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How-To Tuesday: Choose the Perfect DIY Kitchen Backsplash

Of all the elements in your kitchen, the backsplash is probably the area where you can best express your personal style and exercise your DIY muscle. There are so many unique and customizable options available these days that you’re bound to find multiple choices you love. Here are just a few of those options and why you should consider using them to customize your kitchen backsplash.

Subway Tiles

Subway tiles have become insanely popular over the last few years thanks to their low cost, uniformity, and minimalistic design. Because they’re so versatile, they blend with many different design schemes, including both the popular industrial and farmhouse chic looks. Subway tiles have simple, clean lines, making them extremely easy to work with. There’s no need to match up any patterns or colors. Just decide on the layout you like and go!

Wallpaper

For a super easy DIY project, and one that can be switched out as often as you like, try a wallpaper covering. The design options are nearly endless! Go with a faux tile or brick print to create the illusion of real tiles, or opt for a pretty floral pattern, an art deco design, or a nautical theme. There are even multiple finishes to choose from, including traditional paper, woven materials, and raised designs.

Vinyl Tile Decals

Vinyl tiles have come a long way and offer another not-so-permanent solution for your backsplash. This is the perfect way for renters, for example, to personalize the kitchen and cover those outdated tiles that are in dire need of attention. Just stick the self-adhesive panels right over old tiles. Tile decals are made of waterproof vinyl that comes in larger panels, often segmented into smaller tiles. With gorgeous designs that even include faux grout, these vinyl tiles easily look like the real thing.

Artificial Stone

If you love the look of natural stone but hate the price tag and amount of work it takes to install, you might want to look into artificial stone. Natural stone is far from DIY-friendly, but a manufactured veneer stone can make for the perfect backsplash material. Manufactured stone is made from a slurry of Portland cement, aggregates, and iron oxides that are baked in molds. The cement makes the mixture more stable, and the iron oxide gives the stone its pigment. Since it’s porous and lightweight, it’s far easier to work with than natural stone.

Wood Laminate

For a truly easy, simple yet charming backsplash, look no further than the flooring department. Nope, that’s not a typo! Wood laminate flooring can be the perfect option if you’re going for a rustic or natural look in your kitchen. Sourcing reclaimed wood or buying wood planks can get expensive and time-consuming. Try inexpensive laminate flooring instead for an equally pretty and easily cleaned alternative. If you want to go even cheaper, look for vinyl planks that look like wood laminate.

Tin Tiles

Metal backsplash tiles give an awesome industrial feel and are perfect for the minimalist look, but they can be expensive and take just as much time to install as traditional tile. For a similar feel, go with tin tiles. There are tons of styles and designs of tin tiles available. Using just a pair of tin snips and some construction adhesive, you can give your kitchen an highly customized touch.

These are just a few of the many cool options for kitchen backsplashes available right now. With a little time, planning, and creativity, you can make your backsplash the centerpiece of your kitchen.

Friday Five // May 11, 2018

It’s time once again for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening around the Lowcountry throughout the weekend. Don’t forget that this Sunday is Mother’s Day! Take Mom to a party on the beach, do a 5K in her honor, take her to the theater, and more. Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a happy and safe weekend!

Start the weekend off right with Party at the Point this Friday from 5:30pm until 9:30pm. This week’s all-ages party takes place at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina and features the Dave Matthews Tribute Band. The 5-piece ensemble from Chattanooga pays homage to the actual Dave Matthews Band by matching the excitement, energy, intensity, and intimacy of a DMB live show. Tickets are $8, and children 12 and under get in free. Bring cash for food and drinks. No coolers or pets allowed.

Postpartum Support Charleston hosts the 15th annual Moms’ Run and Family Fun Day this Saturday at MUSC Health Stadium, from 7am until 11am. This 5K run is the organization’s largest fundraiser, allowing the organization to further its mission of eradicating the stigma surrounding PMADs (perinatal mood and anxiety disorders) to ensure all women who suffer receive support. Participants can run or walk the 5K, which starts at the stadium and winds through Daniel Island before ending back at the stadium for Family Fun Day. Free entertainment includes face-painting by Parkwood Pediatrics, activities with Play Garden, putt-putt with Saltwater Books, music with Black Tie Music Academy, styling with Vanity Salon, and much more!

If you love Singin’ in the Rain as much as we do, listen up! The Footlight Players proudly present the stage adaptation of “the greatest movie musical of all time.” Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are a hot item in silent films, but things aren’t always as they seem. Lina’s squeaky voice might be the end of her career when the “talkies” come to the big screen. The only thing that can help save her career is a talented young actress, who will do the talking and singing for her. But will she steal the spotlight in other ways as well? Musical lovers will have three opportunities (Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm) this weekend to see this classic that has delighted audiences for decades!

