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10 Items to Check on a Final Walkthrough

Every buyer wants to know that the home they’re buying is in proper shape before closing day. More often than not, small previously unnoticed issues can crop up after new homeowners move in. This is why we always recommend doing a final walkthrough before closing day. A walkthrough is especially important if you choose not to have an official home inspection. Here’s a list of ten things to look for on your final walkthrough.

 

  1. Inspect ceilings, walls, and floors. Now that the seller has moved out and all the rooms are (hopefully) empty, you can get a good look at every surface. It’s probably not worth addressing things like nail pops or a not-so-great paint job. But if you see a possible mold spot that was previously hidden behind a sofa, you’ll definitely want to get your real estate agent’s advice on where to go from there.

  2. Turn on and off every light switch. Bring a new lightbulb with you in case there aren’t any in the home. Make sure you know what every switch does and whether or not they work properly.

  3. Test heating and air conditioning. Simply adjust the thermostat and make sure each one works.

  4. Test all appliances. Turn on the stove, check the fridge and freezer, run the (empty) dishwasher for a few minutes, try out the garbage disposal and exhaust fans.

  5. Check all doors to make sure they don’t stick or have loose hinges or knobs. Make sure the locks work properly.

  6. Open and close all windows. Make sure they slide up and down easily, and check for drafty gaps.

  7. Check kitchens and baths for leaks and cracks. A leaky faucet can make a big difference in your water bill. Inspect areas around pipes and faucets for signs of water damage.

  8. Run the water in all sinks, showers, and tubs, and flush toilets.

  9. Test the garage door opener, if there is one. If there isn’t an automatic opener, make sure the door opens and closes properly.

  10. Check for any items you thought would be included in the sale of the house. These include things like refrigerators, light fixtures, and built-ins. The contract should specifically state whether or not they are included, but if it hasn’t been addressed and you find that they’re missing, talk with your agent to see what can be done.

 

Many of the items on this list are things that a home inspector will look for and advise you about. He or she can help you come up with a list of things that should be addressed. One caveat, however: try to keep the list to things that absolutely must be taken care of before moving in. Be smart about what repairs you ask the seller to do before closing. In a seller’s market, asking for small, insignificant repairs could be the seller’s deciding factor between accepting your offer or a competing one.

March 2015 Charleston Real Estate Market Report

March 2015 was yet another great month for the Charleston real estate market. A total of 1,420 homes sold last month at a median price of $221,730. Sustainable growth can be seen in the 2015 year-to-date figures, which show a 23% increase in the number of homes sold from the same time last year, and a stable 1% growth in median price.

“People believe in Charleston, businesses are investing in Charleston, and that’s reflecting very well on our housing market," says 2015 CTAR President Matt DeAntonio. "With more than 3,000 home sales so far this year, consumers believe that Charleston is a good investment…"

Recent news of top investors turning their attention toward Charleston leaves little doubt that our city will continue its steady growth.

"Our population is growing, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down. Our state leadership has worked hard to bring the jobs here—we need to ensure that there is attractive, affordable housing available for the workers who will fill these jobs," said DeAntonio.

Check our infographic below for a breakdown of the most recent market statistics for the tri-county area.

 

Market Infographic

 

 

How-To Tuesday: Give Your Guest Room a Boutique Hotel Makeover

In regards to decor and atmosphere, the guest room is probably one of the most overlooked rooms. Today, we’re bringing you some ideas for giving your guests the royal treatment—at least as far as accommodations are concerned. Here are just a few tips for giving your guest room the look and feel of a luxurious boutique hotel.

 

  • Create space by playing around with furnishings and decor. For example, mounting curtains at ceiling level draws the eye up and makes a room appear taller.
  • Add trim if you don’t already have it. Details like crown molding and wider baseboards can go a long way to dress up an otherwise basic room. If you already have crown molding, think about adding a customized touch with a smaller piece of molding underneath.
  • The bed and other seating options should appear plush and inviting. Make the bed with a fluffy duvet and linens with high thread counts. White linens with touches of color or pattern here and there are more inviting than all-over detail.
  • Use pillow inserts that are just a tad bigger than your pillow covers for another plush, custom look. Even the limpest throw pillow can become appealing using this technique.
  • Take chances where color is concerned. Most boutique hotels are good about using bold choices without them being too in-your-face. Use paint to create sleek, sophisticated touches. For example, paint the inside of the door a glossy black. Paint the closet walls a vibrant color. You can even leave the walls white and just paint the trim for an unexpected detail.
  • Small touches add up to make a big difference, but don’t go overboard with accessories. Think minimalism. Dress up the room with fresh flowers in chic vases. Group interesting embellishments into odd-numbered groups. Add a sleek, coordinated stack of books to a table. Leave a pitcher of chilled water and glasses on the bedside table.
  • Keep personalized details out of the guest room. Don’t leave family photos on the walls or winter clothes in the closet.


