dream home and be tempted to skip inspections. Because, yes, that dream home could potentially be sold to another buyer who was indeed willing to skip the home inspection. But I urge you not to waive the home inspection, even if it means you lose out on what you thought was the perfect home. Do you really want to find out two weeks after closing on a home that the roof is leaking or there is a structural issue in the crawlspace? Take the time and spend the money for a thorough home inspection, your future self will thank you.

Myth #5: Selling your home yourself will save you money.

Selling a home is no easy task. It takes expertise, skills, and so much time. I’m not saying it’s impossible to sell a home on your own, and while upfront it may sound appealing to save some cash on real estate fees, but there is a lot to consider.

Faulkner Myth 6

Here are a few factors to think about before trying to sell a home on your own:

  • Your home needs to be in the MLS — If your home isn’t listed in the MLS, buyer’s agents may not be aware of your home. After all, the local MLS is the resource most used by buyer’s agents when hunting for a home.
  • Price your home correctly — A real estate expert is the most knowledgeable source on the local market and the best bet for pricing your home accurately. In fact, FSBO (for sale by owner) homes tend to sell for less than real estate agent assisted homes. Often times, the lower price of an FSBO house negates the savings by not hiring a Realtor.
  • Making an error could get you sued — Selling a home involves lots of paperwork and legality. Unless you’re a lawyer, a real estate agent most likely knows more about laws regarding real estate than you do. Making a mistake when selling a home FSBO can cost you greatly. Do real estate agents make mistakes? Of course! But they have professional Errors & Omissions Insurance to protect them when a mistake is made, meaning the buyer has recourse without going after the seller.

There are so many reasons to not sell a home FSBO; too many to mention here! Bottom line, buying or selling a home is most likely the biggest transaction you’ll ever make. Why would you do that without professional representation?

Myth #6: Home values listed online are accurate.

There is no shortage of online tools that will help you calculate the value of your home. But it’s important to keep in mind that pricing your home is more complicated than an online tool can calculate. Consider the pricing you see online as a ballpark based on other homes nearby. There are a whole host of things an online valuation cannot take into account. What upgrades did you just put into your home? Buyers place a lot of value on certain upgrades, like kitchens and bathrooms, but your zestimate won’t necessarily reflect that. Online home valuations are often calculated using inaccurate or outdated comps, which can also throw off the home value amount you receive.

Faulkner Myth 7

Bottom line, online home values are just estimates. Before deciding what your house may actually sell for in today’s market, you need to speak with a real estate professional. If you’re looking for the hard facts, I am happy to determine the true value of your home.

Myth #7: Real Estate works the same in every state.

Unfortunately, this is the myth I run into the most. Many homebuyers in the Upstate of South Carolina are moving here from other parts of the country. And though they may have bought or sold a home in another state, the process of buying a home in SC is often very different from their past experiences.

For example, while in South Carolina due diligence fees are only paid if a buyer backs out of a contract, in other states these fees are paid up front and non-refundable. Did you know that some states require real estate purchases to be closed by an attorney while in other states, real estate can be closed by an escrow agent or lender?

My point? Before you dive headfirst into the real estate market, get your local team of experts in place. Be sure you enlist the help of qualified professionals who are well versed in their field of expertise and can guide you through your real estate purchase in South Carolina!

Contact Elizabeth

Elizabeth Faulkner, local realtor, takes great pride in working hard and providing top-notch service to her clients. Her goal is to make the buying and selling process a smooth one for each and every client she serves!

Elizabeth Faulkner
[email protected]

Andrew Evans
Branch Manager, Princeton Mortgage
[email protected]

Piano Central Studios: The Benefits of Lifelong Music Making

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The budding young musician in your family is sure to fall in love with music at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC. For over 40 years, Piano Central Studios has been teaching music to students of all ages in the Upstate, working to instill a lifelong love and understanding of music into their students’ hearts and minds. In fact, it’s their stated mission to nourish hearts and minds with music-making for life!

Thank you to our sponsor Theresa Case, Owner at Piano Central Studios, for writing this article alongside us!

Piano Central Studios takes a fun and engaging approach to music-making. With classes and lessons for all ages, from babies to school-aged and even adults, it’s never too late in life to learn to sing or play an instrument. Plus, there are many positive benefits to taking music lessons. Learn more about Piano Central Studios and how owner Theresa Case’s vision is fostering a love of music-making for life.