Take Mom out for Sunday brunch at Tavern and Table or Red’s Icehouse on Shem Creek. Celebrate by taking part in the 3rd annual Just Ducky Race. Rubber ducks are $20 and can be purchased in person at either restaurant or online at the T&T online shop or MUSC’s Just Ducky Race website. Proceeds benefit MUSC Hollings Cancer Center’s research, specifically earmarked for women’s cancers. The winning duck owner will receive a $250 Red’s Icehouse gift card and a $300 Tavern & Table gift card.

If you didn’t get your fill of running on Saturday, head out to Hampton Park on Sunday for MUSC Heart Health’s 4th annual 5K Fun Run/Walk for Healthy Kids. This event raises funds to benefit the Heart Health Program of MUSC’s Children’s Hospital. Run or walk to joint the fight against childhood obesity. Registration fees include a t-shirt, race packet, water, and healthy snacks. There will be official timing with overall and age-group awards. A finisher’s medal will also be given to all who complete the entire 5K course. Day-of registration begins at 8am, warmups kick off at 8:50am, and runners/walkers start and 9am. Bring cash to purchase raffle tickets! The drawing for the fun and exciting prizes takes place after the race.

Improve the Odds of Getting an Offer on Your Home

We may be in the middle of a seller’s market, but not every house that goes up for sale gets that 48-hour turnaround you keep hearing about. The average days on market are definitely lower than they have been in years past, but if you really want your home to move fast, it might need a little help. Use the following pointers to improve your odds of receiving an offer quickly.

Set the right price.

Studies have shown that homes priced more than 3% over their “correct” price take much longer to sell. If you set the price too high in the beginning, you run the risk of seeming unappealing to a percentage of buyers. Buyers also become suspicious once a house has been on the market for a while. But if you price it right the first time, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Get everything in order.

Dress your house in its “Sunday Best.” This means cleaning it from top to bottom (or having it done professionally), giving your curb appeal a little boost, and making sure everything is in working order. Make sure the house is always ready for a showing at a moment’s notice. The less fault buyers can find in your home, the better your odds are of getting an offer.

Don’t turn down showings.

This is why the house should always be ready for a showing, as mentioned above. Turning a potential buyer down or postponing a showing until later can really work against you. Consider this. A buyer asks to see your home at 3pm. You ask them to wait until 6pm. They agree, but in the meantime, they go look at a couple of other houses. They decide to write an offer on one of those and cancel your showing. If only they’d seen your house first!

Think about an appraisal.

To save both yourself and your potential buyers time and money, think about having your house appraised before you put it on the market. This will keep you from pricing it above or below market value. Speaking of which…

Know your limits.

Decide well in advance the lowest price and highest number of contingencies you’re willing to accept. If you’ve already decided that you can’t take less than $300,000 for your home, there won’t be any wasted time trying to negotiate with a buyer who won’t pay that amount. Be reasonable about the amount you’re willing to take, though. Wanting a specific amount doesn’t mean you’ll get it. The house might not appraise at that dollar figure, and your buyer won’t be able to get it financed.

Don’t be stubborn about dropping the price.

If you’ve priced your home correctly but still haven’t had any bites after a month or so, you might need to drop the price a little bit. This doesn’t have to be anything major. Simply dropping the asking price by $5,000 to $10,000 could bump it down into someone else’s price range.

Even in a seller’s market, some homes take longer to sell than others. You can be one of those others if you keep these tips in mind and work with your Realtor® to get it right.

Bringing Your Buying Expectations Back Down to Earth

Take a minute to fall into the daydream of finding and buying that one perfect home. The one that checks every box on your wish list. The one that’s in the exact right location and has every little detail you want, right down to the subway tiles and farm sink.

Now shake it off. When you’re buying a home—especially if it’s your first—it’s easy to slip into that dream. It’s nice to imagine that the house hunting and buying process will be a snap, that you’ll find that perfect home with no trouble at all and it’ll be smooth sailing from there on out. Time for a reality check. Take your head out of the clouds, plant your feet firmly on the ground, and take our advice on how to bring your homebuying expectations back down to Earth.

As a homebuyer, it’s important to be realistic about:

Finding a Home

House hunting shows make it look so easy, don’t they? The buyers see three or so houses, choose which one they like best, and suddenly they’re happy homeowners. In reality, you could very well spend months searching for the place you want to call home. In our current market, inventory and competition are tight, and buyers have to act quickly. You might lose out on one or two homes before a seller accepts your offer. Just realize that the timeline here isn’t fixed by any means. It could take days, or it could take months.