Put these tips to the test, and your guests will feel like they’re vacationing in the most luxurious hotel, making them happy and comfortable. What other ideas do you have for turning a guest bedroom into a boutique-style boudoir?

Easy Kitchen and Bath Updates to Help Sell Your Home

Springtime is one of the best times to sell a home in the Lowcountry. The weather is warmer, which can bring more showings, and inventory is low, which raises your chances of selling quickly. Even though Charleston real estate has recently hit record-breaking numbers, it is important to pay attention to what buyers are looking for. Simply listing your home without considering buyers' wants and needs could lead to more days on the market and lower offers. Two things that top the list of buyers' rants and raves are kitchens and bathrooms. If remodeling/renovating isn't in your budget, worry not! We've got some less costly, simpler options. In fact, the smallest details sometimes make all the difference.

Kitchen

Change cabinet hardware. This is a super easy way to update the look of a kitchen (or a bath). Check out your local hardware store or shop online for literally thousands of options at any price point.

Replace countertops. Stay with us here; replacing counters doesn't have to be a budget buster. There are lots of less expensive options out there right now. Even laminate countertops have gotten a modern look.

Paint or redo cabinets. A deep cleaning and a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for outdated cabinets. Skim through a few decor blogs and magazines to get an idea of what buyers might be looking for.

Replace worn flooring. Sometimes, something as simple as swapping out vinyl for ceramic tile can give a kitchen or bath a whole new look. Ceramic tile can be purchased for less than a dollar per square foot, and it's not difficult to DIY it in a weekend.

Make sure things are cohesive. If you don't have a decorator's eye, recruit a friend or your Realtor to point out any issues that stick out.


Bath

Clean up tiles. Scrub grout and replace cracked or broken tiles. A little elbow grease goes a long way toward making a bathroom look new again.

Replace faulty or dated fixtures. Consider swapping out a plain, dull faucet for a shiny new modern look. Switch out rusty screws in any other fixtures. Even installing a new toilet seat can make a difference.

Add a large mirror. Interior designers have relied on this trick for a long time. If your bathroom is on the small side, a large mirror will create the illusion of space and light.

Paint walls and ceilings. A fresh coat of neutral paint is a must, especially if the decor is based on a theme or motif. Buyers don't want to see your personal touch. They want to see a neutral space that they can make their own.

While these two rooms are wildly different in terms of usage, the general idea should be the same: make it modern yet comfortable. What are some other easy, inexpensive improvements you've made recently? Tell us in the comments section below!

14 More Hacks for Homeowners

Need a way to hide your television when it's not in use? Tired of wrangling those paperclips and rubberbands? Sometimes the easiest solution is the best solution! Our previous post on homeowner hacks was so popular that we thought we'd bring you a few more. Read on for a new list of 14 hacks for homeowners.

1. Can't figure out where the studs are in your walls? Studs are typically 16 inches apart. Find one, and you're golden!

2. Keep locks from seizing by spraying with Teflon once a year.

3. Televisions can bring down the decor in a room. We love these ideas for hiding them when not in use. 

4. Clean stove vents in a jiffy. In a stainless steel pot, bring water to a boil. Add baking soda until you get a good fizz. With a pair of tongs, dip the vents in for about a minute. If they’re too big to fit in the pot, do one side at a time.

5. Never misplace paint colors again! Stick a piece of painter’s tape on the back of a light switch cover. With a permanent marker, write the color name, swatch number, and date. Include a piece of the color swatch if desired.

6. Turn your shower into a spa by hanging a sprig of eucalyptus from the shower head. 

7. Never lose another thumbtack or paperclip. Use a spice rack to organize small office supplies or craft items. 

8. Keep track of nails when hanging pictures by gluing a magnet to the bottom of your hammer.

9. Ants in the sandbox? Add about a cup of ground cinnamon. It does wonders to keep bugs out.

10. Speaking of bugs, burn a little bundle of sage in your outdoor fire pit to keep pesky mosquitoes and gnats away.

11. Save money on dryer sheets. Soak a cloth in fabric softener and hang it out to dry for a couple of days. Instead of using fabric softening sheets, add the dried cloth to every dryer load. You should get about 30 uses out of it.

12. Mount a small wire basket under a desk to keep a power strip off the floor and out of sight.

13. Tired of basic brass doorknobs? Give them new life with a paint like Rustoleum Oil Rubbed bronze spray.

14. Clean baseboards with dryer sheets. It keeps dust from sticking, lengthening the time between cleanings.

There you have it! What other hacks can you think of for homeowners who need a quick fix?

 

Image courtesy of papaija2008 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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