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Every Seller's To-Do List

Every real estate transaction is different; some are easy-peasy while others are more complicated. All sellers have one thing in common, though. They want their homes to sell for top dollar and as soon as possible. If you’ve decided to sell your house, there are some things you’ll need to address before you put it on the market.

✓ Look at each room objectively. What negative aspects stick out most? Which positive features should be highlighted?

✓ Remove personal decorations. Buyers don’t want to see a single trace of you in what could very well be their new home. Pack up family photos, kids’ toys and artwork, and signs of pets. Try to create as much of a blank slate as you can for potential buyers.

✓ Hire a home inspector. Put yourself a step ahead of prospective buyers (and other sellers!) by going ahead and providing them with a home inspection report. Once you have your home inspected, you’ll know the major pitfalls that need fixing. You can go ahead and make the repairs or wait and see which repairs the buyer asks you to make in their offer.

✓ Clean everything thoroughly. This should be a given, but you’d be surprised at how many homes our agents have shown that were in dire need of a good cleaning.

✓ Replace outdated fixtures. This can be done easily and inexpensively. Switching out dated fixtures can give the room the facelift you didn’t realize it needed. Whether you need lighting fixtures, bathroom faucets, or new cabinet hardware for the kitchen, you can almost always find a perfect neutral and inexpensive option at your local hardware store.

✓ Shampoo or replace carpets. Dirty or stained flooring is a big turnoff for buyers. If you need to replace the carpets, do so before showings begin. If not, give them a good shampooing or steam cleaning, even if you don’t think they’re that dirty.

✓ Touch up and/or repaint. We’ve said this before, but it still rings true: painting is the easiest way to update a home. You never realize how tired and dull old paint can look until you freshen it up! Bonus tip: paint makes a home smell new, and people love new.

✓ Get a storage unit. Vacant homes are easier to show. It’s also easier for the buyer to imagine their belongings in a blank space. If you can manage to vacate the home before it goes on the market, great! If not, consider renting a storage unit to store as many of your personal items as possible while you try to sell your home.

✓ Freshen up landscaping. Curb appeal is everything. The exterior is a buyer’s first impression of your home. Make it a good one! At the bare minimum, make sure to stay on top of yard work and pressure wash the house and driveway/sidewalks. If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, plant some colorful flowers, repaint the house’s exterior, hang a beautiful wreath, and put out a new welcome mat.

✓ Get specific advice from a Realtor®. You’re going to want to interview a few different real estate agents to make sure you’ll be working with the best. It’s important to find someone who you get along with well and who knows the real estate business inside and out. Give us a call today to speak with one of our agents—they’re experts at providing boutique service to all clients!

 

How-To Tuesday: Get Your Guest Room Ready For Holiday Visitors

It’s official: Christmas is now less than a week away. Are you ready for those guests that are about to descend upon your home? If not, we have some advice for you on getting the guest room all set up for any family or friends that will be gracing you with their presence. Make your guest room a source of comfort and joy for your holiday visitors, and they’re sure to feel right at home.

Tidy Up

Most guest rooms don’t get much use until company comes, so they sometimes collect dust and can take on a stale scent. Make sure to do a thorough dusting and vacuuming, change the linens if it’s been a while, and put out an air freshener or burn a candle. Make sure any clutter is put away. You don’t want guests tripping over the random items you might’ve stored in the typically unused room.

Create a Cozy Environment

The bed is usually the focal point of a guest room, so you’ll want to make it look inviting. Do this by piling on the pillows and layering textures like knits, fleece, and faux fur to create a cozy feel. Make sure there are plenty of blankets available for those chilly nights. Illuminate the room with softly lit bedside lamps instead of harsh overhead lighting.

Prep the Guest Bath

After you give the guest bathroom a quick scrub, step back and look at it from an outsider’s point of view. Is there anything missing that guests might have to ask for? Try to make things as convenient as possible by putting out items people typically need on a daily basis. Make sure to stock up on necessities like toilet paper. Put out freshly washed, fluffy towels and washcloths. Consider putting together a little basket of little toiletries people tend to forget.

Offer the Comforts of Home

If you really want your guests to feel comfortable, stock the room with personalized touches. Make up a gift basket with bottled water, local snacks, a book or magazine, a phone charger, a little notebook and pen, and maybe even a couple of postcards they can send to folks back home. You could even go as far as creating a little coffee station right in the room. And don’t forget to write down the WiFi password for your guests!

Add Some Holiday Cheer

Decorate the room with some greenery and soft white lights, a miniature Christmas tree on the dresser, and a wreath on the back of the door. You can go all out with the holiday decor or just put out a few little items here and there. It’s your choice!

Friday Five // December 15th, 2017

Holiday events continue to take the top spots on our to-do list this week! Celebrate Chanukah, watch a holiday movie in your PJs, and check the last few Christmas gifts off your list at local holiday markets. Whatever you choose to do this weekend, have a safe and happy time!

Make a trip to the Folly Beach Pier on Saturday for the annual Foliday Market hosted by the Folly Beach Farmers Market. Local makers, artists, and farmers will be there selling their wares, and there will be music, marshmallow roasting, and more!

