Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester County Real Estate & Community News

 

Oct. 25, 2019

Taking on a Fixer-Upper as Your First Home

   Photo credit by Pixabay

The idea of buying a fixer-upper sounds appealing to many people. It’s an affordable way to buy the home of your dreams, but first-time home buyers need to be cautious before making this investment. Here is what you need to know before taking on a fixer-upper.

Before You Commit

Not everyone is well-equipped to buy a fixer-upper. Here are a few things you need to know to make sure this purchase is right for you.

  • Handyman skills. An older house will need some basic repairs. If you can’t do them, you may end up spending far more on services than you planned. 
  • Plenty of free time. Even if you’re not doing the bulk of updates yourself, you’re going to need time to take care of things like getting permits, selecting design elements, and so on.
  • Patience. This won’t be done overnight! It may take months to complete the project, so make sure you can wait.

Read more character traits that you might need from Architectural Digest.

Estimate What You Can Afford

Next, you should estimate how much you can afford to spend on a home. Begin by looking at your total annual income. Next, figure out how much of a down payment you will make and your monthly spending. Add in your APR, or the average annual percentage rate on your credit cards. Keep in mind that a home in a different neighborhood or with more square footage than your current living space could mean higher monthly bills. On top of that, you’ll need to budget for your home’s renovations.

Next, you’ll need to determine what kind of loan you can get. Bankrate has an excellent overview of the different loans first-time home buyers can get, depending on their qualifications.

How to Buy the Right Home

Choosing the right house is important in preventing you from wasting time and money on things like a poor foundation or leaky roof. While cosmetic problems may not be eye-catching, they are easy to fix. How can you tell the difference? Draft On Design recommends hiring a home inspector before purchasing a fixer-upper. You should also consider asking for a reduced price when purchasing a home that is in bad shape or tacking on a “hassle factor” fee. This fee is reserved for when time-consuming repairs must be done before you can comfortably live in the home.

It’s important that you have a budget and stick to it when purchasing your home and doing renovations. Making Sense of Cents has a helpful article on how to save money while working on your fixer-upper.

Tackling the Renovation

Once you have everything in place, your next job is deciding what projects to work on and how to tackle them. Your first decision is whether you should live there while the renovations are ongoing. You will likely need to live elsewhere if you are doing major overhauls of foundational elements. If so, your first updates must be those that will allow you to move in. Also, keep in mind how long you’ll be out of the home. If seasons change, you might need to work on heating or air conditioning.

If not, you have more leeway. Homes.com states that flooring is the first thing to check and update, and has plenty of tips on how. This Old House advises starting with the entryway and improving curb appeal. If you have duplicate or unused rooms that need updating, that’s an easy choice.

However, comfort might be a top objective. Working bathrooms, a completed bedroom, and a kitchen that works will make life easier as you continue the work on your home. Before you tackle any of these projects, make sure you have the right tools for the job, including sanders, hammers, and power drills.

Buying a fixer-upper for your first home is not impossible. With proper planning and a fluid budget, you can get the home of your dreams at a price you can afford.

Post was guest written by Erin Reynolds.

Posted in Buying a Home
July 5, 2019

A Home for Two: Why You Should Downsize After the Kids Leave

The extra bathrooms, the big yard, the playground down the street — these were all wonderful to have when the kids were young, but now that they’re grown and gone, they don’t fit your lifestyle anymore. Even though you imagine living in a smaller home, you’re not sure if you’re ready to say goodbye to the home you raised your family in. It’s a common predicament for recent empty nesters, but downsizing comes with perks that are worth a second look.

Moving to a smaller house doesn’t just mean fewer floors to sweep, although it’s certainly a great perk. Outside of major systems that exist in every home -- like the roof, HVAC system, and water heater -- a smaller home means less maintenance. Even if you’re not using them, extra rooms are still collecting dust and need to be cleaned. And eventually, you end up filling the extra space with stuff, adding to your list of chores. 

Unless you’re heading to the countryside, the move will probably mean less yard maintenance as well. Yes, there’s something nice about spending a Saturday afternoon tending the lawn. But now that you’re kid-free, you have a lot more options for outdoor recreation. Instead of pushing a mower, why not grow a garden, learn to fish, or take up hiking?

