Oct. 7, 2015

What to do? What to do?

Fall in the south is one of the most beautiful times of the year. There isn't a shortage of fun things to do! We've created a list of the things you should definitely do (at least once) and the things you might can skip.


Fun for all ages

  • Niven's Apple Farm - This is a MUST for this fall season because it is the last season this iconic farm will be open! You can pick your own apples, visit the pumpkin patch, even pan for gems in the Upstate's largest outdoor gem mine! Take part in all of their fall festivities before it's too late!
  • Denver Downs Corn Maze - The historic farm hosts a corn maze every October, along with other fun farm activities. They have a variety of corn maze activity options and a giant pumpkin patch, so don't be surprised when you lose the track of time.
  • Strawberry Hill USA - If you've ever driven down Highway 11 towards Chesnee, you've probably noticed strawberry hill. J.E. Cooley Farms is a local landmark and people flock there to see the picturesque view. After a yummy meal in their café, head out to the peach shed for fresh produce, hayrides, pumpkin picking and a visit from their famous Mr. Troll.
  • Boo in the Zoo : Greenville Zoo - Ideal for anyone who loves animals and Halloween! Kids 12 and under can dress up and have fun trick-or-treating alongside their favorite animals and join in the fun in the "unhaunted house".

Good for a Date Night

  • Fall for Greenville - While it might not be a typical "date night" atmosphere, you will definitely feel like kids again as you wander through beautiful Downtown Greenville, stopping to try food from numerous restaurants and finding room to dance along to any one of the live concerts.
  • Oktoberfest - This German event is held in most Upstate cities. Whether or not there is free entertainment doesn't matter. The focal point of this festival is the delicious German food and beverages!
  • Piedmont Interstate Fair - Yes, the fair is an IDEAL family outing, but just think of how much fun you and your honey will have snuggled up close on the ferris wheel sharing a funnel cake.

You can't forget...

  • Friday Night Lights and College Gameday - Football in the south; it's not just a game, it's a lifestyle! Support your local team, whether it's high school or college, and tailgate at the next home game.
  • Hiking - Whether you make the drive to Table Rock, Chimney Rock, Pisgah National Forest, or Big Bradley, put those hiking boots on and enjoy nature! With the hot summer sun slowly drifting to sleep, it is the perfect weather to get outside and stretch your legs before winter shuts you in!
  • Fall Foliage - It wouldn't be fall without the rich colors of the changing leaves. Take a Sunday afternoon drive up the mountains to see the amazing views of this place we call home.

Skip away

  • Haunted Houses - For some, getting scared is a blast but for others, it is a panic inducing thought. If your group is all part of the "we scare because we care" club, by all means, hit every haunted house you can! But if you aren't a fan, save your money and attend any of the free events held in your town.

Fall is the perfect time for wild cats and gentle souls alike, so whether you're picking pumpkins or scaring your friends, have fun and be safe!

Tell us about your favorite fall activity!!

Posted in Upstate Living
Oct. 1, 2015

The Less Scary Way to Hoard

Show of hands; how many of you have been (slightly) traumatized by an episode of "Hoarders"? I definitely raised my hand! It's a thin line between holding on to something for future use or sentimental purposes and crazy lady with mountains of useless junk, right? Well, maybe not so much. According to Bob Vila (yes, THAT Bob Vila), there are some items that are ok to hoard.


  • Hey wino, I'm talking to you!

You've seen that super cute wine cork display on Pinterest and have been stockpiling corks ever since, but what are the chances of you actually finishing the project? Probably not very much considering the amount of wine you'd need to drink to come up with that many corks would leave you highly inebriated. However, if you just love the idea of saving them, there are plenty of other uses for them. Cut the cork into slices and put them under furniture for floor protection or donate them to a company that recycles used cork.

  • Saves your package today, destroys the environment tomorrow

Those ridiculous Styrofoam packing peanuts may save that Faberge egg you just ordered, but it will take many, many, MANY lifetimes for them to breakdown. Instead of throwing them away, put them in the bottom of planter pots for better drainage or stuff them in that old bean bag chair you should've tossed 20 years ago to make it like new again.

