Upstate South Carolina Real Estate and News

Oct. 20, 2016

Greer Community Ministries

What is Greer Community Ministries? GCM is a faith based organization with the philosophy that, "no elderly, home bound or disadvantaged person in the Greater Greer area will go hungry."

How did it get started? In 1972 a Greer minister, Rev. Johnny Stack, and a committee of local citizens founded GCM with the purpose of beginning a Meals on Wheels program. The following year, 25 senior adults began receiving weekly Meals on Wheels. The Senior Dining, Food Pantry, and Sharon's Closet programs were added between 1973 and 1984.

According to the 2012 US Census, 227,642 South Carolina senior adults are isolated and living alone while 182,244 are threatened by hunger.

26,000 people live in the Greer area and 10.9% of our population is 65 or over while 21.86% percent of our families are below poverty levels. Many times individuals and their families must decide between buying food or paying for other necessities, such as housing, utilities, or medical care. For these reasons, GCM was created!

LeAnne the Broker here at the Expert Real Estate Team visited Greer Community Ministries to see what services they provided in our area. She said "you should go check it out, it was a real eye opener." Each weekday they have a senior dining program, where they provide Meals on Wheels for over 300 homebound, they have a food pantry and a clothing closet for those in need as well.

How can you help?

All of it is paid through grants, fundraising and DONATIONS!!!

There is a real need for coats, shoes, boys clothes and non-perishable foods. Our team is going through our closets and pulling out anything we don't wear and we are asking you to do the same. Our team will make sure that Greer Community Ministries receives any donations or items you drop off at our office (3165 N. Highway 14, Greer 29651). If you have any questions please feel free to call (864) 558-9054 or email assistant@carswellgroup.net.

Check out their website at www.GCMINC.org. Thank you for your generosity ahead of time!

Posted in Upstate Living
Feb. 18, 2016

City Spotlight - Simpsonville

City Spotlight

Simpsonville

History

Originally developed as a stagecoach stop in the 1820's, Simpsonville was once called "Plain". While the town struggled some during the Civil War, by 1885 a new rail line was set and the Woodside Cotton Mill helped solidify Simpsonville's status as one of Greenville counties most successful cities. Farmers Bank, now an insurance office, was actually one of the few Greenville County banks that did not collapse during the Great Depression. The strong history of Simpsonville has even been noticed on a national level, as several of its most prominent locations, including the Burdette Building and Simpsonville Baptist Church, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What It's Known For

Simpsonville is home to Heritage Park and the Charter Spectrum Amphitheater. While it was once the location of Freedom Weekend Aloft, it is now a prime space for events, concerts, sporting events, etc. Heritage Park even has a working replica miniature steam train! This outdoor epicenter has put Simpsonville on the map as one of Greenville Counties big hitters.

What Can You Do There

Not only are there plenty of outdoor activities among Simpsonville's many parks, but there is also a number of educational activities. The city has the Simpsonville Arts Foundation, which supports and promotes all genres of art in the Simpsonville area, and the historical walking tour, which guides history buffs through the early years of the town, discussing the buildings that helped shape the city to what it is now.

Why It's a Great Place to Live

Over the past few years, Simpsonville has really become a sought after location. In 2010, it was named "One of the Ten Best Towns for Families" by Family Circle Magazine, in 2011 it was named "One of the 25 Best Affordable Cities" by Money Magazine, and just in the last year, Simpsonville has seen an increase in job growth by 1.9% over the rest of the country. What does that mean exactly? It means that no matter what stage you are in, whether you're just starting out, settling into family life, or about to retire, Simpsonville is a great place to live during al of life's stages. 

 

Posted in Upstate Living
Feb. 9, 2016

Questions From the Kid

This week we had a local high school student job shadow in our office. Obviously she's never bought or sold a home before, so she had some questions. As a guest blogger, here is her take on the Real Estate world and some burning questions she needed to answer.

 

 

As a local high school student, I clearly didn't know much about the real estate world or buying and selling houses. I had expected this to be an easy job, searching for homes online to try and sell or getting phone calls and trying to find a buyer. I had some questions I was dying to find the answer to! Here are some of my questions I had and the answers I found.

 

What does it mean when an offer is contingent?

When an offer on a home is contingent, this means that an offer has been made and the owner has accepted it, but it's not necessarily a done deal. Contingencies are usually put into place for a buyer to be able to back out of a sale if anything goes wrong. Some of the most common contingencies fall under 3 major categories: appraisal, home inspection, and mortgage approval. A home inspection is when the buyer has the right to have the home professionally inspected. An appraisal contingency means that a third party is hired by the lender to evaluate the fair-market value of the home. If the appraisal value is lower than the sale price, then the appraisal contingency lets the buyer back out of the deal. A mortgage contingency protects the buyer and seller from getting into a sale without a proper loan. The buyer would then have a specified amount of time to get a loan that will cover the mortgage, If the buyer cannot get a lender to commit to a loan, then the buyer has the right to walk away from the sale without a down payment.

