April 7, 2015

Reality TV Real Estate Vs. Real Life Real Estate

We've all seen them; reality shows about house hunting, renovations, and real estate companies have all but taken over our television screens. The free room makeovers done in a weekend, the perfect home in the dream neighborhood within budget, flipping a property and making BANK! If it all just seems too good to be true, that's because it is. Here are just a few of the things these shows tend to exaggerate.

  • 3 is NOT the magic number

Whether it's three homes or three days, it typically takes a lot more of each to accomplish your goals. Buying a home in the reel world, buyers look at three homes and somehow find the perfect one. In the real world, buyers look at an average of six new homes or ten existing homes before they purchase (National Association of Home Builders). The reel world also doesn't show the nitty gritty details of finances and inspections. While most shows do give the budget or mention a small hiccup with a repair needed, they gloss over the fact that it can sometimes take months to be pre-approved for a budget and contracts can sometimes fall apart due to a problem with an inspection. As for home renovations in the reel world, it takes three days to finish a room makeover. In the real world, it can take up to three days just to drywall! Most renovations take weeks, even months to finish. A lot of cut corners and 24 hour work days go into doing a three day TV show. By using quick installation materials, like laminate flooring instead of hard wood, they can get the job done faster. (That doesn't always mean it looks better though.)

  • Flipping houses is A. not easy and B. not cheap

Since the housing bubble burst and distressed properties could be seen everywhere, people saw opportunity in the house flipping business. You could make lots of money too, IF you took the leap before the crowd. The problem with flipping houses is, everyone seems to think they can do it and that is most definitely NOT the case. There are so many things to consider before buying a home in general, much less one to flip. Some things include the location, knowledge of the property and area, etc. Just because a home is cheap doesn't mean it's a good buy. If you buy an older home to flip and it has lead-based paint, forget it. You can kiss your huge profits goodbye.

  • Staged homes and staged story lines

One of the most surprising things about reel world real estate is the fact that the homes AND family story lines are more scripted than documented. One of the homes toured on the show may not even be for sale or the families back story my be a little too embellished. What once appeared to be the most honest reality shows are now coming out to be just as fake as an episode of "The Hills". 

One positive of the reel world real estate is it causes buyers and sellers to step up their game. Sellers can no longer get away with shoving things in closets for a showing and buyers are more likely to do their homework than just jump into the first home they see. Everyone involved in the real estate process is more cautious, yet smart, about the role they play.

As with all reality TV, the goal is to entertain. Yes, there can be great lessons to be learned, but at the end of the day, it's still just television.

Posted in Home Tips
March 31, 2015

Waterfront Buying: 5 Tips from the Expert Real Estate Team

Want to beat the crowd?? Now is as good a time as any to buy waterfront property! We have plenty of lake homes, waiting for their next owner!


Waterfront Buying - 5 Tips to Consider

Buying a home is always a complicated process, but when considering waterfront property, there are many other factors that a buyer must consider. Fortunately, the Expert Real Estate Team has a lot of experience with waterfront properties. Here are a few tips on what to expect when purchasing a waterfront home or property. 

  1. Consider the property first, then the structure. You may fall in love with the waterfront home but have you considered the property? Make sure to check out how you would access the water and if you can swim in the water. Also consider the privacy of the waterfront property – you may want to be private or you may want to be close to neighbors. It’s important to take this into consideration. You can change a home but you cannot change the location. 
  2. Choose a property that fits your lifestyle and the waterfront activities you have in mind. You may find a beautiful property for sale, but if you’re looking for a waterfront property that needs to be close to where you work you may want to consider the time it will take to commute to and from your waterfront property. Also find out what kind of activities are allowed on the body of water, as some areas have restrictions on jet skis, speedboats and other watercraft.
  3. Make sure the waterfront property can withstand the weather and consider the type of insurance needed. Waterfront homes receive more abuse from the elements than the average home, so extra measures should be taken to protect them from extra moisture. It is also a good idea to look at what insurance is needed when purchasing a waterfront property. 
  4. Find out what you can do with the property. If you want to make any changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a dock, start this process early to ensure that these alterations will be possible. There could be restrictions in place in the subdivisions where you choose to live. If you’re part of a homeowners association, find out what kind of upkeep and maintenance of the property will be required from you by reviewing the subdivision covenants or restrictions.
  5. Talk to People in the Waterfront Community. Talking with your potential neighbors can give you some great insight. Do they enjoy living in the community? Are there issues with the area or are their waterfront-related problems? In addition to your real estate agent, getting insider information from your neighbors can be the best source of information before deciding to buy the waterfront property. 


