Friday Five // September 21st, 2018

Friday is finally here, which means it’s time for our weekly roundup of fun things to do throughout the weekend. In this week’s Friday Five, you’ll find an outdoor movie, a beachy festival, a chocolate and wine tasting, and more. Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a very safe and happy weekend!

Bring the whole family out to Magnolia Park & Community Garden on Friday evening for Movies at Magnolia, an outdoor film with lots of fun activities. The featured movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, will begin at dark (around 7:15pm). Jungle-themed activities like Jungle Animal Charades, Who’s the Monkey, Catch the Snake’s Tail, Monkey Tag, and more will begin at 6pm, hosted by On-Purpose Adventures. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Griddle Grub and Damiano’s Wood Fired Pizza. Leashed pets are welcome.

Celebrate the end of the summer at Folly Beach’s 28th annual Sea & Sand Festival 2018 this weekend. The Sea & Sand Festival will include the Miss Sea & Sand Pageant, an arts-focused street festival, a silent auction, live music, two kiddie areas with lots of fun activities, sandcastle and volleyball competitions, and more. No pets, coolers, bikes, skateboards, or scooters allowed. Get your tickets in advance for $6 or at the door for $10.

Take a beautiful drive out to Wadmalaw Island this Saturday afternoon for a Fall Chocolate Pairing, hosted by Deep Water Vineyard and Evolution Through Chocolate. Celebrate the first day of fall and the promise of cooler days ahead with this wine and chocolate pairing featuring some of the season’s best flavors. Tickets are $15 and include four wines, four chocolates, and a commemorative wine glass.

Learn a traditional and beloved Charleston art Saturday morning at the Charleston Museum. Sarah Edwards-Hammone will lead a Sweetgrass Basket Weaving Workshop at the museum, passing on a staple of culture, art, and history in Charleston. Mrs. Edwards-Hammond comes from a long line of basket makers and has passed the tradition down to her children, grandchildren, and other members of the community. Come hear a brief history of basket-making and then try your hand at making your own basket with her guidance. Materials are included, but space is limited. Reservations are required.

Support small and local businesses on Sunday at the Thrifters + Drifters Handmade Market. Join Thrifters and Drifters at The Royal American from 11am until 5pm to see all your favorite Charleston makers and shakers. Shop with local artisans, makers, and vintage collectors for everything from handmade jewelry and clothing to succulents and houseplants. Featured vendors include Fernweh Designs, Madmademetals, Crystal Clay Culture, Knotty Cards, Red Rose Vintage, The French Eclectic, Tidal Jewelry by Annie, and many, many more!

Little Flaws That Could Be a Big Deal to Buyers

Every house has its little quirks and flaws that make it unique. As the homeowner, you’ve probably learned to live with them over the years. Maybe you just never got around to fixing them; or maybe you think they add charm to your home. When you’re trying to sell a house, however, potential buyers might not see the same charm you see. In fact, some of them might be red flags to buyers. Here are just a few of the little flaws that could be a big deal to buyers.

Tiny Closets

You’ve managed to live with small storage spaces, so shouldn’t any potential buyer be fine with your smallish closets? Not necessarily. With all the new construction and custom-built storage options on the market, small closets can be a deal breaker for some buyers. If your closets are particularly tiny, think about having a contractor fix them up. At least get an estimate to show buyers how much it would cost if they want to expand any closets after closing.

Torn Window Screens

Who knows how or when those annoying little rips showed up in your window screens? They might not bother you, but they’re actually a warning sign to buyers to be on the lookout for other little red flags around the house. It’s in your best interest to replace or repair any torn or missing window screens before you begin to schedule showings.

Unsavory Odors

Sometimes we’re immune to the odors others can smell in our homes. The culprit could be a pet (or pets, as the case may be), mildew, smoke, general mustiness, or any number of other sources. When we’re around certain scents on a daily basis, we tend not to notice them as much as a “fresh” nose would. Have your Realtor® or another trusted person do a quick check to make sure everything smells fresh and clean.

Cracks in Walls, Ceilings, or Flooring

Cracks both big and small can be warning signs of a much larger underlying issue. To provide peace of mind for potential buyers, you might want to think about hiring a professional to inspect your foundation before you put your home on the market. That way, you’ll be able to disclose to buyers whether those cracks are just due to general settling of the house or potential foundation issues.

Stains on Walls or Ceilings

Remember that water leak you had fixed years ago? Remember the stain it left behind on the ceiling? If you’ve lived with it this long, it obviously doesn’t bother you, but it’s another definite red flag for buyers. Be sure to remove or paint over any stains that might be present on walls and ceilings.

