Do You Really Need To Put 20% Down?


The days of having to put 20% down are gone! There are a variety of borrowing options, some begin with as little as 3% down. If you want to own your own home, now is as good a time as any to jump into the market!

In September:

  • 70% of first-time buyer loans had down payments <5%
  • The median FICO score was 708
  • 27% had DTIs greater than QM limit of 43%

If you are interested in where the Bluffton / Hilton Head Island real estate market is going? Give Jo Anne or Tony Rizza (843-301-5825) a call to better understand the current market, see the latest available properties, or to list your own home!

With over 25 years of experience, our team is ready to help!

Hilton Head Real Estate Partners
Partnering with you every step of the way.

Know the Facts: Buying a Home vs Renting


The Facts About Renting:

According to the 2015 Rental Marketing report:

  • 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months, there does not appear to be any signs of stopping.
  • 66% of property managers predict that rental rates will continue to rise in the next year by an average of 8%.
  • 53% of property managers said that they were more likely to bring in a new tenant at a higher rate, than negotiate and renew a lease with a current tenant they already know.

Why Buy Your Own Home:

Making the leap to purchase your own house can be scary, we know that. Buying a home doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience. Renting can be tiring and stressful, year to year not knowing where you are going next or how much you will be paying per month. We are here to help guide you to the home of your dreams and the security you deserve. Remember the top three reasons to own a home are:

  1. The opportunity to build equity
  2. A stable and safe environment
  3. The freedom to choose your own neighborhood

If you are interested in where the Bluffton / Hilton Head Island real estate market is going? Give Jo Anne or Tony Rizza (843-301-5825) a call to better understand the current market, see the latest available properties, or to list your own home!

With over 25 years of experience, our team is ready to help!

Hilton Head Real Estate Partners
Partnering with you every step of the way.

Buying a Home Remains 35% Less Expensive than Renting!

Houses-on-Money-KCM (1)

In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 16% in Honolulu (HI), all the way to 55% in Sarasota (FL), and 35% Nationwide!

The other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation. “In the past year, these two trends have made homeownership even more affordable compared with renting.”
  • Some markets might tip in favor of renting if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989.  

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

If you are debating buying a home this year, sit down with Jo Anne or Tony Rizza (843-301-5825) to better understand the Hilton Head / Bluffton real estate market. We can help you evaluate what opportunities available in the Hilton Head / Bluffton area would best fit your budget!

With over 25 years of experience, let our team help you find your dream home!

Hilton Head Real Estate Partners
Partnering with you every step of the way.

Feature Community: The Haven at New Riverside

The Haven_NRThis month we are happy to feature another great gated community in Bluffton, S.C. which offers residents the best of town and country life is The Haven at New Riverside.

Minutes away from historic downtown Savannah, Old Town Bluffton, and Hilton Head Island’s beautiful beaches, this active-adult community by Del Webb offers 8 different two and three bedroom ranch home models on wooded or lagoon view lots to choose from.

Haven-Hillcrest Room

Built on over 340 acres, residents of The Haven at New Riverside have access to the community’s clubhouse (complete with zero entry pool, bocce ball court, walking trails, and tennis courts), lounge, fitness center, art studio, lending library, computers and meeting spaces.

Additionally, The Haven at New Riverside employs a full-time Activities and Lifestyle Director who organizes additional social events for residents throughout the year.




  • Outdoor Pool
  • Clubhouse
  • State-of-the-Art Fitness Center
  • 4 Clay Tennis Courts
  • 2 Pickle Ball Courts
  • 2 Bocce ball Courts
  • Hobby room
  • Billiards
  • Dog Park
  • Gated Community
  • New Riverside bike and walking trails


Current Social Clubs: 

  • Book Club
  • Bridge
  • Walking
  • Golf Club
  • Sewing
  • Train Dominoes
  • House of Cards
  • Tennis
  • Aqua Golf
  • Lunch Bunch
  • Coffee Talk
  • Yoga 101
  • Bunco

To view current listings in The Haven at New Riverside, click here or for additional information on this great community, contact Jo Anne or Tony Rizza at 843-301-5825 to view available properties today!


Hilton Head Real Estate Partners
Partnering with you every step of the way.

Finding your Dream Home: The Cost of Waiting


As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As either a first-time or repeat buyer, you must not be concerned only about price but also about the ‘long term cost’ of the home.

Let us explain.

There are many factors that influence the ‘cost’ of a home. Two of the major ones are the home’s appreciation over time, and the interest rate at which a buyer can borrow the funds necessary to purchase their home. The rate at which these two factors can change is often referred to as “The Cost of Waiting”.

What will happen over the next 12 months?

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices are expected to rise by 4.7% by this time next year.

Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Tablepredicts that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will appreciate to 4.7% in that same time.

What Does This Mean to a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact these projected changes would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:



Bottom Line

If you are ready to move forward with finding your dream home in the Hilton Head and Bluffton SC area, give Jo Anne or Tony Rizza a call at 843-301-5825. Great Hilton Head / Bluffton properties are available & waiting for you!

