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Why Do Some Homes Sell Faster Than Others?

Even in a seller’s market, there are some listings that sit stagnant with few showings and no offers. Why? What makes these homes different? There are a number of reasons why some homes sell quickly while others sit on the market for months at a time. Let’s take a look at a few key factors that affect the length of time it takes for a home to sell.

Quality photos. First things first. In order to get prospective buyers to book showings, you have to reel them in with great photos. Listings with professional photos are statistically proven to sell faster and garner slightly more money.

Curb appeal. A recent Zillow study named curb appeal as the number one factor affecting the length of time a home is on the market. In fact, we’ve known buyers to take a look at the outside of a home and decide they’d rather not bother going through with the full showing.

Staging. “Staging is preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in,” says Barb Schwarz, founder of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. According to a 2011 study conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association, staged homes spend 73% less time on the market than their unstaged counterparts.

The right price. Price is a huge factor in the amount of time a house spends on the market. One Zillow study showed that houses priced at or slightly below current market value were almost 50% more likely to sell within 60 days.

Move-in ready. A home in move-in condition will usually sell faster than a fixer upper. Specifically, homes said to be in “move-in condition” sell 12% faster.

Location. Obviously this isn’t something you can change if it works against you, but it is a huge advantage if you’re in a prime location. Homes in walkable neighborhoods, great school districts, and convenient locations tend to sell much faster than comparable homes in less desirable areas.

On-trend design. While it’s important to keep things neutral so buyers can have a blank slate, some design trends actually help a home sell faster. Farmhouse sinks, quartz counters, subway tiles, exposed brick, shaker cabinets, pendant lights, and stainless steel appliances are all current design features that are a plus to have on your side.

The best agent. An experienced agent who really knows their local market will help a home sell faster. Johnson & Wilson Real Estate agents are trained to price a home correctly and market it through all the right sources to find the perfect buyer for your home. Get in touch with us today for more advice on how to help your home sell quickly!

 

Friday Five // November 17th, 2017

Once again, Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company brings you the Friday Five. Get out and enjoy the mild fall weather by choosing an activity from these five events happening around the Lowcountry. This weekend, light up the night, help raise funds for four-legged friends, or enjoy a night at the disco. Have a safe and happy weekend!

It’s that time of year when oyster roasts abound, and this weekend is a good one for oyster shuckers! The 13th Annual Palmetto Society Oyster Roast takes place Friday, November 17th, at the Visitor’s Center Bus Shed downtown. Tickets include oysters, beer, and wine, but there will also be food trucks on site, raffle prizes, and merchandise tables.

Also on Friday, The Alley (a favorite local spot for bowling, arcade games, delicious food and beverages and more) will celebrate their fifth anniversary with their annual ’70s-style blowout Studio 300. The theme for this year’s event is Candy Land, which means the whole place will look like a Wonka-style wonderland! Don your best disco-inspired outfit and dance to disco-infused tunes. Tickets include open bowling, an open bar, and much more. Proceeds from the party benefit local nonprofit Be A Mentor.

Visit Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre on Saturday, November 18th, for Lights Up, which includes a laser light show and the lighting of the shopping center’s 40-foot Christmas tree. There will be a visit from Jolly Old St. Nick himself, live music, giveaways, a jump castle, face painting, and more! Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

The Charleston Animal Society hosts its biggest fundraiser of the year on Saturday: the 18th Annual Chili Cook-Off and Oyster Roast. Over 100 teams will compete in the chili cook-off with traditional recipes plus vegan and vegetarian options. And don’t forget the oysters! Entertainment will include a mechanical shark, bounce house, bubble soccer, and more. Lots of furry friends will be there as well, eagerly awaiting adoption.

This weekend is the first of Buy Local Month, Lowcountry Local First’s “strategic initiative to encourage our citizens to buy local and keep holiday dollars flowing within our community.” As a local small business, buying local and investing in the community is extremely important to us. Get started on that Christmas shopping by checking out LLF’s Buy Local Market Calendar at the link above. We’ll be doing our part during this month-long initiative to buy local as much as possible!

 

7 Painting Mistakes That Show (And How To Avoid Them!)

When homeowners are preparing to sell a home, painting often tops the list of to-do’s. A new paint job can certainly make a world of difference when it comes to sprucing things up, but there are several things to consider before you slap a coat of paint on the walls and call it a day. Before you begin, read about these six common painting mistakes and how to avoid them.