Mystery Light Switches

We can’t even tell you how many home showings we’ve had where buyers have found a mystery light switch that doesn’t seem to do anything. A switch that doesn’t seem to do anything raises questions. Is the wiring just old? Is it safe? If you have a mystery switch in your home, do your best to find out exactly what it does. Hire an electrician to inspect it and make sure everything’s safe. If it just controls an electrical outlet somewhere in the room, be sure to either label it or plug a lamp into that outlet so it’s obvious that the switch controls it.

Dripping Faucets or Slow-Draining Sinks

Buyers are always on the lookout for plumbing problems, and a dripping faucet, a slow-draining sink, and low water pressure are definite red flags. Have a plumber come in to address any of these little issues to make sure they aren’t indicative of a bigger problem.

The Best Home Selling Advice to IGNORE

We recently posted a write-up on the best home-buying advice to ignore. Today, we’re looking at the same thing from the other side of the deal. Anytime you buy or sell a home, it seems everyone wants to share their tips, success stories, and what they consider to be amazing advice. But sometimes it’s not exactly the best—or even correct—advice. Let’s take a look at some of the best home selling tips you should just IGNORE.

Never list your home in the winter.

Lots of people assume that home-buying season takes place during the warmer months. While it’s true that the market is a little busier during those times, people buy homes throughout the year. In fact, since we’re blessed with milder winters here in Charleston, the real estate market is pretty busy all year long. Listing your home in the winter could actually give you an edge. A slower market might mean fewer buyers, but it also means fewer sellers, which makes for less competition. Listing your home during a time of low inventory could help you sell your home even faster.

Save money by paying less commission.

It’s typical for a real estate broker to request 6% commission to sell your home. That might sound like a lot to some sellers, but when you take a closer look, it actually works in your favor. Real estate agents do so much more behind the scenes that just slapping your listing up on the MLS. The commission your agent earns goes to pay for their time, their expertise, any marketing materials they provide, etc. What you may not realize is that 6% gets split with the buyer’s agent as well. If you offer a lower commission, there’s a chance that some buyers’ agents might pass over showing your home in favor of a similar one that pays a better commission.

You should absolutely hold at least one open house.

While open houses aren’t a thing of the past, they’re also not guaranteed to help you find a buyer. If you and your agent feel like an open house is a good idea to get some exposure, by all means, go ahead and have one! But don’t expect to find your perfect buyer on open house day. Sure, it’s within the realm of possibility, but it doesn’t happen often at all. Most serious buyers do an online search for exactly what they need and then make private showing appointments.

Price your home high.

Buyers are going to try to negotiate a lower price anyway, so why not price your home at top dollar as a starting point? Not a good idea. First of all, pricing your home too high might put it out of your target buyer’s price range, which means they won’t even see it in their search results. Pricing your home competitively helps attract more buyers and could also help sell your home faster. Who wants to waste their time going back and forth with negotiations anyway?

With so much information so readily available, there’s tons of advice for home sellers out there. Some of it is great; some should be taken with a grain of salt; and some should just be completely ignored. What’s the worst home selling advice you’ve ever heard? Tell us all about it in the comments section!

5 Common Downsizing Mistakes to Avoid

There are many reasons homeowners might decide to downsize. Perhaps the children have all grown up and moved out. Maybe retirement has brought on a certain wanderlust and a desire for a simpler home life. No matter what the reason is for moving into a smaller space, everyone runs the risk of falling victim to one of these mistakes when downsizing. Get ahead of the game by being aware of what to look out for and how to downsize the smart way.

Waiting too long

Instead of waiting until you can no longer care for your current home, make a move while you’re healthy and strong. Why not go ahead and downsize while you still have time to enjoy all the things you’ll be making room for in your life?

Getting rid of too many possessions

We all love a good purge, and while the point of downsizing is to make life simpler, sometimes people go too far. Maybe you think you won’t need all your kitchen tools since you’ll be traveling more or you won’t be cooking big family dinners much. But when Thanksgiving rolls around and you can’t find your favorite roasting pan or your electric mixer, you’ll be kicking yourself for purging your possessions willy-nilly. Be smart about what you’re getting rid of.

Forgetting to measure furniture

Before you plan your move, it’s important to make sure your current furniture will fit inside your new home. This might seem like an easy thing to remember, but some people focus so much on being free from clutter and “stuff” that they forget about the big things. Measure pieces like the couch and bed to make sure you’ll have plenty of room in the new space. It might be a good time to sell that overstuffed, family-sized furniture and buy some new streamlined pieces.

