The Charleston Coast From Our View...
More people are watching home improvement television these days, and because of that they often think they need to do a wholesale remodel in order to sell their homes. That thought can be immobilizing and cause homeowners to hesitate listing their home for sale because the tasks seem overwhelming so they do nothing.
Selling your home can be an emotional experience as well, so concentrate on what you can do to keep your eyes on the prize. Here are some low or no-cost things homeowners can do to help sell their home quickly and for top dollar.
Clean off your porch and approach to the home. If items have accumulated there that are not inviting, relocate them. Make it look like a great place to have a cold beverage or cup of coffee. Sweep off any dirt and especially clear out plants that are past their prime.
Make sure all your light bulbs are working, and that they match in each fixture if not throughout the home. You can ruin a great photo of your foyer if you have two incandescent bulbs and six CFL bulbs in the chandelier and they all cast off a different shade of light. Also, consider using “curly” CFL bulbs only in shaded fixtures where the bulb is not exposed and use other energy efficient bulbs that are smooth in those that are exposed.
Turn on all lights in the home including the ones you don’t regularly use for every showing. Think about the extra lights in the foyer that may only serve a decorative function on most days. Don’t forget the bedside lamps in bedrooms you do not frequent. In the bathrooms, make sure you turn on the overhead lights, the sconces and the one you never use above the shower.
Leave only three items on your counters and stash everything else. It can seem like a tremendous sacrifice and when I ask sellers to consider it, they often have a minor freak out. Your slight inconvenience in having to move appliances to a bedroom closet a couple of times a week is worth it if it gets people to see your great counter space. It makes a much better photo, and you don’t have to live like that forever, just until that contract comes in and the showings end. You might be surprised how little you notice the difference!
I often recommend having a plastic laundry basket ready at hand for last minute showings. Grab it and stash daily clutter and pet toys on a quick walk through – the handles make it easy to stick it in the back seat as you leave so you don’t have to find a home for each item immediately. Take every showing you can possibly take and only decline if it is absolutely necessary. It may be inconvenient, but remember buyers are likely seeing several homes on any given day and they are your competition. And don’t forget, as soon as you get that contract ratified you can stop making your bed every day!
“The housing and stock markets continue to be the leaders in the economy. In August, showings and pending sales remained at strong levels while housing inventory remained limited, continuing the competitive bidding market we have seen in recent months. With the stock indexes at or near record highs as mortgage rates remain near record lows, signs point to a busy fall housing market.”
~ Charleston Trident Association of Realtors® (CTAR)
Market Statistics by Area:
Closed Sales +11.6% | Median Sales Price +10.7% | Months Supply -52.4%
- Downtown Charleston
- Upper Charleston Peninsula
- Upper Mount Pleasant
- Lower Mount Pleasant
- Daniel Island
- Folly Beach
- Isle of Palms/Wild Dunes
- Sullivan’s Island
- Kiawah Island
- Seabrook Island
- James Island
- West Ashley
- Johns Island
- North Charleston
- Goose Creek
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4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths | 3,417 sq ft | Offered at $1,759,000
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The Listing Appointment
Currently, I am meeting clients outside while the weather is fine – fortunately that is most of the year here in Charleston. Delivering my marketing presentation is typically around the kitchen table with clients in close proximity as I review the unique marketing plan for selling their home quickly and for top dollar. Now I awkwardly hold the information up like show and tell, fumbling with ill-fitting gloves, while papers blow across the yard as I explain the benefits of professional architectural photography. We have a good laugh and keep going. I have always had contracts on hand so we can sign as I explain each paragraph to them. Because we can sign documents electronically, I am forgoing explaining in person to limit exposure, and then go back and email the docs explaining them on the phone.
One of the documents we need to sign is a form that dunes properties has implemented to protect our clients and others. The form specifies what protocols the homeowner requires such as masks, gloves, sanitizer, and booties. It gives clients an opportunity to assess their risk tolerance and it helps facilitate the conversation. It also gives them peace of mind and in one case, gave their tenants confidence to have people in their space. These instructions are posted for each listing so that buyer’s agents are informed prior to scheduling the showing. I then assure my homeowners I will be present for all showings in order to enforce the policy. I have had to turn people away who failed to comply, but it was the right thing to do.
Prepping Your Home For Sale
Once the docs are signed, I work on the staging necessary to get top notch photos. I have a talented person that often helps me with staging, however while in the past I used her on nearly every project, I am limiting the contacts involved and doing much of that work myself. Staging remains crucial to the listing process and I will take on the additional tasks. We all know “click bait” is how we now sell homes. If that first photo doesn’t pop, buyers will move on in less than a second. My regular photographer also has his set of protocols as well. All lights are to be on when he arrives, all doors are to be ajar, and masks are required. Clients wait with me outside while he works his magic.
Showing The Property
I have recommended to my clients that they limit each appointment to no more than three people at a time. Since I am present for all of the showings now, I want to protect my clients and myself. I had one extremely popular listing with more showings than I could schedule. Ordinarily I would allow for overlapping showings to accommodate everyone, but by limiting to three people at a time, we simply had to turn some folks away. I promise, I have never done that before! For long conversations I always suggest we move outside. And, in every situation I am encouraging appropriate social distancing. Buyers and agents are taking their own precautions as well. In early March, when I was showing property and before safety protocols were the new normal, I was insisting on hand sanitizer reminding my buyers how many door handles they had just touched. While there has been a trend for years now of taking separate cars, I have not seen anyone roll up to a showing and hop out of the agent’s vehicle.
The Good News
Sales are up! Sellers are benefiting from a very low inventory, and people are laughing with me as we figure this out together and make people’s dreams come true.