4 Repairs NOT to Make When Selling a House

by carolinaone_marketing 26. February 2015 02:31

Summerville has a booming real estate market, and we all know that you need to spruce up your house before you put it up for sale. But not every improvement is going to translate to extra dollars at closing. Here are four changes you may think you need to make, but really don’t—straight from our Summerville, SC real estate experts:

Repainting everything
Many homeowners’ first instinct is to paint, paint, paint... not so fast! If the outside of your home needs a new paint job (or siding repair), this is a great choice which will improve curb appeal and make your listing pop. Interior repainting however is more dicey. Everyone walking through your home is already fantasizing about the new colors they’re going to repaint everything, so it doesn’t necessarily pay to do repainting of your own. Replacing bad wallpaper or repainting a dingy room can be a good choice, but you don’t necessarily have to take your pastel butter-yellow kitchen and repaint it white just to make the sale.

Removing vintage elements
If you have any vintage or antique elements in your home, think very, very carefully before removing or tampering with them. This is especially true of hardwood elements or antique light fixtures, original cabinet handles, etc. They may look dated to you but they are likely irreplaceable and many of your buyers may cringe and brand new fixtures. Consider whether restoration is better than replacing them, or even if they look okay as-is. If you do remove them, box them and include them with the house.

The home improvement projects that you take on before selling a house should be low to moderate cost and have obvious payoff in the sale price. Generally, that will not include entire remodeling projects. There are rare exceptions to this, such as when a bathroom or kitchen is in terrible shape, but bear in mind that any remodeling is going to be expensive and time consuming. In most cases, it will be hard to make back the cost of the remodel on the increased sale price of the house.

Anything non-mainstream
There are lots of really cool, innovative technologies that can go into houses these days, but unless they’re well known and popular they won’t improve your sale price. For example, tankless water heaters are a huge step up from traditional water heaters but most buyers have never heard of them. If a potential improvement is clever but not very mainstream, save if for your own future home and stick to the basics for the one you’re selling.



Summerville real estate

What to Look for in a Rental House

by carolinaone_marketing 25. February 2015 04:01

Finding houses for rent in Charleston, SC has gotten easier but there’s still a big difference in quality from one to the next. If you’re looking at renting a house, it’s important to get one you’ll be happy with—including the home itself and the people running it. Here are a few aspects to look for to find a rental house you’ll love:


Renting a house is a great chance to try out a new neighborhood or to get closer to the center of Charleston’s night life. Good house rental companies should have a variety of properties in all kinds of neighborhoods, from trendy areas to quiet suburbs. This means you have a wide selection to choose from and should take the time to decide which area is right for you. Consider also how long of a commute you want—saving even 30 minutes a day is a good way to give yourself more free time for relaxing, socializing with friends, or working on projects that matter to you.

Air Conditioning

This may seem like a minor point, but if you’ve been through a Charleston summer, you know it’s not. It’s surprising how many houses in Charleston still don’t have central AC or any AC at all. If there’s even a chance you’re going to be renting through the summer then consider it a priority to get a rental house with air conditioning. You’ll be glad you did.

Professional management

Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty. Houses for rent in Charleston, SC come in all different shapes and sizes, and so do the companies that run them. Generally, if you want a trouble-free experience you’re going to want to rent a house that is run by a professional management company. Real estate offices often rent houses and typically contract reliable management to make it hassle free for everybody on both sides. This can be a good place to start your search, but no matter how you find your rental house, make sure there is a dedicated building manager whom you can easily contact when needed.

A focus on amenities

Not everybody wants the same amenities in a rental house, but a good rental company will have a focus on providing as many as possible. High speed wireless Internet may be a must for some people, while a luxurious bathtub might matter to others. Look around a prospective rental house and ask yourself: are they putting my comfort first?

What else do you look for in a rental house?