  • If duct tape can't fix it...

It's broken forever. It's like there's a duct tape fairy that comes to everyone's home every so often because no one remembers buying it, but it's always there! You can use it for just about everything; repairing rips or tears, removing pet hair, even making wallets!

  • Wire, Wire Everywhere

Much like with duct tape, wire clothes hangers seem to just appear out of thin air. If you have too many hangers for your clothes, use the old wire hangers in the garden as a trellis or a drain de-clogger. If you're particularly handy, you might could use it to re-string your favorite hoodie or sweatpants (that you've also been hoarding...)

  • Versatility is your new best friend

We all love options. If there can be 10 ways to use 1 item, you bet we'd jump on that bandwagon! One item that screams "versatility" is a dryer sheet. Those nifty things can be used to dust, stop soap scum, and keep drawers and luggage smelling fresh and not musty. And if you're like me and have a son who can clear a room with his stinky feet, stuff some sheets into their shoes to de-funk that stench.

  • Beauty products ARE useful

Next time your wife or daughter buys nail polish, instead of grunting, say thank you! Not only can the colored polishes help to distinguish which keys belong to which lock, but the clear polish can slow a windshield crack, fix a window screen, stop panty hose from running, or prevent screws from rusting.


Hoarding is a costly (and sometimes deadly) habit, but hoarding the right things has the potential to save! See here for the full list.

Posted in Home Tips
Sept. 21, 2015

Home Appraisals: What They Mean to the Whole Process

If you've ever bought or sold a home, you're probably familiar with a home appraisal. If you've never dealt with real estate (or you have but just nodded your head and smiled until the closing) hearing that term may result in your eyes getting that glazed over look. Home appraisals, to put it nicely, are BOOOOOORRRRIIINNNGG, but boy are they important! Basically, a home appraisal is a (very) educated guess as to how much a property is worth. Without appraisals, the real estate market just wouldn't exist. Without appraisals, financial institutions wouldn't know how much to lend a prospective buyer because they won't know what the loan collateral could sell for should something go wrong. What does that mean? Imagine for a second that you bought a home for $500,000 but could only sell it for $50,000; you wouldn't be thrilled. Well, that's exactly how financial institutions feel. They don't want to loan a buyer $500,000 for a home and only get $50,000 should a situation arise that they would need to sell it. We've come up with a few frequently asked questions to help you understand a little more about home appraisals.

When are they done?  Home appraisals are typically done after a contract is negotiated and signed. This can be a tricky situation, as an appraisal could cause a contract to fall apart should it come back wildly different from the agreed upon price. Most contracts include a contingency clause that if a property doesn't appraise well, it can be renegotiated, but always double check with your agent. You wouldn't want to be contractually obligated to buy a house that isn't worth what you're paying.

How long do they take? Since the housing bubble burst in the late 2000's, appraisals now usually take between 1-2 weeks.

Who pays for them? Normally the seller pays for the appraisal. The average price in South Carolina is around $310, but in Greenville the average price is around $280. You can go to www.appraisers.promatcher.com to see the average price where you live.

Isn't an appraisal and an inspection the same? It would seem so, but really they are very different. Both an appraiser and an inspector look around the house, but that's where the similarities end. An inspector looks at everything and determines if there are any defects or damages to the home that will cost the buyer later. An appraiser looks at everything and determines the value of the home. Deferred maintenance will most certainly affect the inspection, but an appraiser takes into account the home, the property, comparable homes, and more.

Is there anything (as a seller) you can do? Once the appraisal process starts, there's not really anything a seller can do to help. That's not to say there's nothing they can do. Before an appraiser visits your home, tidy up. No, an un-vacuumed rug isn't going to alter an appraisal, but you want the appraiser to see your homes full potential. Another helpful tactic is to make a list of all renovations or repairs you have done to the home. It may not matter a bit, but you'd rather leave that decision up to the appraiser.