Saturday evening, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra will make beautiful music at the Gaillard Center at the CSO’s Annual Holiday Pops. This family-friendly event features the CSO, CSO Chorus, and the Charleston Children’s Chorus playing and singing selections such as “White Christmas,” “Klezmer Nutcracker,” “Ave Maria,” “12 Days of Christmas” (CSO-style), Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and many more sing-along favorites. Get your tickets now!

Don your coziest pajamas and join other Christmas movie enthusiasts at MUSC Health Stadium Saturday night to watch The Polar Express on a 3,000 square-foot videoboard. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and get there before the movie to enjoy the food trucks and train rides. Tickets are $5, and children 6 and under get in free.

The Royal American plays host to the Thrifters + Drifters Holiday Market on Sunday from 12-5pm, featuring “all your favorite Charleston makers and shakers.” With vendors selling everything from handmade jewelry to botanical goods and vintage wares, it’s the perfect place to pick up some unique last-minute Christmas gifts for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list.

Celebrate the Festival of Lights this Sunday from 4-6pm at Chanukah in the Square. Presented by the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish studies program, the Chabad of Charleston—Center for Jewish Life, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, and other local organizations, this festival takes place in Marion Square, where local Holocaust survivors will continue the tradition of lighting the menorah candles. There will be food, live music, and a festive atmosphere. People of all religions and backgrounds are welcome to join the festivities.

3 Ways To Get Started In Real Estate Investing

Ever wonder where all those big-time real estate investors started? Sure, some of them might've started with a trust fund or inherited properties, but for the most part, successful real estate investors work their way up one house at a time. Are you interested in becoming a real estate investor but not quite sure where to start? Let’s talk about three common ways to get started in real estate investing. You might find it’s easier than you think!

Become a Landlord

The quickest and easiest way to get started in real estate investing is to rent out a home you already own. Some people sort of stumble into this by becoming an “accidental landlord,” forced to rent out their home when they can’t sell it. To those people, owning a rental property wasn’t necessarily something they were interested in, but in a lot of cases it leads to bigger and better things. Owning an investment like a house isn’t just about appreciation of a home and how much money you can make in a sale. It’s about making that house work for you.

Let’s say you stand to make $50,000 on the sale of your home. That’s a large sum of money for most people, and it would certainly be nice to have. But take that profit amount and deduct closing costs, commissions, and taxes, and it decreases by a good bit. On the other hand, if you chose to rent that same home for $2,000 a month, it would take 25 months to make that same amount. That’s only a little over two years of doing next to nothing to earn a monthly paycheck. Of course there will be landlordly duties here and there, or the small percentage you’ll pay to a property management company if you choose to go that route. But by the time you make up that $50,000 you might have made on the same of your home, you might even own a second rental property that makes you even more.

The bottom line: Would you rather make a lump sum up front and watch it be slowly (or maybe quickly!) spent? Or would you rather make your house work for you and see money come in every month that could cover the living expenses for your new home?

Do a Live-In Flip

This takes time, hard work, and patience, but it can really pay off in the end. Ideally, this is a project that should be done by a single person, a couple without children, or a family with older children. Your home will essentially become a 24/7 construction zone, and having little ones running around won’t be safe. It also takes a little bit of capital to begin with, because not only will you be paying the mortgage on the house, but you’ll also be spending money to fix it up.

If you’re going to flip a home, you need to do it the right way. Don’t try to cut corners to save money. Buyers are way more educated on flip homes and fixer-uppers than they were ten or so years ago, so taking shortcuts will only hurt you when you put the house on the market. Don’t just give the home a cosmetic upgrade. Make sure to address things like electrical wiring, the HVAC system, safety features, and structural issues. When you do get around to the cosmetic upgrades, don’t skimp. Make sure fixtures match and flooring won’t look cheap or show wear too quickly. And don’t forget about curb appeal!

The bottom line: If you have the time and money to flip a home, go for it. Just go into it knowing that it’s going to be more work than you think, and you’ll need extra room in the budget just in case.

Find a Mentor and Partner Up

The easiest way to learn is by doing. That doesn’t mean you should jump right in feetfirst, though. Do your homework first by researching the current market and what it takes to invest. Have coffee or lunch with a few successful investors and ask their advice. If you find that you trust and get along well with one in particular, ask if they’d be willing to be your mentor. Maybe even propose a partnership for your first investment experience.

Whether the partnership is an equal buy-in for a flip house or partial interest in a multi-family home or complex, having an interested party there to show you the way makes for priceless experience. It also keeps you from making ill-informed decisions or impulsive moves that might not be the best choice for your situation. In addition, partnering up with a mentor means you won’t have to put forth as much money up front as you’d have to if you did it all alone.

The bottom line: Partnering with someone you trust means you’ll need less capital to start with. You’ll also learn valuable lessons along the way by actually doing instead of just reading about how to invest in real estate.

There’s no one end-all, be-all solution in the real estate world. There’s a myriad of other ways to invest in real estate, but these are three of the most common, get-your-hands-dirty ways to get started. Have questions about where to begin? Don’t hesitate to give us a call today. We’d be happy to help you figure out the best route for you in your real estate investing adventure.

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