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Charleston SC Real Estate

Which Repairs or Upgrades Truly Help a House Sell?

by carolinaone_marketing 24. February 2015 02:52

With so many Charleston, SC homes for sale, it can be hard to make your house stand out. You know you’ll need to make some improvements to help it sell, but you also have a limited budget. So which repairs really make a difference? Here is our short list of the changes that will really grab buyers:

Adding central air. In Charleston, there is one amenity that is "make or break" for many owners, and that’s central air. Many home buyers consider this a basic criterion; they know they can add it themselves if they have to, but they may not even ask to see homes that don’t have it. Fortunately, this works in your favor: central AC is a fairly inexpensive amenity to add, and it dramatically increases your home’s appeal

Reforming "problem rooms." It’s surprising how few homeowners organize their "fix list" room by room. Major repairs, like a new roof or raising a settled foundation, can be extremely expensive whereas remaking a single room can be relatively cheap—and has a huge impact, because most buyers make judgments from the gut as they walk through a house. Imagine yourself as a buyer and ask if there’s any room in your house that would just make you wrinkle your nose as you walk in. Maybe it’s a terrible 70s vinyl floor or maybe it’s stains from old water damage on the walls. Choose your worst "trouble room" and make a mini-project out of transforming it into the nicest room in the house. This can be as simple as new carpeting, a fresh paint job and swapping out some cheap looking fixtures.

Cosmetic changes. Again, remember that buyers often make choices based on how pretty something is and not necessarily how much work or cost is involved in the house. Basic cosmetic improvements will always boost home appeal and home value. These can include: filling cracks, replacing stained carpet, removing old wallpaper, changing window treatments, and arranging furniture so each room is easy to walk through. In some cases you may want to make more substantial changes, like replacing old cabinets in a kitchen, but these bigger improvements aren’t always needed.

Refinishing original elements. This won’t apply to every Charleston house, but if you have an older home with antique elements consider if it will be cost effective to restore any of them. Repairing and repainting wooden shutters is an easy way to boost charm and curb appeal, while refinishing hardwood features inside will make your home look like magic. This doesn’t just apply to historic gems; even some mid-century homes have a nice hardwood floor hiding under vinyl or carpeting.




Charleston SC homes for sale

How to Prep Your House for Sale

by carolinaone_marketing 23. February 2015 03:52

Charleston’s real estate market is strong again but as in any market, a little bit of prep and TLC can dramatically increase the value of your home. Unfortunately, it can also seem overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. Before you get your house listed in the Charleston real estate guide, here are the steps to take to get it ready (without making yourself crazy):

Start with landscaping. We all know about curb appeal and yet homeowners often save landscaping upgrades for last. However, these are the first things you should tackle because even just a few weeks of growth can help new landscape elements look at home in your yard. Likewise, many landscaping treatments will take multiple applications over several weeks to take effect. Give the yard what it needs and watch it green up while you take care of other projects inside.

Consider repairs based on cost and benefit. Chances are good that you can come up with a long list of dream repairs that would really add value to your house. But remember, you have lived there for years without having all these improvements, which means they can’t all be mission critical—and repairs or upgrades can be very costly. To narrow down the list, consider the estimates cost of each (get multiple quotes for big projects) and the impact it will have on the perceived value of the home. In other words, putting in a heated floor in the bathroom may not be that important if you’re selling your home in August, but getting that central AC sure will be.

Limit repainting. Repainting is inexpensive compared to other repairs and it can have a big effect on how the home looks. However, it’s also time consuming and stressful, and heavily depends on personal taste. No sooner do you get rid of that bright orange room to make it a nice neutral white than a buyer comes through considering which shade of green to repaint it to. Ask your realtor for their opinion on which rooms absolutely need a paint job, and leave the rest alone.

A thorough cleaning/decluttering is a must. Decluttering is something you’re going to need to do before moving anyway, so get an early start and make your house look spacious and breezy.


What else would you do to prep your house for sale?