  1. Failing to do prep work. A little bit of preparation will go a long way to save headaches and cleanup time. Cover the floors and furniture, remove outlet and switch covers, and tape edges of trim and door knobs. Sand any imperfections in the drywall or previous paint job. Clean walls to remove dust and stray hairs. This will make a huge difference in the quality of the paint job.
  2. Choosing the wrong finish. Consider each room and its usage when choosing a paint finish. It may be tempting to buy those 5-gallon buckets of one shade in one finish for the entire house, but that’s not the greatest idea. A kitchen or bathroom requires a glossier finish for durability and moisture resistance, but the same finish will look out of place and show imperfections in a living room or bedroom. While a flat finish can be easier to touch up, it also marks more easily, making touch-ups necessary more often than not. Think about a satin or eggshell finish for main living areas, and something wipeable for kids’ rooms.
  3. Forgetting to consider lighting and finishes. A certain shade might look just right in the store’s lighting, but it could look completely different when you get it home. Pay attention to both a room’s natural daytime lighting and how it’s lit at night. Also consider things like flooring, cabinet, and counter colors. You might have found the perfect neutral shade, but the color of your flooring might bring out otherwise subtle undertones. The perfect beige might look pinkish under the influence of different lighting and finishes.
  4. Skipping primer. Why add yet another step to a job? Because it makes a world of difference in the end. Applying a coat of primer creates the ideal surface for paint to stick to and brings out the color. Pro tip: spend a little extra and buy paint that already has the primer mixed in.
  5. Ignoring the ceiling and trim. Don’t forget to touch up the trim work! Baseboards and molding will no doubt need freshening up as well. A brand new paint job on the walls can also accent the ceiling’s dinginess, making the whole room look dull. Think about freshening up the ceiling paint while you’re painting anyway to help everything appear fresh and new.
  6. Adding custom colors and accent walls. Accent walls are pretty popular, but remember that if you’re putting your home on the market, you’re not painting for yourself. Buyers like a neutral palette that they can customize. While your red accent wall in the kitchen might appeal to a certain niche of buyer, it will turn others off. Yes, paint colors can be easily changed, but the last thing you want is to create more work for a buyer right off the bat.
  7. Not letting the first coat dry completely. Make sure the first coat is completely dry before you even think about cracking open the paint can for a second coat. Failing to do so could result in streaks and peeling paint.

What painting mistakes have you made in the past that taught you a thing or two about painting? Share in the comments section below!

 

 

10 Home Upgrades On a Budget

Want to upgrade the look of your home but can’t seem to fit it into the budget? Forget about big, expensive projects. Sometimes small changes can add up to make a big difference. Keep that in mind as you read about these ten budget-friendly upgrades for your home.

Create curb appeal.

It may sound cliche, but first impressions really are important when it comes to most things in life. This is especially true in the real estate business. Buyers approach a home with an appraising eye long before they set foot inside. Even if you’re not planning to sell your home soon, creating curb appeal can go a long way to upgrade the exterior. Mow the lawn, trim the bushes, and make sure the front porch or stoop is nice and tidy. Plant some colorful flowers, paint the front door, put out a welcome mat, and hang a seasonal wreath on the front door. A good power-washing is also a great, budget-friendly idea—and don’t forget the driveway and sidewalks!

Give walls and ceilings a fresh coat of paint.

Few things brighten up the inside of a house like new paint. It’s one of the least costly upgrades you can give a home, but it makes a big impact. Keep in mind the proper finish for each room (e.g. satin for the living room, semigloss for the bathroom). And don’t forget the ceilings! Old, dingy ceilings can cast an ugly light on a brand new paint job if you don’t freshen them up too. Bonus: you can also give old cabinets a new look with a simple paint job.

Install new hardware for cabinets.

This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Check your local hardware or big box store, or check for specials on Amazon for simple hardware. New cabinet handles and drawer pulls can go a surprisingly long way to update a kitchen. If you have a little more room in the budget, consider adding soft-close hinges and drawer slides.

Re-caulk sinks and tubs and regrout tile.

It might not be apparent at first glance, but your caulking and grout are probably bringing your whole bathroom down. Caulk and grout can get moldy or yellowed over time, and sometimes even the deepest of cleanings won’t make them look clean again. Re-caulk and add new grout to give the bathroom a cheap and easy facelift.

Get matching front panels for for any mismatched appliances.