Introducing Young Children to the Joy of Music: Kindermusik for Babies to Big Kids

Shake, jingle, and rattle! Young babies and children love making music.  In fact, music-making comes very naturally and easily to them. They instinctively respond to music, making sounds and dancing around.  The way they light up when they engage in music-making is magical. 

That’s why Piano Central Studios offers Kindermusik classes for young children.  Kindermusik is an interactive music and movement program for children ages newborn to age 7 which leans into this precious, innate love of music and makes it come alive for both kids and their grown-ups. 

Kindermusik is a delightfully playful way for kids to make music while exploring various instruments and learning to use their voices. During class, you and your child will sing songs, dance, rhyme, and play instruments, all while you grow closer together through the bond of a happy, shared musical experience. 

As they make music with others, these young musicians are also benefiting from a joyful, stimulating environment enriched with a variety of creative multi-sensory music activities. Plus, everything your child learns at Kindermusik can be applied and enjoyed at home throughout the week! 

What to Expect at Kindermusik

This rich musical introduction in the early years expands as children move up through the levels of Kindermusik, until in the last levels of the program, they are actually reading and composing music, along with learning to play the glockenspiel (pre-piano), the ukulele, the dulcimer, and the recorder.

Kindermusik classes are divided into age-specific, developmentally appropriate levels, from Level 1 to Kindermusik Musicians Years 1 and 2.  These classes are low-pressure and intentionally designed to spark your child’s interest in music while giving the foundational understanding and immersive experience needed to successfully transition to music lessons and instrument mastery. 

Cognitive and Social Benefits of Kindermusik

Not only will your child love it, but music holds such an important place in your child’s development. Music has been shown to enhance cognitive development, which is critical in the years before age 5. This age range is when 90% of brain development occurs! 

There are also wonderful social-emotional benefits that come along with making music with peers and parents. Your young children will make new friends as they bang on drums and shake tambourines, all while building a strong bond with you! 

So, if you want to instill a deep, lifelong love of music in your young child, then the Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios is the perfect place to start.

Something They’ll Look Forward To: Music Lessons for Ages 6+

Group or Private Music Lessons for Kids

Piano Central Studios offers a wide range of options in music instruction, including lessons in piano, voice, band instruments, string instruments, guitar, and ukulele. Group lessons are available for beginners ages 6 to 9, or there is the option of private lessons for ages 6 and up. 

You’ll find convenient locations and a variety of scheduling options for music lessons at PCS.  Add to that great teachers, a motivating reward program, awards to earn in the Practice Space app, recitals, Performance Parties, and more, and you’ve got the kind of winning combination at PCS that’s sure to keep your child loving their lessons for years to come.

The Importance of Music for Self-Expression

As your children get older, they need a creative outlet that allows them to be creative and to express themselves. What better way than through music? Music is a unique and fulfilling outlet for self-expression, being able to sing or play an instrument is truly a gift you can give your child. 

In their music lessons at PCS, your child will develop a skill that is all their own, something special to them that will help mold the image of their “self”. They will then be able to share this piece of themselves with their peers through recitals, their school band or orchestra, and choir, if they choose. Best of all, the music skills and life skills they learn during their lessons will be something they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Benefits of Music Lessons for Kids

There’s nothing more heart-warming than watching your child thrive and their confidence blossom as they make progress each week, grow in their ability to sing or play their instrument, or shine on stage at their recital.

In their music lessons, your child will develop self-discipline and time management skills that extend to other areas of their life, including academics and extracurricular activities.  Music lessons are also a kind of therapeutic outlet, giving your child a means to express themselves in ways words cannot.

And since mastering the skill of singing or playing an instrument takes time and perseverance, your child will also learn the value of patience and resilience, developing a positive growth mindset along the way.  The skills your child learns and the memories they make will become a cherished part of who they are and who they can become.

Never Stop Loving Music: Music Lessons for Adults

It’s never too early or too late to fall in love with music – for the first time or all over again.  You don’t have to live with the regret of quitting lessons when you were younger or always wishing you had learned to sing or play an instrument.  

And if you’re worried about how you’ll feel as an adult student, be assured that the teachers at PCS are as good with their adult students as they are with their younger students.  They’ll help you progress at your own pace, learning the music that will give the most joy and fulfillment and helping you achieve your musical goals.