Focusing on what you’re losing

It’s natural to become invested in possessions when they remind you of certain people or events. Instead of getting hung up on losing these things, realize that you’ll still possess those memories, even when the things they’re attached to are gone. If you’re having a particularly hard time letting go, take pictures of the items and make a special album or scrapbook to look back on. Then focus on the positive aspects of downsizing, like how easy it will be to stay organized, creating more free time for making new memories.

Trying to do it all at once

Trying to tackle everything in one go is almost a guarantee that you’ll become overwhelmed and burn out. Instead of thinking about your entire house and property, focus on smaller tasks first. For example, if you’re moving to a condo that doesn’t require yard maintenance, go ahead and sell or donate your lawn mower, weed eater, and leaf blower. Be mindful of what you’re getting rid of; don’t toss your gardening tools if that’s a hobby you’ve always loved. Next, go through the kitchen and weed out all those tools that just seem to gather dust. Breaking your downsizing experience into smaller tasks like this will certainly make your to-do list look longer, but you’ll be able to cross things off more frequently as you complete them.

How-To Tuesday: Find a House to Buy When You’re Short on Time

In an ideal world, house hunting would be a perfectly smooth process. You’d tour a handful of houses, find your favorite, make an offer, and be under contract within a couple of days tops. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and the stars won’t always align on your first attempt to find a house. What happens when you’re short on time and it’s imperative that you find a place quickly? When it’s a seller’s market and competition is fierce, timing is everything. Here’s how to prepare when you need to find a home pronto.

Get Pre-Approved

Before you view even one single house, it’s important to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Speak with a mortgage lender to see how much house you can afford. The best way to do this is to figure out what your target monthly payment should be. Your lender will be able to walk you through the qualifications, lock you in to an interest rate before it goes up, and let you know what price points you should be looking at to meet that monthly payment. Having a pre-approval letter in hand is also extremely helpful when it’s time to make an offer on a home. Most sellers want to see proof that you can afford their house and are serious about your offer.

Enlist the Help of a Savvy Real Estate Agent

It’s always a smart move to work with a Realtor®. When time isn’t exactly on your side, it’s even more important to have the assistance of a seasoned real estate agent who really knows the area and the market well. Give your agent your target sales price, a list of criteria, and a general area of where you’d like to look, and they’ll get right to work sending you listings to peruse. You’ll be able to narrow down a list of what you’d like to see in person and what you’d rather pass on. Once you find a house you love, your agent will know exactly how to write an attractive offer and speed the process up to get you to the closing table quicker.

Whittle Down Your Wish List

If your list of “must haves” is too long, it can really put a damper on your home search. It’s rare to find a home within a specific budget that meets every single wish on your list. Paring down your wish list can help open up your options. Just think. If you insist on only looking at homes with wood flooring throughout, you could be missing out on your dream home just because it has carpets in two of the bedrooms. That’s something that can be remedied easily before you even move in. On the other hand, it’s good not to be too vague with your wish list. The fewer boxes you check, the longer your list of homes will be, and you don’t want to be overwhelmed with mediocre choices. Think about what’s most important to you beyond details of the house. Is it important to be in a certain neighborhood or part of town? Do you desire a walkable neighborhood? A short commute? Lots of options for dining out and nightlife? Pick a couple of things that are most important, and you’ll find yourself moving in the right direction.

Take Notes

When you’ve spent an entire afternoon looking at houses, the details can all start to run together and get a little blurry. To keep this from happening, grab a notebook and a pen before you set out on your house hunting voyage (or ask your agent for MLS printouts you can write on and keep). Take notes at each stop, jotting down the pros and cons, things you might have to change about the house after you take possession, and any other details that stand out to you. It’s also a good idea to snap a few photos of each listing so you can look back on those details later and decide if they were really as great (or not-so-great, as the case may be) as you thought they were at first sight.

Relax and Make a Final Decision

After you’ve seen all your options, gather your notes and photos and take a little down time to review. Have lunch or dinner, a cup of coffee or a cocktail, and revisit your top favorite properties in your mind. You might even find that you want to go back and see a certain property one more time before making a final decision. Either way, take just a little time out from your fast-paced day of house hunting to ensure that you’re not rushing to a decision just so you can meet a deadline.

Once you’ve found the home you want, your real estate agent will help you write an offer that’s equal parts beneficial for you and attractive to the seller and submit it to the seller’s agent. With your agent working in your corner—and maybe a little luck on your side—you’ll be closing on your new house in no time at all.




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