 

What is a foreclosure?

A foreclosure is the process of a homeowner's rights to a property that are being postponed due to failure of paying their mortgage. If the homeowner cannot pay the debt, fees, or sell the house then the house will then be put into a foreclosure auction.

 

If you or someone you know have any real estate questions, don't hesitate to call our office! 864-895-9791 We'd LOVE to help you!

Posted in Office Life
Feb. 4, 2016

To Stage or Not to Stage: The Million Dollar Question

 

To Stage or Not To Stage: The Million Dollar Question

If you've ever done anything with real estate, chances are you've heard the term "staging". If you haven't, here are the bullet points: staging means you are positioning/decorating/creating things to make a home look more appealing. The home doesn't necessarily need to look "lived in", but buyers like the idea of just having to bring a suitcase for their move-in-ready home. Let's go over the pros and cons of staging.

Pros

Staging really helps buyers understand the uses for the entire floor plan. That spare bedroom that has slowly become your catch-all room may be realistic, but buyers don't want realistic, they want perfection, they want fantasy! They want to think that they too will live in a neat as a pin home where everything is organized and in perfect order. Another, somewhat backwards, advantage is a properly staged home will make it seem as large and spacious as possible. This may seem strange, but in vacant homes, it's hard to envision how much space you'll actually have. A staged bedroom or living room can help buyers to see the possibilities they might have. As the saying goes, "you only have one shot at a first impression". A vacant home may not be as memorable as the staged home with the gorgeous mahogany table or amazing curb appeal.

Cons

Some buyers prefer to see vacant homes because it helps them better visualize putting their personality in it. Living in a staged home can also be hard on families with pets or small children. Having that extra pressure to have your home be perfect at a minutes' notice is quite stressful. One of the biggest cons of staging is the cost. Depending on if you hire a professional stager or do a few small renovations (or touch ups) then stage it yourself, it can quickly add up to a significant amount of money. In some instances, it may be worth the cost, but a lot of time it is not. 

Example

Here we have an example of a home vacant and staged..

 

.

Living Room

 

Dining Room

 

Bedroom

Particularly in the bedroom, the vacant space just doesn't look as large, but it was a blank slate, so it was easy to imagine my own touch on things. The staged areas also make it appear well-cared for, comfortable, and homey.

What do you think? Would you prefer to see a staged home or a vacant home?? Tell us what you think!

Posted in Buying
Jan. 18, 2016

City Spotlight - Travelers Rest

City Spotlight

Travelers Rest

History

Travelers Rest (or TR) has a unique beginning in that the city became populated by pure convenience. In the 1800's, travelers would stop and stay in the TR area for a few days or even a few months during the winter since mountain weather can be so unpredictable. Some of the travelers were "drovers", which were livestock hoarders. Drovers would herd different types of livestock from the north towards the lower part of the state. Inn owners who provided livestock pens became quite popular as drovers used TR as their resting place. With so many travelers, the need arose for basic businesses to call TR home. Between 1808 and 1883, TR had its own post office, churches and schools, including what is now known as Travelers Rest High School. Railway construction began in 1888 on the "Swamp Rabbit", which is the nickname of the train that traveled from North Greenville to River Falls. After not one, but two city incorporations, TR quickly began to grow. The early 1900's brought major industries and the reputation as one of the Upstate's heavy hitters.

What It's Known For

Travelers Rest has always been known as the go-between of Greenville and Spartanburg, but it is growing so rapidly, it has become a hot spot all its own! It even made it on the "15 of America's Coolest Small Towns" list in 2014 from the Huffington Post.

What Can You Do There?

It may appear to be a sleepy little town, but looks can be deceiving. Travelers Rest is a short drive from numerous state parks, including Jones Gap and Caesars Head, and other historical attractions, like Poinsett Bridge and Swamp Rabbit Trail. Downtown TR boasts numerous restaurants and shops (even a distillery!) With three large universities just minutes away, you'll likely find a sporting event or cultural attraction to attend.

Why It's a Great Place to Live

Travelers Rest has all the convenience of a large city while still having the feel of a peaceful little town. Not only is it continuing to grow in the Upstate, but it's starting to get national attention. There are a number of committees dedicated to the preservation of the city's history, so you know it's a city full of people who love where they live and are committed to keeping it an amazing place for generations to come.

Posted in Upstate Living
Jan. 8, 2016

Real Estate Myths and Misconceptions

Real Estate can be a tricky business. It's sort of like parenting: everyone has an opinion on the "right" way of doing things and if you don't follow all of the "rules", you're wrong. Here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions in real estate and a few about the agents themselves.