As you venture into the world of scales and melodies as an adult student, you’ll find a sense of rejuvenation that only music can provide. Your music lessons become a journey of self-discovery, an exploration of your own capacities, and a reminder that growth knows no age. 

Benefits of Music Making for Adults

Not only is music an excellent hobby, but singing or playing an instrument also keeps your mind sharp, reduces stress, and enhances productivity.  As we age, we naturally tend to see a decline in cognition and variations in cortisol, but science tells us that a hobby like music can keep us healthy, happy, and sharp. 

In addition, singing or playing an instrument is a great way to unwind, relieve stress, and enjoy a creative outlet you might not have in other areas of your life or work.  If your child is in Kindermusik or taking music lessons themselves, you now have a different way to empathize, encourage, and bond with them over music.  

PCS loves helping adult students reclaim their love for music by taking music lessons and enjoying a life-changing hobby like singing or playing an instrument.

Music Right Now is Music For Life

Music for now and music for life.  This is the “why” behind all that Piano Central Studios does and hopes to accomplish for all of its students – from the babies in Kindermusik classes to their adult students in their 80’s to every age in between. 

So, whether you’re a parent who wants to kindle your child’s love of music or an adult ready to take music lessons yourself, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Piano Central Studios. The skills acquired, the memories made, and the love for music cultivated all come together to make your music lessons at PCS everything you hoped they would be and mean for you or your child.

Music lessons should be so much more than something to pass the time or check off the list.  At PCS, you’ll find that music becomes a lifelong gift that keeps giving the greatest of joy! 

Registration for Kindermusik classes or music lessons is available on the Piano Central Studios music lesson registration page.  You can get started anytime – even partway through the month!

Piano Central Studios
Greenville, SC

2024 KABOOM Contest

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We are excited to announce our 2024 KABOOM Contest where our readers will vote on the best family-related organizations in Upstate SC across over 40 categories. The winners for 2024 will be determined based on number of votes.

For Organizations

If you are an organization that would like a media kit with social media ready graphics or would like information on enhanced listings, please fill out this form. See below for more directions on this year’s contest.

2024 Voting Ballot (open from Oct 9-21, 2023)

Note: The ballot will be added to this page once we have confirmed who will be on the voting round of the ballot.

Stage 1: Nominations (September 5-16, 2023)

Our readers can nominate their favorite organizations across categories to determine who will be on the ballot. Once an organization has been nominated and it has been approved they will appear on the ballot where additional nominations can be recorded under their name. The organizations with the most nominations will appear on the official voting ballot to determine the winners.

Stage 2: Voting (October 9-21, 2023)

Winners will be announced mid-January and celebrated through an event and online coverage. Winners will also be eligible for special winner advertising packages.

Things to Do

While you’re waiting for our 2024 Family Favorites Results, find something fun to do in Greenville! Here’s our huge guide of activities and things to do near Greenville, SC.

Things to Do in Greenville, SC.

Win 4 Tickets to Denver Downs Farm from Greenville First Steps!

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Children learn language from the moment they are born. Talking with your toddler and answering questions is a way to teach them about the world. Every time you talk, sing or point to what you are talking about, you provide clues to the meaning of what you are saying.

For a chance to win 4 tickets to Denver Downs Farm, Greenville First Steps invites you to enter their September photo contest! Thank you to GFS & the Palmetto Basics for sponsoring this month’s giveaway.

GFS Sept 2023 - Canva

Entering the photo contest is easy!

1) Take a photo of your family or children doing an activity together from September 3-28, 2023. This month’s theme is from the Palmetto Basics: Talk, Sing & Point. Submit a photo of your family talking and learning together!

2) Upload the photo below. Other opportunities to enter may be announced on Facebook and our newsletter.

3) Submit one new photo per day, all month long. The winner is chosen randomly. Don’t worry if your photos aren’t professional, the goal is to have fun and meaningful interactions with your children!

Palmetto Basics
Children thrive when the world seems loving, safe, and predictable. When you express love and respond to their needs, you teach them that they can count on you. In addition, take steps to avoid stress when you can, and to cope effectively with stress when you can’t avoid it. Learn more.

Triple P
Triple P is a positive parenting program that’s free for all parents and caregivers. The program gives advice to raise happy, confident, kids and ideas to make family life enjoyable.

Get winning ideas to level up your parenting by checking out the free classes & resources at GreenvilleParents.com!

