The Charleston Coast From Our View...
Zestimate®. It has “estimate” right in its name and yet it can be very problematic for both buyers and sellers alike. Sellers are frustrated when the selling price located right above the Zestimate® appears to be overpriced and hurts their cause. On the other hand, sellers often sit down with me at a listing appointment and have unreasonable expectations for what they can realize in the sale of their home because the Zestimate® is too high. Buyers are disappointed when they realize the home they just fell in love with online, is not going to be purchased for the Zestimate® price. Zillow® has in fact, offered a prize to anyone who can rewrite their program to become more accurate. They have also been sued for conducting appraisals without a license.
There are several reasons this “one size fits all” product is not always accurate. Sure, they have complicated algorithms that look at square footage, bedrooms and zip codes but there are too many other elements that cannot be factored into determining value. My home for example, is on Johns Island in a small neighborhood with 15 homes built in 2005-2006. Zillow® will aggregate my home with the mobile homes nearby and a horse farm down the road to determine the value. Just because these homes are nearby, does not mean they are comparable. Even if you can narrow down to similar homes in a large subdivision, often times there are phases in those subdivisions that can account for differences in quality and materials.
In Charleston, views greatly affect the home’s value. The differences between marshfront, marshview, waterview, riverview, oceanview, and oceanfront are unique and sometimes subtle. Likewise, my Johns Island home faces the other homes that are similar in quality to mine, but five of the homes in our subdivision face across the street from the mobile homes. That type of view can also affect value.
Perhaps the most important reason to use a qualified Realtor® is to assess condition. Zillow® cannot see inside your home to see your upgraded kitchen and beautiful tiled bath. Likewise, it cannot see into your neighbor’s house to see that baseboards are missing, door handles are broken, and windows have not been maintained. A home with lots of dated wallpaper and worn finishes is treated the same as a newer and more updated one. My neighbor’s property has beautiful, big Live Oaks and mine does not. Even a qualified appraiser might have trouble assessing the inherent value of the trees. There are also many things only someone who knows the area and is informed about the community can bring to the table as well. Did that neighborhood experience flooding during the recent hurricane, is there a new school being built nearby, or even what new zoning might be coming from the local municipality. A good real estate agent stays up to date on local news and events. In addition, an experienced agent will know what questions to ask homeowners such as traffic patterns, proximity to local businesses and if high tide ever makes travel problematic.
Condition of the exterior, interior and neighborhood all influence value. As an experienced Realtor®, I can also tell you that Zillow® will not be able to determine if the home you just loved on line smells like cat pee in person!
Call me and I will come to your home to conduct a free Comparative Market Report to find out what your home might be worth.
Are you thinking of putting your house on the market but are daunted by the long to-do list? You may be suffering from overexposure to HGTV. These are some of the symptoms: Do you secretly think you are a long-lost Property Brother? Do you want to marry Chip and Joanna Gaines? Are you still toying with the idea of knocking down that wall? You may be overexposed to home improvement psychology and don’t know it. Yes, those projects you see on TV do make a difference, but most homes don’t need a wholesale makeover.
I sold a home in Hanahan that was on the market for less than a week after not selling with another agent earlier in the year. We did not rip out the kitchen or have the entire interior repainted. We used a much more effective and more importantly cost – effective technique – staging. My clients were talking about all the things they thought they needed to do before putting it back on the market and I told them not to spend a dime until my staging expert and I could see the home in person.
We started by walking through the home and making a list of things to edit. I am convinced that the home did not sell the first time because there was too much furniture that had accumulated through the years and too much “stuff” in general. We made a list of the furniture to be taken out to show just how spacious the home actually was. We also itemized the decor items that needed to be packed up before the photographer arrived. We gave them their assignments throughout the inside and outside of the house and then set to work ourselves.
We literally shopped their house. The large vases in the kitchen replaced the visual clutter in the dining room hutch with their simple lines and pops of color. All but one of the silk plants were removed and personal collections were packed for moving. Perhaps the most difficult task was the living room. My clients had recently purchased two large sofas and a large chair that filled the space. They were super comfy but the placement was not ideal. We moved them and some other pieces around the room to better advantage. “But you can’t see the tv from the chair over there.” Said the wife. I explained that they did not have to live that way, but that it worked better for the photography. Every smart Realtor® knows that every home sale starts on the internet, and the most important factor for that medium is high quality, attractive photos.
My staging expert and I have lots of experience in knowing what makes for great shots, and sometimes it’s very minor changes. This home has a pool. We cleaned up some “stuff” that had accumulated around the exterior, moved one of the tables from the screened porch to poolside and asked the homeowner to purchase a colorful plastic pitcher and two beverage glasses, with strict instructions not to spend more than $5. I told her “Since there is nothing in your glassware that is suitable, please go to the dollar store and get something that’s blue or green, and make sure it’s something you will use at the new house.” She spent $4 and got just the right thing to make an inviting shot that helped the viewers imagine themselves relaxing by the pool.
The only other expense, was in the master bedroom. The homeowner was waiting to get new bed linens so that they would look great in the new house. This bedroom was gold and the new house was blue. She thought she had to match the walls to the linens when in fact, contrasting colors make for better pictures. I put her in my car and we drove to Bed Bath and Beyond. They had nice things but the ones we liked were too expensive. We found just the right thing at Target and spent only $70 and got shams, comforter, bedskirt and pillows! And, they worked well for the new home as well. On photography day, I stole the fancy square pillows from the guestroom long enough to get the shot and put them back for that photo.
Sweat equity was really what this particular home needed to sell and sell quickly for full asking price. Call me and I will prepare a comparable market analysis for your home, hire the staging expert on my nickel, and together we can decide what we can do to make your to-do list shorter and less expensive so you can find your next dream home now.
Residential Real Estate Sales Down Just 10% During Peak Of COVID-19 Crisis
“The demand for housing in the Charleston region was so strong prior to COVID-19 spreading in our community, we have been very lucky to experience a minimal and what we expect to be very temporary drop in sales during April. Buyer interest has remained high throughout this global crisis and Realtors® have been able to continue safely working with clients from a largely virtual position, serving the public and finding shelter for families in a time when it’s never been more important to have a safe place to call home.” ~ 2020 CTAR President Bobette Fisher
Closed Sales -10.4% | Median Sales Price +7.1% | Months Supply -27.9%
Market Statistics by Area
- 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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In the News
📸 @CharlestonCityPaper | Most Charleston county parks are now open to the public! No group activities such as picnics or close contact sports are allowed. In addition to social distancing, park goers are encouraged to consider wearing face masks. To read the entire article, visit: bit.ly/ChasCountyParkOpenings or visit bit.ly/CCPRCParkOpenings for the full list of open parks.
Charleston Coast Vacations
First, we’d like to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to nominate a #healthcarehero for our giveaway! We received so many wonderful entries and we wish we could give them ALL a vacation. They are all heroes and truly deserving.
Since we were overwhelmed with responses, we found a way to offer one more complimentary stay! The FOUR winners are: Heather Irving, Deidra Bibb, Amy Quinn, and Andrew Mashburn.
Congratulations and we can’t wait to see you on The Charleston Coast!