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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.

How To Prepare Your House For a Home Inspection

A home inspection may not seem like it has much to do with the seller (aside from the responsibility of making repairs afterward, that is). But the seller’s participation in preparing a listing beforehand can help make the inspection process easier on all involved parties. Here are a few quick and easy tips on how you, the seller, can help simplify the experience for everyone.

Don’t try to hide defects. If it’s obvious that something isn’t working, make a note of it for the inspector and buyer instead of leaving it as a surprise. Let them know if and how you’re planning to have it fixed. This will also show the buyer that you are willing to work with them to get the deal closed.

Make attics and crawlspaces easily accessible. The quicker the inspector can reach every area of your home, the quicker they’ll be out of your hair. Think about leaving a note that tells the inspector where to locate the crawlspace and attic access as well. Directions for septic system locations, if applicable, are also extremely helpful.

Clean up before the inspector arrives. Save yourself the embarrassment of having a complete stranger handle your underwear. Remove clothes from the washer and dryer beforehand. Also, make sure kitchen appliances are reasonably clean and clear of dishes. Inspectors are required to check that all appliances are in working order.

Replace any burned-out bulbs. If a lightbulb is not working, the inspector might have to check the entire fixture to find out whether or not it functions. Save everyone extra time and effort by making sure all your lightbulbs are in working order.

Make arrangements for pets. Even if you have the friendliest pet on the planet, he or she could get in the inspector’s way and slow things down. Inspectors need access to the entire home, so it’s not necessarily enough to restrain pets to one area of the house. Instead, take your pup to the dog park or book your cat’s grooming session to coincide with the inspection.

Are there any other tips you’ve come across as a buyer or seller that you think could help speed along the inspection process? Are there any odd hindrances you’ve run across during a home inspection? Tell us in the comments section below!

 

 

Friday Five // November 10th, 2017

Back by popular demand, it’s the Friday Five! Check out these five events happening around town this weekend. Get into the holiday spirit early, meet some amazing young adult authors, and shuck some oysters for a good cause. Whatever you choose to do this weekend, have fun and be safe!

Early holiday season enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that this weekend marks the opening of one of our favorite holiday traditions: the James Island Holiday Festival of Lights. The opening ceremony takes place this evening, Friday, November 10th, from 6:30pm until 9:00pm. Activities include a tree lighting, awards presentation, and live music from Lowcountry Powerbrass.

Voracious young readers will meet and greet some of their favorite authors this weekend at YALLFest, the largest young adult book festival in the South, and one of the biggest in the country. This yearly, two-day event is hosted by Blue Bicycle Books and features numerous book signings, panels, and special events. This year’s authors include Veronica Roth (author of the Divergent Series), Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (authors of the Lowcountry-based Beautiful Creatures series), and the keynote speaker, actor and author Jason Segel (yes, that Jason Segel).

Break out your big ol’ hats and race day finery! The Steeplechase of Charleston takes place this Sunday, November 12th, at The Plantation at Stono Ferry Race Track. Gates open at 9am with opening ceremonies beginning at noon. The horses won’t be the only ones competing, either. Make sure to sign up for the Ladies’ Hat Contest, the Men’s Best Dressed Contest, and the Best Tailgate Contest.

Looking for a fun event that benefits a great cause? The Lowcountry Autism Foundation hosts its fourth annual Oysters for Autism event this Sunday, November 12th. The event takes place at Bowens Island Restaurant from 4-7pm and includes all-you-can-eat oysters, hot dogs and chili, live music, and a silent auction.

On Saturday, November 11th, Deep Water Vineyards hosts Boots, Bottles, & a Blessing, its annual Blessing of the Vines Festival. Witness the blessing of the muscadine grapevines, enjoy live music, and eat and drink to your heart’s content in the beautiful setting of Deep Water Vineyard on Wadmalaw Island.

 

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