Enter the Giveaway

This giveaway starts September 3, 2023 and ends September 28, 2023 at 11:59 PM.

If you have any issues entering the giveaway or questions, please email [email protected]. Note: If the giveaway does not appear immediately, try refreshing the screen or waiting for the page to fully load.

  • You must be 18 or older and live in the USA to enter this giveaway.
  • You must use a valid email address to enter this giveaway.
  • One entry per person per day.
  • We will contact the winner via the email address provided within three [3] days of the giveaway ending. The winner will have three [3] days (72 hours) to respond via email. If the winner does not respond within the three [3] days (72 hours), the prize will be forfeited and another winner chosen. Directions for claiming the prize will be given via email. A valid photo ID and/or mailing address may be required.
  • For a complete list of Kidding Around Greenville SC’s giveaway policies and terms and conditions, see the Kidding Around Greenville SC policy page. By entering this giveaway, you agree to comply with Kidding Around Greenville SC’s terms and conditions.

Church Street Choral Academy: FREE Kids’ Choir Program Begins at Christ Church Episcopal

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The Church Street Choral Academy is an entirely free choral and music education program for kids, coming to Greenville, SC this fall! The program at Christ Church Episcopal happens after school and is accepting kids in 3rd through 5th grade. We have all the details on this amazing new opportunity and the people behind it. Plus, we’ll tell you how to register and set up an audition for your kids.

Church Street Choral Academy in Greenville, SC

Few things in life are free, and extra educational opportunities rarely are one of them. But, that’s not the case at the Church Street Choral Academy.

Church Church Episcopal organ in Greenville, SC

About the Church Street Choral Academy

“The Church Street Choral Academy (CSCA) was formed with a mission to inspire and positively influence
the lives of young people through arts enrichment and academic support.”

No student or family will pay any tuition or fees to participate in the Choral Street Academy. In fact, students will actually be able to earn money through attendance in rehearsals and performances.

Why? Donald Duncan, Director of Liturgy & Music at Christ Church and CSCA Choirmaster, explains:

“Often the students who would benefit the most from extra support or arts enrichment are the students whose families can’t afford the costly price tag associated with those activities. We don’t want money to get in the way for anybody. We’ve worked hard to eliminate this barrier to participation so that any interested student could join us, not just those who could afford it.”

Donald Duncan, Church Street Choral Academy
Donald Duncan, Church Street Choral Academy

The Church Street Choral Academy is housed at Christ Church Episcopal on Church Street, and is funded through community support.

Typical Rehearsal and Performance Schedules

What will rehearsal days look like at the Church Street Choral Academy?


  • 3:45 pm Arrival and Snack
  • 4:00 pm Rehearsal
  • 5:00 pm Small group piano lesson
  • 5:30 pm Homework and tutoring
  • 6:40 pm – 7 pm Dinner and Pick-up


  • 3:45 pm Arrival and Snack
  • 4:00 pm Rehearsal
  • 5:00 pm Theory or Voice class
  • 5:30 pm Homework and tutoring
  • 6:40 pm – 7 pm Dinner and Pick-up

Performances are the first Sunday of each month at a service of Evensong at Christ Church Episcopal, plus additional performances as announced.


  • 3:00 pm Arrival and Snack
  • 3:30 pm Warm-ups and rehearsal
  • 4:30 pm Uniform change and final rehearsal
  • 5:00 pm Evensong
  • 6:15 pm Pick-up
Christ Church Episcopal in Greenville, SC
Christ Church Episcopal, home of Church Street Choral Academy

Want to Get Involved?

Spaces in the first year’s program are limited to 30 choristers in 3rd through 5th grades. If your family is interested in participating, you should visit Choral Academy Website as soon as possible to schedule an audition. No musical training is necessary to audition. According to the Church Street Choral Academy, the only requirements are that students “should possess a love of music and a commitment to attendance.”

Kids at Christ Church Episcopal
Children at Christ Church Episcopal

“We will teach children to sing, no doubt, but that may be the least important thing this organization does,” said Duncan. “This program is unlike anything in Greenville and will have a tremendous impact on kids and families in this city.”

The program is currently auditioning 3rd through 5th grade students. The first rehearsal date is on Monday, October 16th, 2023.

For more information or to schedule an audition, visit the Choral Academy Website.