If you've always dreamed of living on the water, the Expert Real Estate Team has the experience and knowledge of the area to find the perfect property for you. Contact our office today at (864) 895-9791.

If you're interested in learning more about the Upstate Area lakes, visit our Upstate SC Lakes page. 

Posted in Buying
March 23, 2015

6 Simple Tips to Sell Your Home – Fast

6 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

When selling a home, every homeowner has the same goal – get the best deal with the least amount of hassle. Following these tips will help you get more interest and ultimately get you the best price.

  1. Make Your Home Attractive to Buyers. The goal is to attract the most potential buyers. Show a buyer that not only does your house look good but show them how to use the space wisely. Consider improving the aesthetics of your home to make it appealing to all potential buyers. Consider updates that will bring you top dollar such as getting a fresh, new coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or purchase some inexpensive new ones. Use paint colors and neutral decor to appeal to the widest audience and complement the home. Update fixtures and hardware and repair leaky faucets, etc. Quick fixes before selling always pay off whereas larger updates such as kitchen and bathroom remodels may not pay off for you. 
  2. Declutter Your Home. Buyers want to picture themselves in a home. Remove furniture to make a room seem larger and put away personal photographs and decor. Pack up items that may clutter counter tops and pack up any items that you haven’t used in over a year. Also, declutter entry ways. This is the first room a buyer will see when entering a home. Make your entry way welcoming – you could add fresh cut flowers or possibly include flyers about the home. Consult the Expert Real Estate Team to help you with other staging suggestions. 
  3. Ensure Your Home Has Curb Appeal. The first thing a buyer will see is the exterior of your home and how it fits into the neighboring homes. A first impression is just that and unfortunately, you never have a second chance to make a first impression.  It’s so important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach your house. This can be done by sprucing up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers as well as making sure the lawn and bushes are well manicured.  You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you invest into your home’s curb appeal.
  4. Make Your Home Move In Ready. Buyers will likely “try out” your home before making an offer. Make sure that all of the doors, appliances, electrical, and plumbing fixtures in in working order. The idea is to appeal to the most buyers by making your home move in ready and not have a potential buyer get too fixated on all of the things they’ll have to repair or replace when moving into your home. 
  5. Show Off Your Space. By this we mean to show off the amount of storage your home has to offer. Take items out of closets that you don’t currently use and keep all of the closets and cabinets tidy because a buyer will check them out. 
  6. Let Light In. Buyers want to see that the home gets good natural light. Take down dark drapery, clean your windows, and turn lights on in each room to maximize the light in your home. Do what you have to do to make your house bright and cheery as it will help you sell your home more quickly.


Finally, having the right real estate agent will help you price your home correctly and help you stage your home to reach the most potential buyers. 

Contact our Expert Real Estate Team today to find out what it will take to sell your home quickly. Call us at (864) 895-9791.

Posted in Selling
March 17, 2015

Did You Know...

Did you know...

Greenville was called Pleasantburg until 1831??

I don't know about you, but I love learning random facts about my hometown. Like how Greenville was known as the "Textile Center of the World" in the early 1900's. Whether you are new to the area or were born in St. Francis hospital, you'll be the center of attention sharing these little known facts about our beautiful Upstate.

  • Travelers Rest got its name because in the early 1800's, travelers used the area as a "pit stop" on long journeys. Some even stayed for months so as not to get stuck in the mountains during the winter months.
  • Taylors, SC isn't actually a city. It's more like an extremely large neighborhood.
  • The Upstate was once named Sperling's #1 Worst Cities for Respiratory Infections (Uh-Oh. Better wash your hands!)
  • The Spartanburg Downtown Airport was the first airport in South Carolina. 
  • Landrum High School in Landrum, SC is the home of the 1st First National Beta Club chapter in the country.
  • The only remaining covered bridge is located near Gowensville. Campbell's Covered Bridge was built in 1909 and is a popular spot for family picnics, hiking, and event portraits.
  • Duncan Park baseball stadium in Spartanburg is the nation's oldest minor league baseball stadium.
  • The Gaffney Peach water tower was built in 1981.
  • Marriage licenses were not required in South Carolina until 1911!
  • Anderson is nicknamed "The Electric City".
  • The Anderson Jockey Lot is said to be the South's biggest flea market, operating on 65 acres of land.
Posted in Upstate Living
March 9, 2015