What happens if you get a super low appraisal? As a buyer, if the appraisal comes back significantly lower than the contract price, something needs to change. A lender isn't going to loan more than the appraisal, so if your contract has a contingency clause, a renegotiation is likely to be in your future, or you may decide to walk away altogether. As a seller, you may decide to get a second opinion. If the low number is based on needed repairs and maintenance, you may be able to fix whatever's needed if the appraiser is willing to take a second look. Most likely though, you will need to adjust your expectations and renegotiate the contract.

Yes, appraisals can be a pain in your behind, but it's one of the most important steps in the home buying/selling process. It protects both the buyer and the seller, and keeps the entire real estate market in check.


Posted in Buying, Selling
Sept. 9, 2015

Homes Need Love Too

It's a huge accomplishment owning a home, not to mention a HUGE RESPONSIBILITY! You don't have to be a licensed contractor to properly take care of your home. Maintaining the "big ticket items" (like HVAC system, roof, and electrical) can almost be like a full-time job, but there are a few small things you can do regularly to help prevent any problems.


Don't just paint over that water stain

No matter how small, a leak can ruin more than just the integrity of a home. Should you ever find moisture or water stains on your ceiling or walls, determine the source and fix it! Water damage can lead to rot and mold, which can potentially be harmful or people and animals. Some of the most common places leaks can be found are around windows and doors, the roof, and any cracks in the foundation. Some water leaks have the potential to damage your home before you even see a stain. If your area is prone to heavy storms, you should check your roof after every storm to make sure there are no missing shingles or damage from hail or debris. Regardless, you should check your roof every year, but make sure you inspect it from a ladder or the ground, as walking on the roof can also cause damage.


Keep your drainage systems clean and away from your home

You may have the best drain pipes in the neighborhood, but it they are not paired with the proper grading, they won't do you much good. If any water drains and puddles around the foundation, structural issues may be in your future. Make sure any areas that may come in contact with water are sloped away from the foundation of your home. Also, to avoid any overflow, keep gutters unclogged and free of dirt and leaves.


That shade tree can cost you

After every big storm, you can turn on any news station and hear stories about downed limbs or trees through houses, but that's just something that happens to other people, right? Right...until it happens to you. If you have limbs or branches that hang over or near your home, the safest thing to do is trim them.


Filters are our friends

Dirty HVAC air filters can wreak havoc on a system, as they can allow dust and debris to creep in and interfere with the air flow. Most air filters should be changed once a month and the entire system really should be checked once a year. The typical lifespan of an HVAC system is 12-15 years, but if you take great care of it, it could last up to 20 years!


Don't get crazy with the toilet

There is nothing more disgusting that a backed up septic system or drain. The #1 way to prevent a gross clog is to just not flush/drain things that don't belong. Don't pour grease down the drain. Don't put starchy or fibrous food in the disposal. Do watch the kiddos during a potty break (food, money, even socks seem like a toilet magnet to a three year old).


Finding $ in the washer isn't always awesome

I'll be the first to admit, finding a handful of quarters in the washer and/or dryer makes my day! Bus as with so much else, too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing. Objects made of metal (think easily pocketed things like nuts, bolts, washers, and yes, coins) can overload your appliance and cause unnecessary wear and tear. Don't forget to clean out the dryer's like trap as well. Not only will it cause unnecessary wear and tear but it could also increase your home's risk of a fire.


Porous countertops need to be loved

It may be just the right look, but porous countertops, like marble, granite, or concrete, need to be maintained to stay gorgeous and gleaming for years to come. While some don't require it, many porous countertops need to be re-sealed every so often. The best way to keep it clean between sealings is with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. When you need to do a more thorough cleaning, the best option would be to use a cleaner made for natural stone. Just make sure you do not use acidic or abrasive cleaners, as they can cause damage to the stone.




Posted in Home Tips
Aug. 31, 2015

Clean Out That Clutter!!

It feels like the more we clean out our house, the more stuff we seem to accumulate. Whether it's out of necessity, sentimentality, or laziness, piles tend to multiply. To help you cut back on the junk, we've come up with a few tips on how to clean up that clutter.