Getting Approved

Many buyers underestimate the time it can take to get fully approved for a mortgage. To speed up the process, get the ball rolling before you even start your home search. Consult with your mortgage broker and make sure they have all the documents and information they need in order to get started on your approval letter. As a bonus, having that pre-approval letter in hand could give you an edge over other buyers who haven’t started the approval process yet. It will also help you set a realistic budget before you start to dream too big.

Wants vs. Needs

As we’ve already said, it’s extremely rare that you’ll find a home that checks off every box on your wish list. The earlier you come to terms with the fact that you might not get every single thing you want, the better off you’ll be. Take a long, hard look at your list and decide which items are absolute must-haves and what items are just nice to have. Don’t get too discouraged if you can’t find a house that fulfills all of your wishes. You can always put in granite countertops or build a covered patio later on.

Submitting an Offer

If you’ve never bought a home during a seller’s market, you might be in for a shock. In the current market, sellers have the upper hand, which means they won’t be bending over backwards for any buyers. You’ll need to be competitive, which usually means writing a full-price offer or sometimes going over the asking price by a few thousand dollars, and not including too many contingencies. Multiple-offer situations aren’t uncommon these days. Just be ready to move quickly to get that offer in, and be confident in paying the asking price or more.

Getting To the Closing Table

Once your initial offer turns into a ratified contract, lots of “stuff” goes on in the background that you might not see. Your mortgage broker will be working hard to get your final approval. Your real estate agent will be helping to coordinate inspectors, appraisers, attorneys, and other such appointments. A typical time frame for getting from a signed contract to the closing table is about 30 days, though some take more or less time to close. During this time, you might be going back and forth to ask for repairs on issues found during the inspection, renegotiating other items, getting documents to your loan officer, etc.

Timing

One last thing you may have to come to terms with. It might not be the right time for you to buy a home. There are many issues that can arise during the homebuying process. The right home for you might not be out there just yet, which means you’ll need to come back to the drawing board in a couple of months. Or maybe you need some time to repair your credit, decrease your debt, or gather funds for a down payment. If you do need some down time, make sure to keep in touch with your agent, just in case they find something that might be perfect for you.

The last thing we want to do is take the fun out of your homebuying experience. Feel free to dream big, but be realistic about the above points so unwelcome surprises don’t pop up along the way.

How-To Tuesday: Juggle Buying and Selling at the Same Time

Buying a new house can be tricky when you also have a house to sell. Unless you plan on renting out your existing home after moving out, you’ll probably be trying to sell your house while you look for a new one. To keep from saddling yourself with two mortgages—and to help you maintain your sanity—the process must be handled with some finesse. In a perfect world, as soon as your offer is accepted for a new house, you’d receive an offer for your current home. Your closing dates would align nicely, and you’d be able to move smoothly from one house to another. But we don’t live in a perfect world. In most cases, one transaction will take longer, leaving you with either a surplus or a lack of housing. Sometimes we have no choice and need to be both buyer and seller simultaneously. But don’t fret! It’s completely doable. Here are a few tips for juggling buying and selling at the same time.

Know the current market.

Before you put your house on the market or start searching for a new one, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about the current real estate market. This can be easily done by consulting with your favorite real estate agent. They’ll help you determine the best time to put your home on the market and start home shopping. Together, you can come up with a strategy to help you sell your home as quickly and smoothly as possible and find a new one to suit your needs.

Plan carefully.

Should you sell your house or buy a new one first? Selling first will make it easier to obtain a mortgage on a new house, but unless you can arrange a rent-back agreement with the new owner, you’ll have to find temporary housing until you find a new place. If you buy first, getting financing might be a bit trickier, but you’ll have the luxury of only having to move once. This is a decision you and your agent will have to make on your own, taking your specific situation and needs into consideration.

Remember external factors.

Don’t forget that there will be other parties with factors that will have an effect on both sides of the deal. Your buyer’s financing could fall through. Your seller might be slow to fulfill contingencies. The chances of everything aligning perfectly are slim, so be prepared for any outcome. Just try to relax and remember that everything will turn out okay in the end.

Stick to a budget.

Create a strict budget for the time being and stick to it. This will help ease some of the financial burden of either having two mortgages or paying for rent and storage while you house hunt. It’ll also help you save a little extra for that earnest money deposit and any other expenses you incur along the way.

Don’t give in to anxiety.

If your home sells faster than you imagined it would and you haven’t found a new one yet, you might feel pressured into settling for less than you want. Take a short-term rental if you need more time to find a home that’s just right for you and your family. On the other hand, if you’ve already found your perfect home and need to sell quickly, you shouldn’t feel forced into accepting an offer that’s lower than you expected.

Trust your Realtor®!

We highly recommend that you use the same real estate agent for selling and buying. If they’re helping you sell your home, they’ll have intimate knowledge of every detail, which enables them to give you the best advice possible on the buying side as well.

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