Upstate Weather is the Perfect Weather for Golf

One of the best things about living in the south is the weather. Yes, we have ridiculously hot days and unbearably cold days every once in awhile, but most of the time it's pretty awesome. And one of the best ways to take advantage of the awesome weather is to play a relaxing round of golf. Lucky for us, the Upstate is home to some of the TOP golf courses in South Carolina. Here's a list of the Top 10 in the Upstate according to the SC Golf Course Ratings Panel. 

1. Greenville Country Club (Chanticleer course)

  • Originally the Sans Souci Country Club, annual member dues in 1905 was $20!
  • It is now home to two championship courses, Chanticleer and Riverside, in 2012-2013 Chanticleer served as one of the three hosts for Web.com's BMW Invitational.

2. The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards

  • Course designer Tom Fazio (who is Golf Digest's most credited living golf course designers) used the natural beauty of the Keowee area to design not one, but two Cliffs golf courses, Clliffs at Keowee Vineyards and Cliffs at Keowee Springs. 
  • Keowee Vineyards was voted "America's Best New Private Courses" by Golf Digest in 2000.

3. Musgrove Mill Golf Club

  • Arnold Palmer himself designed the course to play into the area's unique natural elements, from the Enoree River to the elevated landscape.
  • The club sits in the exact location the Revolutionary War Battle of Musgrove Mill took place in 1780!

4. Cliffs at Mountain Park

  • One of the Cliffs newest courses, Mountain Park was named one of the "Best New Courses" in Golf Magazine in 2013. 
  • Being a member of one Cliffs community gives you access to ALL seven of the highly sought after Cliffs communities.

5. Cliffs at Keowee Falls (Have we mentioned how popular the Cliffs communities are around here?)

  • Hole 15 features the largest known fruit-bearing North American Pear Tree in the country!

6. The Reserve at Lake Keowee

  • Voted by the Greenville News' readers "Best Upstate Community" in 2013 and 2014.
  • USC head football coach Steve Spurrier claims The Reserve is his favorite Upstate course.

7. Cliffs at Glassy

  • The Cliffs communities started BIG! As South Carolina's only mountaintop golf course, Golf Digest named it the "Fourth most scenic in the nation". (darn you pebble creek!)
  • The Glassy Chapel sits at one of the highest points on Glassy Mountain. People from all over come just to see the amazing scenery from this quaint chapel.

8. Thornblade Club 

  • Bump elbows with the elite! The founding member of Thornblade Club, Jay Haas, is a two-time Champions Tour champion while other PGA champions can be seen frequenting the Tom Fazio designed course as well.

9. Cliffs at Keowee Springs (are you seeing a pattern?)

  • Bring the kids to this one! A set of family tees makes this course ideal for your tag-along young PGA hopeful.

10. Country Club of Spartanburg

  • The country Club of Spartanburg serves as host of the Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational.
  • It is also home to the largest private pool in the Carolinas!


Whether you're visiting or already call the Upstate home, these beautiful courses are just a stones throw away!


Posted in Upstate Living
March 2, 2015

The $441 BILLION Industry

Last year alone people spent an astounding $441 billion in...RENT. That is a crazy amount of money and it's only expected to increase! Over the past 25 years, rent prices have steadily increased, with the biggest jumps coming since the housing bubble (see graph below0.



Many people have delayed buying a house until the economy recovers and while this makes sense, it doesn't make the pill any easier to swallow. Because more people are wanting to rent, the supply of homes available to rent are dwindling so landlords are able to jack up prices. This supply and demand shift has made renting LESS affordable than buying. According to a Zillow report, the percent of monthly income people can expect to devote to a mortgage payment is 15.3% while he percent of monthly income they can expect to devote to rent is 29.9%. Yes, buying a home is still a huge step, but would you rather pay your own mortgage or someone else's? Because, regardless of whether you rent or own, you are still paying a mortgage, the only difference is when you're paying your own, you have all the perks of being a homeowner and less of a cost. 


If you're currently renting and don't want to be or just have some questions, call our office anytime!

