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To Stage or Not To Stage...

…it shouldn’t even be a question anymore. We’ve talked a bit in previous posts about how to stage a home to sell and why it’s important to do so, but today, we’d like to talk numbers.

Recently, the National Association of Realtors released their 2015 Profile of Home Staging. The profile includes statistics on staging and how it does or does not help a home sell.
 
According to NAR’s research, the majority of buyers’ agents believe that staging has a positive effect on their buyers’ views of the homes they view. 49% of buyers' agents surveyed say that staging affects most homebuyers; 47% say it affects some buyers; and a mere 4% say staging has no impact on buyers at all.
 
buyers affected by staging
 
Though the research shows that nearly half of all buyers’ agents believe that staging is beneficial, a surprising number of sellers’ agents do not stage their listings. 44% of sellers’ agents only suggest that their sellers declutter and fix any property faults that may exist. 34% stage all homes they list; 13% only stage homes that are difficult to sell; 5% do not stage any homes at all; and 4% only stage homes in high price brackets.
 
sellers staging
 
While buyers' and sellers' agents seem to disagree somewhat on the importance of home staging, there is one area they agree on. Buyers and sellers were asked to rank the importance of rooms to be staged, and interestingly enough, their lists were identical. According to both sides, the most important rooms to stage, in order of importance, are:
 
1. Living Room
2. Kitchen
3. Master Bedroom
4. Dining Room
5. Bathroom
6. Children's Bedroom
7. Guest Bedroom
 
What do you think of these statistics? Do you agree that home staging is important when it comes to attracting buyers? What impact has staging had on you as a buyer or a seller? Tell us in the comments section below!
 
*Statistics taken from the National Association of Realtor's 2015 Profile of Home Staging
**Graphics by Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company

8 Things to Do With Leftover Paint

It’s Monday. You just finished up your weekend DIY project. If that project included a paint job, you might find yourself left with a small amount of paint left over and no idea what to do with it. You could always keep it in the garage for touchups…or you could get creative. If you’re not burnt out on DIY and want to do something fun with that leftover paint, check out our top ideas for things you can "fix" with a quart or less of paint.

1. Trim: If you have a boring room and no idea how to add interest, mix things up. Instead of putting color on the walls, paint just the trim. It makes for an unexpected pop of color and is a unique look.

2. Fabric: Choose a fun stencil or stamp and transform boring curtains, pillows, or blankets with a pattern. The best part of this is that you can be as simple or as elaborate as you like.

3. Chairs: Focus on an office chair or just a couple of dining room chairs. It’s a small change that can have a pleasing impact. For a how-to on this, read our post on painting wood furniture.

4. Rugs: Paint over an old rug or add a pattern to a boring one. Another small detail that can change your perspective.

5. Knick knacks: Metallic paint or bright colors can make this one especially fun. If you have old figurines or other dust collectors, turn them into funky accessories with a quick coat.

6. Stairs: Sometimes a stairway needs a little bit of sass. Paint the risers or the railing for another unexpected pop of color.

7. Old art: An old, dated painting can bring your decor down. Paint over it with a solid color, a pattern, or your very own creation.

8. Frames: Paint your entire frame collection the same color for a cohesive look throughout a room. Or if you have small amounts of several colors, use those and make an eclectic collection.

What other ideas do you have for using leftover paint? Tell us in the comments section below.

Home Showings Increase 12% in December 2014

7,494 listings were managed by ShowingTime in Charleston in December 2014. During that month, the company registered 18,942 showings. That's 12% more than the previous year, which shows exactly how well the Charleston real estate market performed in 2014. The graphic below shows the showing stats for the top five most active areas in Charleston.

 

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Looking Past the Dollar Signs: Why the Highest Offer Isn't Always the Best

When you decide to sell your home, getting the highest price possible is definitely the first thing on your mind. After all, you likely have a mortgage to pay off and maybe a new home to buy. In the current Charleston real estate market, multiple offers aren’t uncommon. You might feel like you have the pick of the litter when presented with multiple offers; however, pay close attention to what each buyer proposes. Accepting the highest offer is not always the smartest move. Savvy sellers and agents know not to jump the gun and give an automatic yes to the highest bidder. Here’s how to look past the dollar signs and pick out the important details.

Determine whether the sales price is sensible. While offers above asking price are certainly attractive, it’s entirely possible that your home might not appraise for that amount. If the home doesn’t appraise for the agreed-upon amount, chances are the buyer won’t be able to get financing and won't go through with the purchase. 
 
Beware of contingencies. These are added into contracts as protection for buyers and sellers. Sometimes, a buyer will present an offer for full asking price or above but add a lot of contingencies that they know will give them room for renegotiating. In the end, you might end up making more concessions than you would have with a lower offer and could net less than you thought when all is said and done.
 
Look closely at the buyer’s financing. Which buyer is most qualified? Which offer looks like it will close more quickly and easily? A cash buyer, for example, will be able to close more quickly than one with a complicated loan.
 
Will the home be a primary residence or an investment? What is the buyer’s motivation? A highly motivated buyer means that the transaction is likely to close on time. A longer escrow period might be okay with some buyers and sellers, as in an investment deal, but others might be in a time crunch and need to close as quickly as possible.
 
When you take the time to mull over the offers you receive when selling your home, you’ll see that each one is different. Selecting the highest offer might come with a price. Read the contents closely and consider what each buyer is asking for compared to their proposed price. Now, having said all of this, it’s not a given that the highest offer will definitely have more stipulations and concessions. Sometimes, the highest offer IS the best; but oftentimes, those buyers who offer full price or above will ask for more concessions.
 
What’s your opinion? How many concessions are too many when it comes to choosing the highest offer? Would you rather end the deal with more money in your pocket or have a smooth, worry-free road to closing? Tell us in the comments below!

 

2014: A Banner Year for Charleston Real Estate!

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