  • Invest in a date book

I know I said tips to cut back the clutter, but this really is a great tip. There are some events that happen every year, like birthdays and anniversaries, that you really need to remember. At the beginning of the year, write down all important dates so you're not scrambling to find a last minute gift, or forget the occasion altogether!

  • Don't toss everything in your closet

Regardless of the trend (or decade), there are some clothing items that seem to never go out of style, like a classic pencil skirt or tailored button down shirt. Because you won't have to constantly go through clothing based on the current trend, you will save time and money by keeping those types of items stocked. It's easier to add accessories to liven up a classic look than to buy a whole new wardrobe based on what's trending at any given moment.

  • Family photos are always a hot commodity

While the influx of selfies may not be everyone's cup of tea, family photos and candid shots of special events are treasured keepsakes. Generations from now will be thankful to have tangible memories from their elders. Invest in albums that are archival quality to preserve photos for years to come.

  • Don't throw away ALL that paperwork

If you've invested money and labor into your home, keep records to show it. Should you ever decide to sell your home, you'll be able to show any potential buyers what you've done to improve the home.

  • When in doubt, Re-Use

If you're a crafting fiend, chances are you have a lot of stuff in lots of random places. Ribbon, beads, cardstock, even glitter, can all be stored in surprising ways. Have you finally finished that garlic powder? Clean out the spice container and store glitter! Are those Chinese takeout leftovers finally done? If it came in a plastic takeout container, wash it and store all of your thread! The options truly are limitless. (Check out our page on Pinterest for more ideas.)

  • Make sure you dispose your electronics the right way

At this point, most everyone has had at least one computer in their possession. For those who have owned multiple computers in their lifetime, it's always a task to dispose of one. It doesn't seem like that big a jump from throwing a computer away to someone stealing your identity, so it's just better to store it ou of sight, right? WRONG! If any electronic or computer is still in functional, usable condition, there are many organizations that will take them as donations (after you've cleared out all of your personal information of course). If said equipment is no longer working, you can visit www.epa.gov to find out how to dispose (or recycle) it properly.

  • Send unused toys and books to a new home

If your "big kid" is now too old for that lego set or you've read that book one too many times, it may be time to part with it. As long as a toy is in good, safe condition or those books have all their pages, donate them so someone else can love them.

  • Those glasses can help another

Whether you've finally splurged on laser eye corrective surgery or just HAD to have those blue cat-eye glasses, you won't have a need for your old eyeglasses. UniteForSight.org or The Lion's Club will take unwanted glasses and send them to someone in need.

  • Clean out that medicine cabinet!

Most everyone has a stash of medicine bottles somewhere, especially considering how expensive some medicines are. While you may be saving a few dollars you could potentially be risking your life. Most medicines just lose their effectiveness over time, but some can be dangerous. No matter how you dispose of it, make sure you DO NOT pour it down the drain, as it can be absorbed in the water supply and cause harm to others.

  • You don't need all that paint

If you're anything like me you love to paint your home, so the likelihood that you have paint cans stacked to the ceiling is pretty high. Any paint cans or other flammable items that haven't been used in a year must be disposed of properly. Ask your local disposal/recycle center how to chunk it safely.

  • Those stacks of papers won't make you appear well-read

It feels like everyone you know has a stack of old newspapers and magazines stashed somewhere in their home. While that knowledge may make you feel better about your stack, the truth it, it shouldn't. Help out Mother Nature (and the cleanliness of your home) and recycle it!


There is absolutely no shame in saving precious sentimental items, but if the majority of your clutter is based on laziness (no judgment here) take a few minutes and clean out a drawer or cabinet. Who knows? It might motivate you to clean out the guest room closet too. If it doesn't, that's ok. At least you de-cluttered that junk drawer. :)


Posted in Home Tips
July 1, 2015

From Renting to Owning....and little help getting there.

I don't know about you folks but my money tree never sprouted in my backyard but if it has for any of you, please feel free to leave me some tips in the comment box :). For the rest of us though, we will have to work a little harder to get where we need to get to. For most, home ownership has been the "go to" for the accumulation of personal wealth. It creates a sense of pride and it is a big something to call our own. And why wouldn't you be proud of it? You worked hard for that! 