Feb. 23, 2015

Greenville is on the Rise

It's always fun to see your hometown make national news!

This year, Greenville was named #7 on the Top Ten list of Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2015. What does that mean for us? Well, we will likely see more tourists flocking Main Street, The Peace Center, Jones Gap State Park, and other key locations that used to be our little secret. We may now have to make a reservation to our favorite restaurant or buy tickets WAY in advance to our favorite shows and events, but that is actually a good thing. That means people are coming to our city and boosting our economy. That means more and more people will fall in love with our town and want to live here. That means our housing prices will continue to rise! Okay, we may be getting ahead of ourselves, but it's true. The more the nation sees of Greenville and it's surrounding areas, the more likely it is for our once small town to become a contender for the South's biggest city. Every week we hear of another international company choosing the Upstate to call home. The increase in popularity, jobs, and tourists will no doubt make our beautiful hometown an international star! Get prepared Upstate! We are in for one crazy year!


To read the full article from PRWeb, click the following link. Greenville a top travel destination spot!

Posted in Upstate Living
Feb. 16, 2015

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather

With the current arctic blast underway in our country, many areas are experiencing uncommonly cold weather. There's nothing quite like coming home from work expecting your home to be nice and warm but instead finding there's been a power outage or your heat has stopped working! Unfortunately, that means many people are unprepared to handle this intense cold. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a great info-graphic that gives tips on everything you need to do to prepare your home for the winter weather. 


Here are a few other tips to stay safe during this cold front:

  • If you need to venture out, make sure that your car's gas tank is near full to prevent ice in the lines.
  • Always keep extra blankets, phone chargers, flashlights with extra batteries, and jumper cables in your car in case you were to be stranded. (For a full list of how to keep your car winter ready, you can check out this website: Prepare your car for winter weather.
  • In case of power failure, make sure you have enough flashlights with extra batteries, extra blankets, and plenty of dry wood for a fireplace.
  • If you must use candles or space heaters, never leave them unattended and keep them at least three feet away from all furniture and drapery.
  • Know your area's emergency warnings for severe weather. Check news outlets often for any up-to-date information regarding detours, school closings, and more.

We hope that you all stay warm and cozy during this cold time, but if this frigid weather is the determining factor for your move to a warmer location, make the Expert Real Estate Team your first call. We will be happy to assist you in all of your real estate needs!



Posted in Home Tips
Feb. 9, 2015

Why buying a Home is Like Dating

As a buyer, we're sure you've researched every home you've liked extensively. You know the crime rate, the school district, the distance from home to work, and the list goes on and on. But just like a dating website, you won't find out the hidden quirks by just scrolling through the internet! To really get to know (and love) your future home, here are some things to look out for that you may not have considered.

  • Don't just visit the home once. Sure, it's love at first sight, but just like you (probably) wouldn't marry someone after the first date, you shouldn't buy a home you've only seen once. If possible, visit the home during different parts of the day. Daytime living may be easy, but evenings may bring loud neighbors or heavy traffic.
  • Will the home feel as amazing after you've been away? In love, absence is supposed to make the heart grow fonder. It should be the same way with your home. If you would dread coming back home from a relaxing trip, it may not be the place for you. Most homes can't live up to a gorgeous vacation spot, but it should still feel like your own personal oasis.
  • Communication is KEY! How long could you stand to be with someone who you couldn't communicate with? Chances are, not very long. Living in a home with bad cell phone service may not be as big of a deal breaker, but you'd still want to know. When visiting the home, call, text, or surf the web on your phone just to see what the service is like.
  • Bathroom habits. No one really likes to talk about it, but it's still a topic that's eventually going to come up. In dating, that can take awhile, but in home buying it shouldn't. Check the water pressure in the shower, turn on the sink, and flush the toilet. Some people may not care, but it's still nice to see how things will work when you're living there.
  • Do your research! You wouldn't invite someone you've just met into your home without doing a little digging first and that rule applies to home buying as well. Check out the neighborhood, ask around. A red flag may be lurking around and you wouldn't know it because you didn't do your research.
  • Be prepared for danger zones. In dating, you know the deal breakers that will send you running for the hills and the issues you don't like, but can live with. The location of your home may have issues you don't like but are willing to live with, but you should inform yourself of the potential danger zones you may encounter. Depending on where you live, some dangers may include flooding, wild fires, frequent storm damage, etc. These dangers could affect your insurance and cause your payments to go up significantly.
  •  Perfect is just an illusion. More often than not, that gorgeous, too-good-to-be-true date has some pretty icky things buried beneath those good looks. Sometimes the person who doesn't always look the best has the best personality. It's what is on the inside that counts. But what does this have to do with real estate? EVERYTHING! You are probably not going to walk into a home and it be everything you are looking for. The paint color may not be your taste and the carpets may be ugly, but if the layout is great and the home has good bones, paint and flooring are easy fixes in the grand scheme of things.
  • Be invested for the long haul. Dating is great and fun, but it's not something most people want to do forever. The main goal of dating is to find someone to marry and build a life with. Buying a home is the same thing. House hunting is fun and can be exciting (sometimes even heartbreaking), but the goal of house hunting is house buying. Take your time, do your research, be invested. After all, your home is the place you will build your life. Have fun, but be serious.
Posted in Buying
Feb. 2, 2015