Giveaway: Dance Without Limits

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We spoke with owner, Beth Bradley, to get the scoop on how they’re bringing magic fun to dance class! One lucky reader will win ONE FREE MONTH of dance class! For details on how to enter, keep reading. Thanks to Dance Without Limits for sponsoring this giveaway


Dan Hamilton’s 5 Hacks to Beat the Real Estate Market

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With mortgage rates staying high, housing inventory staying low, and home prices steadily rising, many families find themselves stuck in their homes and unable to move.

Whether you’re looking to get out of renting, being forced to move with a job, or are just looking for a change of scenery, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by today’s real estate market in Greenville, South Carolina. Dan Hamilton, Hamilton & Co, is here to outline 5 ways you can work around today’s tricky real estate market factors. As a real estate agent for over 20 years, Dan has utilized each of these strategies with his clients. Keep reading, some of the solutions may surprise you! Thank you to Hamilton & Co for sponsoring this article.

Dan Hamilton 2023

2023 Housing Market: A Snapshot

Before I jump into some creative solutions, I want to offer a quick overview of the real estate market as I see it in South Carolina right now, focusing on three metrics: housing inventory, listing price, and interest rates.


Inventory, or the number of active listings on the market, is stable month to month but still very low. While we have recovered from the pandemic’s all-time low inventory with an almost 50% jump year-over-year in Greenville, inventory remains tight considering buyer demand and the larger picture.

House Price

The median sales price for homes in Greenville year-to-date is $305,000, which is a 1.8% increase from this time last year. To put that in perspective, home values in Greenville jumped 18.1% between 2021 and 2022. This year’s increase in home value is much more in line with typical year-over-year appreciation. I expect to continue seeing reasonable increases in home prices this fall, but no major jumps like we’ve experienced in the last couple years.

Interest Rates

Lastly – and probably the most present on people’s minds – are interest rates! Though I know this is an unpopular opinion, “high” interest rates are likely here to stay. While inflation stays high and a stalemate between buyers and sellers exists, I don’t expect the Federal Reserve to drop interest rates; in fact, they will raise them again this fall. As I’m writing, 30-year fixed rates are sitting around 7.14%, and they may have changed by the time you’re reading this!

To summarize, house prices and interest rates will stay roughly the same throughout the remainder of the year (with slight increases), and I don’t expect a big change in inventory.

Dan Hamilton 2023

Making It Work For You

Feeling overwhelmed? I get that. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to work around some of these big market factors. Let’s get into a couple that may work for you.

Solution #1: Buy Now, Sell Later (Cash Offers)

One of the biggest challenges facing homeowners today isn’t selling – it’s finding a home once you’ve sold! And with most homeowners holding onto a home with a 3-4% interest rate, there really isn’t a lot of motivation to get moving.

But what if you could buy your next house before you sell your current home, taking the uncertainty out of the equation? My real estate team Hamilton & Company has a variety of solutions that allow our clients to “buy now and sell later.”

One option allows me to offer you cash upfront for your home – no strings attached – and let you walk away without hosting a single showing or going to the trouble of listing your house. Unlike the cash offers of many of my competitors, this is a “full-appraisal offer,” meaning I pay you what your home is worth and nothing less. That’s hard to beat!

Another option…our investor can buy your house from you now at a small discount, fix it up, resell it, and then pay you again when they close – you get a portion of the profits!

I offer a number of full-appraisal cash offer solutions through my team at Hamilton & Company. The best way to find out if you qualify for one of these offers is to give me a call and talk me through your specific situation. You can schedule a call here or shoot me an email at [email protected].

Solution #2: Sell Your Home for More (by investing in high ROI improvements)

If you’ve considered a move recently, chances are you have also considered updating your home to improve its desirability. But since you won’t be around to enjoy those home improvements, you’re really only interested in the renovation’s ROI, or return on investment. That means you should be strategic with your renovations, only investing in improvements that are sure to raise that sale price! The home improvements with the best ROI typically are those that add functional space and square footage to your home.

If you aren’t moving this year but will soon, consider investing in a long-term improvement like finishing your home’s basement or attic or converting a half bath into a full bath. Families looking for quicker improvements should consider bathroom and/or kitchen remodels (with an emphasis on function over aesthetics), a fresh coat of paint, or a project that improves outdoor quality of life like a patio.