For some though that journey to home ownership can come with a little resistance and a lot of needed cash. Some will hesitate, stating that its easier and more economical to rent than to tie your money up into a house. Or that they will save more money by just renting. These commitment-phobes are neither right or wealthy. In an article written by the New York Times last year addresses these objections:

            “Home ownership requires potential buyers to save for a down payment, and forces them to continue to save by paying down a portion of the mortgage principal each month.”


“Even in instances where renters have excess cash, saving a substantial amount is difficult without a near-term goal, like a down payment. It is also difficult to systematically invest each month in stocks, bonds or other assets without being compelled to do so.”


With that being said, some of you may be convinced its time for you to buy but you may be a little short on the down payment. That's OK! We got you covered! Read the tips below to get you on your way to home ownership!


1. Create a Budget


This is the best place to start. Why? It gives you a financial snap shot of where you're money is going and where you may need to cut back. You may see that you are spending a lot on going out to eat or little too much on shopping. Finding where the excess spending is going to will help you control and eliminate it moving you several steps closer to your goal.

2. Break down your financial goal


Lets say for instance your plan is to save 15,000 for your new home (down payment, closing costs, etc.). That number can seem pretty daunting and nearly impossible to obtain immediately. But if you break down that goal to something more manageable, more obtainable, then you're more likely to achieve those smaller goals with less stress and apprehension. Try breaking it down by months and weeks and you will feel more motivated to reach your financial goal.

3. Get an extra J-O-B!

If you're not making the big bucks at your current job you may want to look at getting a second job. Dave Ramsey, financial author and radio host,  always suggest getting a pizza delivery job to help you reach your financial goals. While the pizza delivery job may not be your thing, there are plenty of other part time options to jump on board with. You may have to sacrifice a little of your time and social life but it will be well worth it in the end. 

4. Dine in instead of out

This goes along with your budget planning. If you have noticed that you spend way too much on going out to eat or drink, you may want to start spending some time pretending you are a Top Chef. Choosing to make your own meals at home will significantly cut down on your food cost because you don't have to pay for someone else to prepare it or tip the server. Even choosing to entertain at home versus out at a restaurant or bar will help cut down on cost while helping to maintain your social life.

5. Out of sight, out of mind

Choose to put your saving in a place where you are less tempted to use it for something else. Moving your savings to a separate account or a place that it is not readily accessible will help minimize the temptation to spend it on something that is less important than your goal


Well there you go, some easy steps that anyone can take immediately to get them into there new home!! If you have achieved your financial goal of a down payment and are ready to take the next step, give The LeAnne Carswell Expert Real Estate a call at 864-895-9791 and let one of expert buyer's agents find you a new home!!

Posted in Home Tips
June 9, 2015

Is It Time To Move? 7 Questions Buyers Should Ask Before Considering a Move

Is it Time to Move?

For most homeowners, there comes a time when you might ask, “is it time to move?” Because moving can be a lot of work and there are expenses associated with moving, this is a decision that will take thought and consideration. Here are 7 questions to ask before considering a move. 