Do-It-Yourself Projects That May Sell Your Home Faster

Whether you are an old pro or new to the housing market, selling a home is a stressful business. While we recommend using an Expert Realtor to handle the behind-the-scenes stuff, like paperwork and comparable properties, there are always things to do on your own to really give your home an advantage. Here are a few do-it-yourself projects that may just sell your home faster.

 1. First Impressions are EVERYTHING                                                                                                                            If you don't get giddy walking up to your home, chances are buyers won't either. The first impression of a home is        key to selling your home fast, and it doesn't take much to bring it from "blah" to "oh-la-la!"

  • replace old address numbers for new, exterior ones.
  • paint the front door, but don't add too much decoration. Nothing says "welcome" like a bright front door and a simple wreath or door mat.
  • remove all weeds and keep plantings trim and not overgrown.
  • keep the entrance way clear of any debris (this includes leaves or mud on the outside and shoes,  clutter, etc, on the inside.)

2. Freshen Up Your Front and Backyards                                                                                                                        Even if your thumb is less green and more black, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to revitalize your                      outdoors.

  • mulch around landscape beds and trees. This not only protects plants and soil (if done correctly), but it also gives your home a manicured look that many buyers can't resist.
  • if your are garden-savvy, planting some seasonal flowers or shrubbery will give your outdoors a pop of color.

3. Baking Soda can be Your Best Friend                                                                                                                          In the hustle and bustle of every day life, we often don't notice things like that sticky spot in the corner or                the smells in our home, but you can bet any potential buyer will notice it first thing! By using baking soda in            your garbage disposals, trash cans, and refrigerators, any lingering odors will be eliminated.

4. Caulking and Re-Grouting                                                                                                                                           While this tip is a little more time consuming, it surely makes a world of difference. Depending on the age of             your home, daily wear and tear and settling can do a number on your baseboards, tile, trim, and window                 and door frames. Caulking and/or re-grouting can give your home a more polished look. Just remember,                 any gap larger than one-fourth to three-eighths of an inch should have a backer rod in place.

5. Who Says Kitchen Remodeling Has to be Expensive?                                                                                                     If you plan to do an entire kitchen overhaul, it will most likely cost a pretty penny, but there are a few                     things you can do to revamp your kitchen that won't break the bank.

  • Cabinets: If your cabinets are in decent shape but only look terrible, try resurfacing them instead of replacing them. You can re-stain, re-glaze, or even re-paint them for a brand new look.
  • Appliances: If your appliances still work like new but are not the best color, change it! Many home improvement stores offer a cover that goes over the front of the appliance to completely change its appearance.
  • Hardware: By changing out the handles and drawer pulls on your cabinets, it can take your kitchen or bathroom from country cabin to contemporary chic!

6. Don't Just Use a Closet for Hiding Clutter                                                                                                                    What is one thing everyone asks for but is the hardest to come by? Storage Space!! In newer homes this                isn't as much of an issue, but let's be honest; you can never have too much closet space. One of the easiest            projects you can tackle is cleaning out your closets. Not only will this free up space for you, but you can bet            that potential buyers will look in your closets. If they see an overflowing mess, they'll think it's because your            home lacks adequate storage space and will quickly start the search for another home that does.

When it comes to home selling tips, these are just the tip of the iceberg. For more tips on selling your home, check out our Pinterest page; Leanne Carswell on Pinterest

Posted in Selling