 

For Sellers

Bold colors can affect a sale

If you've ever sold a home, I'm sure you've been given the advice that you should paint the home in neutral colors before listing. It's true that bold colors can sometimes scare a buyer, but with the current DIY-craze, most buyers are able to look past the color and appreciate the bones of a home.

That renovation will Always pay off

You've just spent beaucoup bucks on that amazing master suite or kitchen remodel so you'll definitely get your money back, right? WRONG! Certain renovations, like a new roof or HVAC system, will probably help sell your home faster and large remodels, like kitchens and bathrooms, will give you some bang for your buck, but don't expect to get a 100% return. Don't do the large stuff just because you want to sell. In some cases, adding a bathroom or fixing a kitchen will increase your homes value, but that's not always the case. While it's smart to keep the idea of resell in the back of your mind, if you plan on living there for awhile, any remodels should be done for your benefit, not someone else's.

Spring is the best time to list

It's true that in spring the amount of buyers increases, but whether that's because of inventory increasing or the idea of spring puts change and "new-ness" into everyone's mind, who knows? Years ago, spring was a great time to buy because that allowed families to get settled before the new school year. Now, with so many buyers not worried about a school calendar, it's all up for grabs. An active and interested buyer will buy a home whether it's May or December.

For Buyers

You MUST have 20% for a down payment

Before the housing crisis and market crash, it was the norm to require a 20% down payment for a home. In a time where student loans didn't exceed a house payment and mortgage companies were more selective with their approvals, 20% was a minimum. Fast forward to the post bail-out economy, 20% is a maximum. For millennials in particular, it's almost impossible to save that much of anything considering how enormous student loan debt has gotten. Depending on the type of loan, the average down payment is around 10%.

An agent has to show you a home 

An agent's time is their money. When you call on a home you saw online or driving down the road, the agent who gets your call is likely juggling ten other people who are calling them as well, not to mention showings, closings, continuing education classes, and much much more. There is just not enough time for them to work with their serious buyers as well as every nosy neighbor who just wants to see their competition. If you're a serious buyer, many agents require a signed contract stating that the agent has your best interest in mind and you will remain committed to working with that agent (at least for a specified amount of time). If you are already committed to an agent, chances are another agent won't be able to show you anything.

For Buyers & Sellers

Not using a Realtor with save/make me more $$$

Yes, by using a Realtor there are more built-in commissions, fees, etc., so it may seem like a no brainer to go it alone since there is so much information online, but that couldn't be further from the truth. By NOT using a Realtor, you forfeit the benefit of having access to agent-only websites, using someone else's knowledge to get the best deal, knowing that someone has your best interest in mind and will work with you and not against you. The few dollars difference in not using a Realtor doesn't even come close to the expertise you will see by using one.

Agents

All agents are money hungry and only want to benefit themselves

Every profession has a small population of people working only for themselves and Real Estate is no different. However, the majority of agents are doing this job because they genuinely want to help others. They're not going to try and push the price up because they get more commission. The agent that represents you will work hard to negotiate the price you deserve. A good agent won't try and hide the ugly details. Disclosure is one of the biggest things about our job and it helps everyone involved to have the most information possible. That being said...

Agents must disclose everything!

Yes, all agents must disclose all material facts, however, it is considered discrimination for an agent to disclose any information that could at all be related to a specific class/race/ethnicity. It may seem crazy, but disclosing the crime rate or ethnic mix of an area goes against the Fair Housing laws.

Anyone can be an agent

While it is true that real estate is one of the easier fields to get in to, not everyone is successful. Just like any other profession, it takes dedication and education to be a great Realtor. Continued education, up-to-date information, and a love of the job are just a few of the things necessary for a successful Realtor. Word of mouth is our biggest ally, but one mistake can do a lot of harm. More than anything, our client's happiness can make or break our career.

Posted in Buying, Selling
Dec. 23, 2015

Merry Christmas from the ERET

From all of us at the Expert Real Estate Team, we want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!!

We hope your holiday is full of love and laughter.

 

- LeAnne, Rick, Peggy, Leslie, Sadhana, Kaci, Heather, Mandy, Tosha, Jason, Julie, Kristen, Yvonne, Amber, Taylor

 
 
Posted in Office Life
Dec. 16, 2015

City Spotlight - Spartanburg

 

City Spotlight

Spartanburg

Spartanburg, Sparkle City, Home of Food Network Famous 'Beacon Restaurant'. Greenville may be the powerhouse, but Spartanburg is like the nagging younger sibling that's gradually making a name for itself.