  1. Do you need more space? Perhaps you were single when  you purchased your current home and now you have a growing family . Also, you've probably been in your house for a while and you’ve accumulated quite a bit of “stuff”. Today, our homes are filled with large electronics, furniture, exercise equipment, and other gadgets. These items combined with your family and pets, can make you feel bit claustrophobic in your own home.  This is probably the number one reason homeowners decide to make a move. 
  2. Do you need to be in a certain school district? When you bought your first home, you may not have considered what school district you were zoned for. Parents may make the decision to move in order for their children to be placed in a desired school system. In Greenville and Spartanburg Counties, there are several excellent school districts and desirable neighborhoods to match. If you’re interested in learning more about school zones, search our database by school district using our advanced search tool
  3. Are you looking for more amenities? As new home communities are built, there are many more options available to buyers today. You may want to consider a master planned or gated community which may contain a variety of amenities such as safety features, pools, playgrounds, athletic courts, and community events to promote a strong sense of community. 
  4. Has your lifestyle changed? As time passes, you've made changes and perhaps its time to make a move. Do you have a new job with a longer commute? You may need to find a home closer to your job. Or perhaps you need to downsize to a smaller home or a single story home. In these cases, it may be the right time to look for a new home. 
  5. Are you considering a remodel? If you’re considering a major remodel, it’s likely that your current home no longer meets your needs. When considering a major remodel, you must also take into consideration the cost and disruption to your everyday lives.  While moving to a new home certainly presents its share of challenges, the average cost of a major kitchen remodel can cost you around $25,000 to $50,000 or more – and that doesn't take into consideration being without a kitchen during the remodel!
  6. Has your income increased? When you purchased your first home, you were likely beginning your career. Now your income may have increased and maybe you've gotten married – adding a second salary to your household. Now could be the perfect time to take advantage of historically low interest rates and upgrade to a larger home.
  7. Do you have equity in your existing home? If your current home has increased in value since you first purchased it, you may be able to apply that equity to a new, larger home and possibly even enjoy lower monthly mortgage payments than you do now.


If you've answered yes to any of the questions above, it may be time for you to consider a move. If you’re interested in exploring these opportunities, call the Expert Real Estate Team at (864) 895-9791 today!

Posted in Buying
May 22, 2015

What to do in the Upstate this summer!

 The Upstate has graced more than a few Top 10 lists in the nation for top places to live and play, so there is no shortage of great events and places to keep you and your family entertained this summer! Whether you're a nature lover or just like to relax and be waited on, the list below has you covered.  


Falls Park on the Reedy River

This gorgeous green space offers ample room for you to enjoy the falls, have a picnic or even some entertainment! Shakespeare in the Park goes on May 21st through August 2nd, Thursday through Sunday starting at 7pm. This is great way to catch an outdoor show and see some local talent in action.  For more information go to:  http://www.warehousetheatre.com/season/upstate-shakespeare-festival/ 


Fluor Field 

Located down the road from Falls Park, this ball park is a replica of Fenway Park!  The park is near some great restaurants to stop at before the game!  For a list of games and more info check out their official site: The Official site of the Greenville Drive 


Swamp Rabbit Trail

This paved trail starts near the downtown area and takes you 18+ miles past The Swamp Rabbit Grocery Cafe, Furman, and up in to Travelers Rest.  Once in this quaint downtown area, you will enjoy great new restaurants and views!  For info about the trail check out: http://greenvillerec.com/swamprabbit


Greenville Zoo

Always a fun place to take the kiddos!  A connected paved trail can take you from Falls Park to the Greenville Zoo.  Besides the Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh my), this Zoo offers day camps and fun activities for the kids! There are even some fun adult events such Brew in the Zoo and Sippin Safari!  For more information about camps, events and dates, check out: http://www.greenvillezoo.com/


Paris Mountain State Park

Everything outdoors from boating to fishing to hiking, the is a great outdoor hot spot for nature lovers or anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors in a great spot!  This park boast multiple trails with different intensity levels for any fitness level.  And if you want to make it an over night experience, they have camp sites too!  For information about Paris Mountain state park, visit:  http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/parismountain/introduction.aspx


These are just a few things that the Upstate has to offer! Write in tell us about your favorite hot spots in the Upstate!

Posted in Upstate Living
May 11, 2015

Flex your Green Thumb to Increase your Homes Selling Pontential

The weather in the Carolina's is starting to warm up!  For most, that means strolling the streets of downtown Greenville, hitting the Swamp Rabbit Trail, or enjoying some the beautiful lakes that the Upstate has to offer.  But don't forget to spend time in your yard, especially if you're getting ready to sell your home!  A survey conducted by The Herald Tribune in Greenville, S.C. indicated "houses with "excellent " landscaping could expect to sell for 4 percent to 5 percent more than homes with just "good" landscaping.  But those with only"fair" landscaping would sell for 8 percent to 10 percent below "good" houses. And according to a Clemson University Study, "Event taking your landscaping to the next level, upgrading from "good" to "excellent", in terms of design, condition, and placement, can add 6% to 7% to your home".  So roll up your sleeves, get the sweet tea on ice, and follow these landscaping tips for your yard!