If you’d like to learn more about maximizing your renovation budget, check out my article on the best home renovations to consider before listing your home. I also offer my clients a customized renovation evaluation as part of my free home consultation.

Dan Hamilton 2023

Solution #3: Buy a Home and Keep the Seller’s Interest Rate!

The best way to avoid high interest rates? Ignore them altogether! Qualified buyers can do exactly that with something called an Assumable Mortgage.

An assumable mortgage allows you – the buyer – to purchase a home and “assume” the interest rate of the seller. That means you could actually purchase a home at an interest rate as low as 2-3% if you found it on the market! As amazing as this deal sounds, not all homes (or buyers) qualify for an assumable mortgage. Conventional mortgage holders, for example, cannot qualify, but VA, FHA, and USDA loans can!

The best way to figure out if this is a legitimate option for you is to set up a call with me where we can talk through your options.

Solution #4: Tap Into Your Current Home’s Equity

If you’re one of those families I mentioned earlier who’s current home has a low interest rate, you don’t necessarily have to sell it in order to buy a new one!

Rather than selling your current home to pay for your next home’s down payment, consider tapping into your home’s equity with a home equity loan. A home equity loan uses your current home as collateral and the amount is determined by your personal equity in the home. Once you’ve moved out of your current home, you can rent it and offset the cost of the initial, lower mortgage.

This solution doesn’t change the fact your new mortgage is set at that higher rate, but it does allow you to reap the benefits of expanding your real estate portfolio and creates a lower average interest rate.

Solution #5: ARM, Creative Financing

I’ve already explained a way to obtain a lower than average mortgage rate using something called an assumable mortgage. But there are many more forms of “creative financing” out there that help buyers get houses every day. Let’s take a minute to break down a couple more…

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgages: Adjustable Rate Mortgages, or “ARMs,” introduce a set period of time where your interest rate doesn’t change. For example, if you did a five-year ARM, your rate would be fixed for five years and either increase or decrease to match the average rate at the end of that period. This is a great option in a market like ours, because rates are likely to be lower in coming years.
  • Seller-Financed Temporary Buydown: A temporary buydown is when a party involved with the real estate transaction pays a large sum up-front to “buy down” the buyer’s interest rate for a set number of years. In this case, that party would be the seller. This allows the buyer to either ease into that larger monthly payment or refinance at the end of the buy down period when rates will hopefully be lower. A Seller-Financed Temporary Buydown can be negotiated into your contract by your real estate agent, and can last for as little as one year or up to 5 years depending on your negotiation.
Dan Hamilton 2023

The Bottom Line

As an agent with over 20 years of real estate experience, I’ve seen a lot of different housing markets. While I wouldn’t characterize today’s market as a “bad” or “impossible” one, I definitely think it comes with its challenges.

In this article, I’ve shared just a few of the unique solutions I’ve used to help real clients sell and buy homes this year in Greenville. But most of these are highly specific solutions to unique problems.

The best way to figure out one of these options (or another one I couldn’t cover here!) might work for you is to set up a short call with me. I’ll learn about your unique situation and put together a customized solution that fits your needs, timeline, and budget. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, set up a time to talk with me using my calendar linked here. I promise, this call is quick, free, and zero obligation.

Let’s help you realize your real estate goals this year – high interest rates or not!

Contact Hamilton & Co

If you’re looking to buy or sell and you think one of these outside-of-the-box solutions may be a good fit for you, give me a call at 864-527-7685. I’d be happy to break down these options and more, helping you find an answer to your tricky real estate questions.

Learn more about Kidding Around Greenville partner, Dan Hamilton!

Raising Relationships Podcast: Improving Connections with Young Children

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If you are a parent and a podcast lover, then the Raising Relationships podcast is for you! The podcast, created by the South Carolina Infant Mental Health Association (SCIMHA), offers parents and educators extra support and guidance for building strong bonds with young children in their lives. The podcast also discusses the rise in preschool expulsion, and what parents and educators can do to reduce these numbers. Thank you to SCIMHA for sponsoring this article.

We spoke with Amaris Gibson (MA, LPC-A, IMH-E® Infant Family Specialist) who is co-host with Tiffany Stenson (Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Training Specialist) to learn more about the themes of the podcast. We also discussed why your child’s mental health and socio-emotional development is so important. The open discussion format of the podcast explores the realities and difficulties of raising and connecting with young children.

The Raising Relationships podcast artwork