Not only will you save time when you downsize, but you’ll save money too. Even if your house itself isn’t much cheaper (is there any better time to finally move into that hip neighborhood or get that designer kitchen you’ve dreamed of?), you’ll save in other ways. Lower square footage means lower utility bills, and now that you’re no longer a hub for neighborhood kids, you can scale back your homeowner’s insurance. You can also choose to move out of a homeowner’s association to save on HOA fees; according to Time, the average HOA fee is more than $300 a month. And if you do buy a less-expensive home, you’ll save on property taxes and have some money to add to your retirement accounts or vacation fund.

Despite the perks, moving isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Before you even start thinking about packing up the house, you have to make sure it’s ready to sell. Between damage and dated designs, a house that’s been lived in for several years will need improvements to maximize its resale value.

Sometimes, this is as simple as a fresh coat of paint and a few flooring fixes, but if you’ve raised a few rambunctious kids, yours might need a little more work. Start by assessing the major systems, including the foundation, roof, heating and cooling system, and plumbing, for problems, and call in licensed professionals to make repairs and replacements as needed.

Hopefully, your home’s infrastructure is in good condition and you only have to worry about cosmetic fixes. In addition to the walls and flooring, look at your appliances, counters, cabinets, and lighting fixtures. If these are dated or dingy, it can make your whole house look drab. If you’re not sure, check what features other homes on the market are offering. If they’re all more modern than yours, it’s probably time to update.

If you’re thinking of moving in the next few years, start working on preparing your home now. You’ll be able to spread out the costs over time and spend time enjoying the improvements before you sell. 

You might think a smaller house has less to offer, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. (Just check out these stylish small homes on Design*Sponge!) There’s a lot of livability to be found in small homes, whether it’s a cozy bungalow nestled near the city center or a condo by the slopes. If downsizing is on your mind, start planning how you’ll get your home ready to sell, and dreaming about what’s next.

Image via Unsplash

Post was guest written by Erin Reynolds.

April 23, 2019

Setting Up For Success: Your First Rental

If you’ve never owned a vacation home before, be prepared to learn a lot about taxes, lease agreements, and customer service. But these lessons will come with time and experience, and you will work out the kinks in no time. Right now, you are probably most interested in making the best impression on your guests, earning rave reviews, and supplementing your income. From setting up the ideal bedroom to taking photos that showcase your home’s appeal, the following suggestions can help you get started.

What your guests want

You already know that your location plays a role in how often you lease your property and how much it will command per night. But more than being walking distance from the attractions, vacationers want a cozy rental that feels like home.

Starting in the bedroom, you’ll want to make sure it’s a restful retreat. After all, nobody wants to plan for a week of relaxation only to be kept awake thanks to an uncomfortable bed or paper thin walls. Angie’s List offers a rundown of what a restful bedroom should have. This list includes blackout shades, cozy bedding, clutter-free decor, and sounds that lull you into slumber. In addition to these things, you will also want to make sure to have extra pillows and blankets. If your home has a view, position the bed to take advantage of the scenery.

The kitchen and bathroom are other areas to pay close attention to. Breckenridge Vacation properties explains that a well-stocked kitchen should include everything needed to cook, including a pantry filled with a few staples. A cookbook with local recipes is a nice touch, and a coffee maker is almost non-negotiable. Provide sample bottle toiletries in the bathroom, including shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. These items are ridiculously inexpensive but hold great value to anyone who forgot to pack the essentials. You can pick up a supply at your local dollar store or buy in bulk online.

When your rental targets outdoor enthusiasts, such as beach- or mountain-goers, make the outdoor space fun, functional, and accessible. An outdoor patio with dining table, a simple fire pit, or play area for families with children will go a long way toward increasing customer satisfaction. These outdoor living space examples are great inspiration. 

Attract attention

It doesn’t matter if you have a luxury condo, backyard apartment, or an outlandish vacation rental, your photographs and property description are what draw people in. Get comfortable behind the camera or hire a professional to help you photograph the best features of your home. Taking your own photos is work, but it pays off and will help you stand out in the crowd. Before you start snapping away, stage the property by cleaning it from top to bottom. Then, open the windows to take advantage of the natural light. Don’t be afraid to light a fire and show off the best of each space and from multiple views.

Make things clear and convenient

In addition to an accurate property description, you also want to be very clear on your rental policies. Money stresses that a strong rental agreement combined with a required security deposit can help guard against rowdy vacationers. Make sure your guests are well aware of your policies before they schedule their booking. Important points to note include the cancellation timeline, method of payment, occupancy limit, and any restrictions, such as pets or smoking, that would result in the loss of their security deposit.