Budget and Plan

This is the time to decide if you will be tackling the project yourself or getting some (or all) assistance from a professional and that decision can usually be helped along by how much you want to spend.  If you're thinking on the smaller scale like planting a few flowers or just getting the grass green, you may prefer to do it yourself.  There are lots of sites that can offer you the right tools and info to get things going.  But if you're going for an all out ---------, then you may want to contact a professional.  They will be able to put everything into perspective and within budget, without lifting a finger.  Either route you choose, you should really plan out where everything is going to go.The last thing you want is for your wallet to be as empty as the holes in your yard and for the whole thing to look worse than it did before you started.


Inspecting and Pruning

So you have the plan together and you're not going to be doing major overhauling.  Simply cutting back, trimming, and cleaning up branches and debris will make a nice difference.  Make sure you don't wait to long and start in the warmer months.  Refer to the professionals or do your research on which plants to prune when and how.  Pruning, when done properly, encourages healthy growth.  If done improperly or at the wrong time, can harm the health of your trees, shrubs and plants.  



This is where the planning comes in place.  Did you have visions of botanical gardens in your head or were you just trying to add a little pizzazz?  Either way we hope that native plants made the list.  Planting native plants will be overall less maintenance and less costly.  Some native upstate plants to consider would be azaleas and swamp milkweed.  In addition to the cost and time benefits, Upstate Forever.org states additional benefits from planting native plants are runoff quality and quantity control, reduced irrigation, air quality control, non-invasive, and aesthetics, just to name a few.  



What better way to add that finishing touch to a yard than mulching.  Mulch can come in a variety of different colors and materials.  But besides looking nice, mulch has other benefits that are great for the yard!  Moisture retention, regulating soil temperatures, and suppressing weed growth are just a few but major benefits of mulching.  Make sure you research or ask a professional about what time of year is the best to do so.   


So these were just a few of many things you can do to your yard to give it that little oomph it needs to stand out in the buyers mind or just to stand out on your street.  Do you have some landscaping tips or pictures you would like to share?  We would love to hear from you!  


Posted in Selling
April 20, 2015

Considering a Low Ball Offer? 3 Things to Consider First

Considering a Low Ball Offer? 3 Things to Consider First

Over the past few years, home prices have dropped dramatically but with the improving economy the housing marketing is on the rise and inventory is tight. With prices being so low, buyers often make low ball offers on homes in an effort to get a good deal. Well that may have been a good idea several years ago, but these days tossing a low ball offer isn't just bad form; it can also offend a home owner into rejecting your offer.

Today, buyers must realize that there are several factors that are taken into consideration when making a competitive offer on a home. Here are 3 things to consider on making an offer on the home you want – without upsetting the homeowner. 

  1. Understand the market and the value of the home. To determine the value of a home, appraisers look at comparable homes that have sold recently. Work with your real estate agent to see what homes have sold in the last few months and notice the difference between the list price and the sale price. Understand that factors like square footage, lot size and age can affect the price. This knowledge can help you make a fair offer on a home. 
  2. Consider how long you have been looking for a home. If you have been searching for the right home for several months, don’t blow your chance on the right home by making a low ball offer. Typical home searches can take up to 12 weeks, if you make an offer that is rejected and you've offended the home owner, you’re now back to square one and have to search for another home which could take even longer. 
  3. Don’t insult a homeowner. Most homeowners are emotionally attached to their home. They have invested a lot of time and money into their home and have raised a family in this home. The value a homeowner place on their home is not only sentimental but priced according to market value. Don’t risk losing out on the home by placing too low of an offer and insulting a homeowner. 

Even if your goal is to get a counteroffer and settle on a price in between, starting off with too low of an offer can jeopardize the process and a seller can refuse to work with your offer at all. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes – how would you feel if you got such an offer?

Contact a Buyers Agent with the Expert Real Estate Team to help you make a proper offer that will work for you AND the seller. Call us today at (864) 895-9791.

Posted in Buying