History

In 1753, settlers reached a treaty with the Cherokee Indians allowing the area to be opened for settlers. Spartan County (later renamed Spartanburg District) got its name from a local militia unit that fought in the Revolutionary War, the Spartan Regiment. During the Revolutionary War, Spartanburg County was home to more battle sites than anywhere else in the U.S., most notably, Cowpens Battlefield. In 1831, Spartanburg received its current name along with its nickname "Hub City" due to the wheel hub shape from the railroad lines. Spartanburg holds the impressive title as being home to the first airport in South Carolina. Opening in 1927, Charles Lindbergh made a famous pit stop during his 48 state tour. It also became the state's first airport with direct mail service (take that GSP!). If you've ever taken a drive around town, you will surely notice the run-down mills and vast mill villages. That's because the textile mills are what made the area economically sound. After the World Wars, the Spartanburg economy began to shift from relying on textiles to relying on the automobile industry. Today, Spartanburg is home to make international companies, including Milliken & Co., CH2MHill, and Michelin.

What It's Known For

Like I mentioned before, Spartanburg was once a textile mecca (you can still wander around some of the old mill foundations, but I'll get to that later.) Over time, it became famous for its production. From automobile parts to peaches, they make everything!

What Can You Do There?

The mills that once housed the great machinery of the past may not be used for production anymore, but they're great for entertaining. Some are renovated to live in, others are perfect for outdoor weddings. Glendale Shoals Preserve is only one of the old mills that has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind park. Anxious to catch a play or see some local art work? The Chapman Cultural Center offers art galleries, arts and humanities classes, interactive science exhibits, and amazing theater productions. Local brewery R.J. Rockers is conveniently located in Downtown within walking distance to numerous restaurants, boutiques, and 4 star hotels. The Carolina Panthers Training Camp is held at Wofford College every summer and sometimes, if you're lucky, you catch a glimpse of some famous faces roaming the Downtown area.

Why It's a Great Place to Live

Whether you're young or old, outdoorsy or not, Spartanburg has something for you. Spring and summer there are multiple parks and trails to explore while fall and winter bring ice skating and family festivals. If being outdoors isn't your thing, there is always something going on at one of the local colleges or even historical homes to tour. One of the best things about living there though is the food! Fresh, local produce at the Hub City Farmers Market gives locals a rare opportunity to know exactly where their food came from. Add to that the award-winning restaurants and it's possible you'd spend all of your time just trying new cuisine. No matter what, a friendly face is always there to welcome you!

 

If you would like more information on the Spartanburg area, call our office 864-895-9791.

Posted in Upstate Living
Dec. 10, 2015

Christmas in the ERET

Care and Share 2015

 

Every December, our office partakes in the GGAR Care and Share. The Care and Share program allows children to have presents under their tree who may not have any otherwise. It is truly an awesome program and we love doing it! Peggy and Leslie get to go shopping for these precious children's Christmas gifts and the whole office helps with the wrapping. It's a team effort and it definitely gets us in the holiday spirit. We are little elves on a mission!

 

Posted in Office Life
Nov. 30, 2015

9 Reasons to Sell Your Home during the Holidays

Sell Your Home During the Holidays

Considering Selling Your Home during the Holidays? It could be the best time of the year!

The Holiday season is generally known as the worst time to sell a home. While sales do tend to drop off between November and January, there are actually some good reasons to sell your home during these months. Here are 9 reasons why you should consider listing your home during the Holidays.

  1. People who look for a home during the Holidays are more serious buyers. Buyers may need to move quickly if they are relocating to the area.  
  2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and less competition means more money for you. Lots of sellers take their homes off the market during the Holidays, assuming no one will be buying at this time. But with serious buyers still out there and a lower inventory of homes, your home has a good chance of standing out.
  3. If you wait until January, more homes go on the market meaning you’ll have to compete with more homes (which means less money for you). 
  4. Your home is already staged and decorated. Homes often look their best during the Holidays, but sellers should be careful not to overdo it on the decor and distract potential buyers. Also, avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall and winter decorations rather than items with religious themes.
  5. Buyers may have more time off to look for a home during the Holidays than they do during a working week. Also, some buyers purposely wait until their families are together for Holiday vacations to start looking for a home.
  6. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.
  7. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Those relocating to the area may not be able to wait until Spring to buy, so it may be a good idea to list your home during the Holidays to capture that market.
  8. Don’t delay listing your home because you know you’ll have guests in your home during the Holidays. We can work with you to restrict showings on particular days to ensure you’re comfortable with showing your home during this time.  
  9. By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the Spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money! This will allow you to sell high and buy low!

 

The Holidays are stressful enough without having to think about staging and selling your home, so if you’re not truly motivated to sell, it’s probably best to wait a few months. But if you absolutely have to sell, don’t be discouraged. An experienced agent with the Expert Real Estate Team can take the burden off of your shoulders, giving you more time to enjoy the season with your family. Give us a call today at (864) 895-9791.

Posted in Selling