Launching your vacation rental business is fun and exciting. And even if you plan to stop with just one property, it’s a learning experience. But with a few pre-emptive steps, such as having a clear-cut rental agreement and a clean, comfortable, and well-equipped property, you can find success and supplement your income.

Contact Christopher Louviere to purchase your first rental property in Charleston SC!

Image via Pixabay

Post was guest written by Erin Reynolds.

Oct. 30, 2018

Insurance Provider

Anderson Insurance Associates - Parker McMillan

https://www.aiasc.com/

Phone: 843-614-5078

~ Automobile ~ Homeowners ~ Flood ~

~ Watercraft ~ Life ~ Health ~ Business ~

Oct. 26, 2018

Charleston SC Real Estate November Update

Thanksgiving month is here!  Let’s give thanks that all the hurricanes missed us again this year.  They always look like they’re coming our way, but they usually get turned by the gulf stream and hit poor Cape Hatteras.  The weather is so great right now that they’re going to let us have an extra hour in November.  On the table again are oysters, basketball, Holiday Festival of Lights, and chili. 

 

Here is your calendar of events for November:

 

1-3: Coastal Carolina Fair still in town, Ladson

1-3: Scottish Games and Highland Gathering

1-4: Disney on Ice, N Chas Coliseum

2: Phantasmagorical Candlelight Concert, Unitarian Church

3: Harvest Festival, Johns Island County Park

3: Boots, Bottles, and Blessings – Wadmalaw

3: Heather Land, Gaillard

3: Take Ten: A Decade of Jazz Gala and Concert, Memminger

4: Bob Dylan, N Chas PAC

4: Charleston Battery Food Truck Festival, MUSC Health Stadium

4: Isle of Palms Marina Festival

8: Charleston Literary Festival, Library Society and Dock Street Theatre

8: Spyro Gyra, Chas Music Hall

8: Vince Gill, N Chas PAC

9: Keb Mo, Gaillard

9-30: Holiday Festival of Lights, James Island County Park

10: 14th Annual Fur Ball, Francis Marion

10: Shrimp and Grits Festival, Joe Riley Stadium

11: Kris Kristofferson, Chas Music Hall

13: Daughtry, Chas Music Hall

15-18: 11th Annual Charleston Classic NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

15: Dwight Yoakam, Chas Music Hall

16: Ray LaMontagne, N Chas PAC

16: 7th Annual Some on the Harbor BBQ Throwdown, Chas Harbor Resort and Marina

17: 19th Annual Chas Animal Society Chili Cook-Off and Oyster Roast, Riverfront Park

18: Spamalot, Gaillard

22: 41st Annual Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble, Marion Square

23: Drivin and Cryin, Chas Music Hall

24: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, N Chas PAC

30: Sounds of Charleston from Gospel to Gershwin, Circular Congregational Church

 

For the 5th consecutive year, Charleston has been chosen as the #1 City in the US and Canada by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Amazon has ordered 20,000 Mercedes Sprinter Vans from our local factory in North Charleston.  And Volvo is hinting there will be a third vehicle manufactured here in addition to the S60 and XC90.  United Airlines also just ordered 9 new 787’s to be built at our Boeing Plant.  All this manufacturing is always a good thing.  Obviously, this probably has a lot to do with the growth in our real estate market. 2018 will be very close to matching the record sales of 2017.  And the median price is at $272k, up 7.1% year to date over 2018.  Remember, there will be an economic recession at some point in the future.  However, real estate usually holds its value during recessions.  This is one of the many great things about owning real estate. You will not likely ever see a real estate downturn like 2008 ever again. 

Oct. 6, 2018

Financial Planning

Coastal Wealth Management - Byron Stahl

http://www.coastalwm.com/

Phone: 843-388-4300

Oct. 6, 2018

Window Tinting

Tint Farm - Jonathan Farmer

http://www.tintfarm.com/

Phone: 843-224-9282

Oct. 6, 2018

Mortgage Lender

Movement Mortgage - Sherri Drolapas

https://movement.com/lo/sherri-drolapas/

Phone: 843-343-1751

Oct. 6, 2018

Real Estate Attorney

Charpia Law Firm LLC

http://www.charpialaw.com/

Phone: 843-261-7026

 

 

Butler and College

https://www.bandclawfirm.com/

Phone: 843-284-8676

Oct. 6, 2018

Home Warranty

American Home Shield - Sugie Stout

https://ae.ahs.com/sstout

Phone: 843-327-5700