Mismatched appliances can interrupt flow and make a kitchen feel less organized. Instead of having to cough up the money for brand new appliances, just replace the front panels. It’s much less costly and has the same effect as far as aesthetics are concerned.

Do a deep clean.

Better yet, hire someone else to do it. You’d be surprised at how different a home can feel after a little TLC from your preferred cleaning products. This is especially important if you’re about to put your house on the market. Buyers have a discerning eye and are easily turned off by houses that don’t look their cleanest.

Update lighting.

This can be as simple as buying new shades for old lamps and replacing light switch plates. Switch plates and outlet covers can become dingy over time and cost mere cents to replace. If you have a bit more to spend, invest in new light fixtures for the main living areas in the house. Updated, on-trend fixtures do a lot to elevate an entire room.

Install new sink faucets and shower fixtures.

Dull, stained faucets and fixtures can make sinks and bathtubs seem older and dirtier than they really are. Installing new fixtures is the perfect way to help freshen the look of a bathroom or kitchen and give it a shiny new feel.

Update flooring.

This doesn’t need to be an expensive job at all. Survey your floors with an unbiased eye and make a list of which areas need resuscitation. Steam clean the carpets, scrub the tile grout, and just replace whatever can’t be salvaged (e.g. very high-traffic areas and kids’ rooms). The replacement doesn’t have to be anything fancy when you’re minding the budget. There are lots of great basic, inexpensive choices available these days in carpet, tile, and wood flooring.

 

Upgrade doorknobs and handles.

Replacing interior doorknobs gives a home that “can’t quite put my finger on it” difference. It’s a detail a lot of people don’t think of when upgrading their decor, but it’s actually an important one. Especially if you have those basic brass knobs builders like to install. There are tons of inexpensive options out there in materials like glass, ceramic, wood, and metals of every color and finish.

Presenting a Strong Offer in a Seller’s Market

If you’re shopping for a new home, you’ve probably found out first hand that sellers have the upper hand in the current real estate market. During a seller’s market, multiple offer situations are common and can be extremely frustrating for buyers. How do you compete in such that type of climate? By presenting a strong, serious offer from the get-go. Here are some top tips for making an offer sellers can’t refuse.

Get pre-approved. Notice that we didn’t say pre-qualified, but pre-approved. Even better: go ahead and get your lender to start the actual approval process. Not only will this speed things up in the end, but it also shows sellers that 1) you’re absolutely serious about buying their home, and 2) you can actually afford to buy their home. Some sellers might even require a pre-approval letter before they’ll even look at an offer.

Don’t lowball. It’s not worth the risk. Do you really want to insult a seller and wreck your chance for a second impression? Many sellers won’t even counter a lowball offer. They’ll simply say no and walk away without giving you another chance to negotiate. Submit a smart, strong offer the first time to show that you’re serious and negotiate from there if needed.

Don’t go overboard with contingencies. It’s foolish for a seller to expect zero contingencies to accompany an offer, but it’s also foolish for a buyer to pile them on willy nilly. The most common contingencies are based on financing and the home inspection. It’s very important to protect your interests as a buyer, but if your offer is contingent upon financing, do yourself a favor and include a pre-approval letter (as stated above) and an appealing earnest money deposit. Also, when it comes to a home inspection contingency, don’t be too nitpicky with minor repairs. Go ahead and ask for legitimate fixes (e.g. a leaky roof or faulty wiring), but don’t be surprised if a seller balks at your request to replace all the cracked outlet covers and old doorknobs. A good rule of thumb: think function and safety over cosmetics.

Think about including a personal letter. Some sellers might be more inclined to accept an offer if they know their home will go to a loving family over an investor who’s going to turn the house into a rental or flip it. So go ahead and wax poetic about the farmhouse sink in the kitchen. Compliment the sellers on their amazing job with the outdoor entertainment area. Tell them how you can’t wait for your kids to have such an amazing back yard to run around in. Make it personal and appeal to the seller’s sentimentality over their home.

Get the help of a licensed real estate agent. Honestly, this is the best thing a homebuyer can do for him/herself. Real estate agents are trained professionals who know their market inside and out. Constant training and education help agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company give personalized advice to build strong offers that satisfy buyers and sellers alike.

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A friend of ours who recently bought a house enthusiastically referred us to Johnson & Wilson. Our friend's recommendation was top notch - Johnson & Wilson. is AWESOME! - Brian
 
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