Most Experts Agree: There is No Housing Bubble

There is no doubt that home prices in the vast majority of housing markets across the country are continuing to increase on a month over month basis. The following map (based on data from the latest CoreLogic pricing report) reveals the appreciation level by state:



These increases in value have caused some to be concerned about a new price bubble forming in residential real estate. Here are quotes from many of the most respected voices in the housing industry regarding the issue:

Nick Timiraos, reporter at the Wall Street Journal:

“Predictions of a new national home price bubble look unfounded for now, according to data.”

Michael Fratantoni, Chief Economist, the Mortgage Bankers Association:

“I don’t really see it as a bubble.”

Jack M. Guttentag, Professor of Finance Emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania:

“My view is that we are a long way from another house price bubble.”

Rajeev Dhawan, Director of Economic Forecasting Center at J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University:

“To have a bubble, you need to have construction rates higher than the perceived demand, which is what happened in 2003 to 2007. Right now, however, we have the reverse of that.”

Victor Calanog, Chief Economist, Reis:

“The housing market has yet to show evidence of systematic runaway asset price inflation characterized by home prices rising much faster than household income.”

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones:

“I would describe this as a rebound in home prices, not a bubble and not a reason to be fearful.”

Andrew Nelson, US Chief Economist, Colliers International:

“I don’t think there is a housing bubble.”

George Raitu, Director, Quantitative & Commercial Research, NAR:

“We do not consider the current market conditions to present a bubble.”

Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner, Beacon Economics:

“The housing market is far from overheated.”

So why have prices been increasing?

Today, there is a gap between supply (number of houses on the market) and demand (the number of buyers looking for a new home). In any market, this would cause values to increase. Here are some experts’ comments on this issue:

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist:

“So does that mean we’re in a bubble? Nope, that’s just what happens when demand increases faster than supply.”

Robert Bach, Director of Research – Americas, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank:

“I don’t think the housing market is overheated based on demand and supply fundamentals.”

Mark Dotzour, Chief Economist, Real Estate Center, Texas A&M University:

“We are not in a housing bubble. We are in a situation where demand for houses is much higher than supply.”

Calvin Schnure, SVP of Research & Economic Analysis, NAREIT:

“Given all the demand and little supply the residential market is FAR from overheated.”

Bottom Line

Currently, there is an imbalance between supply and demand for housing. This has created a natural increase in  home values not a bubble in home prices.

Contact Jo Anne or Tony Rizza at 843-301-5825 to evaluate your current home’s market value or to view other great real estate properties in the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton area!

Hilton Head Real Estate Partners
Partnering with you every step of the way.

This Is NOT Your Parents’ 3% Down Payment Plan


In their latest Housing Market Insight & Outlook report, Freddie Mac revealed that recent low down payment initiatives have raised concerns that we may be returning to the same lax mortgage qualifications that caused the housing crisis from which we are just now recovering.

The report went on to explain that today’s underwriting guidelines are nothing like those that existed just prior to the housing meltdown.

“Pre-crisis underwriting allowed layered risk, that is, the combination of multiple features that amplified credit risk. Low down payments often were combined with variable-payment loan structures, property-based underwriting, and questionable appraisals. These risk factors, along with the ‘irrational exuberance’ of some borrowers, led to large losses during the crisis.”

What is layered risk?

In the pre-crisis environment, many mortgage loans incorporated several additional features besides low down payments that multiplied the total risk of the loans such as: variable payment options, underwriting based on the property not the borrower, questionable appraisal processes. Borrower expectations were also overly optimistic at that time.

Freddie Mac highlights the difference between then and now by using a table in the report:



By removing the “layered risk”, we can be confident that low down payment programs will not impact the market the way mortgage underwriting impacted the market a decade ago. And the report explains:

“Previous research has found that reduced down payments can increase the relative probability of homeownership among some groups by over 25 percent.”

Bottom Line

We believe the report’s conclusion says it all:

“As long as the underwriting process bars the return of the layered risks prevalent in the pre-crisis era, lower down payments are not a cause for concern.”

Contact Jo Anne or Tony Rizza at 843-301-5825 for more information on the current Hilton Head Island/Bluffton real estate market.

Hilton Head Real Estate Partners
Partnering with you every step of the way.

The Main Reason You Should Not Wait to Buy on Hilton Head Island…

Hilton Head Island Real Estate

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released their 2015 State of the Nation’s Housing report. The report concentrated on the challenges renters in this country are facing because of the diminishing supply of quality rental units and dramatically escalating rents.

However, there was also information buried within the report that revealed that now is definitely the time to buy your first home or move-up to the home of your family’s dreams. With home prices still below peak values and mortgage rates still near historic lows, the monthly mortgage payment on a median priced home is less than at almost any time in the last 25 years.

Here is a graph which helps visualize the data from the report:



Bottom Line

With home prices increasing and mortgage rates projected to increase, now is the time to buy Hilton Head Island real estate.

Jo Anne or Tony Rizza are available at 843-301-5825 to provide more information on the current Hilton Head/Bluffton housing market.


Hilton Head Real Estate Partners
Partnering with you every step of the way.

Hilton Head Island Homes / Townhomes for Sale $500K – $749,999

Hilton Head Island SC homes / townhomes for sale between $500K – $749,999

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