Charleston SC Real Estate

What Originally Drew People to Summerville?

by carolinaone_marketing 12. February 2015 08:11

There's no doubt that Summerville is more popular than ever. The Summerville, SC real estate market is thriving as people seek a peaceful, pristine place to make their homes and raise their families, all within easy driving distance of Charleston. But the popularity of Summerville as a place to live is by no means a new phenomenon—it has been a destination for nearly two centuries.

Originally, Summerville was exactly what its name implied: a place to spend the summer. The moneyed class of Charleston made it a point to leave the city during the summer to avoid all the problems that a hot, humid season could bring to a big city in the 1800s. Thus, summer homes were erected to provide a place with fresh, breezy air where the wealthy could get away from it all. Summerville offered a unique setting that is rich in pine trees, fresh running streams, and abundant flowers. All these factors combined to help Summerville become not just a summer vacation town, but a health destination as well. 


In the 19th century, diseases of the lung were a major problem, including the frightening tuberculosis. Doctors of the time made the logical conclusion that patients with these diseases should seek a place to live with fresh, clean air. It just so happened that Summerville had some of the cleanest and most fragrant air in the United States, thanks to the same shady pine forests that had made it famous in the first place. Accordingly, health spas were opened and patients flocked to the area. Some were temporary visitors and others built homes so they could enjoy the salubrious breezes seasonally or year round.

The science of medicine was still developing in the 1800s and it's not clear whether Summerville's pine-scented breezes really helped cure any lung diseases. It is true that pine resin is a mild antiseptic, and its pungent odor is thanks to its astringent properties.

In any case, today's Summerville draws people for many more reasons. The ancient pine forests and many beautiful gardens continue to be a major source of appeal, but so are the quaint downtown and many shops, the community atmosphere, the proximity to Charleston, and the affordable home prices. There are many mid-range homes available in Summerville, and it remains a popular choice for professionals who work in Charleston and want to live somewhere peaceful and beautiful nearby.


Summerville real estate

3 Tips for Buying Real Estate in Charleston

by carolinaone_marketing 6. February 2015 11:20

Any good Charleston real estate guide will tell you that finding the right home is all about making a good investment. That doesn't mean it's easy to make the final choice, however. After all, any monetary advantage that you get will mean nothing if you are miserable in your own house. Here are three tips from Carolina One to guide you in the home-buying process—and help you end up with a place you'll be happy with in the long run.

1.  Location is still everything – The old adage never fails in real estate because, over time, the homes in the best locations tend to appreciate more than the rest of the market. But choosing a good location is about more than just making a great investment (as important as that is): it's about your happiness. If you want seclusion and a view of nature, you're not going to be happy surrounded by a bustling neighborhood, but Isle of Palms might be for you. And similarly, if you want access to great shopping and restaurants, you won't be happy with a 30 minute drive to get to them, but the Wagener Terrace neighborhood might be ideal. What counts as a good location will depend very much on your preferences—do you want to live in a hip neighborhood, or a peaceful suburb?—but once you know what kind of neighborhood you'd love to live in, you shouldn't compromise. It's better to get a slight fixer-upper in a great locale than a perfect house somewhere you don't like.

2.  Have enough room to grow – In recent years, people have really pared back how much space they look for in a new house, and all in all this is a smart move. However, you should think about both current and future needs when shopping for a home. Obviously, the most common example of this is having enough space for a growing family. That doesn't just mean having enough bedrooms for everyone, but also multiple bathrooms (this makes a huge difference for a family) and a room that can be used for play or family time. Storage needs will also grow along with your family. Remember, an addition or expansion is perhaps the most expensive upgrade you can make to a house, so finding a home that will suit your needs long-term is a must.

3.  Remember that most problems can be fixed – Home buyers, especially first timers, have a tendency to set high expectations that don't always survive the walk-through. Unless you're able to increase your price range, chances are good that you'll have to make at least some compromises in the search for a dream home. Remember that virtually any problem, from kitchen layout to wall color to foundation settling, can be fixed. That doesn't always mean it's cost effective, of course, but if you find yourself saying, "This home would be perfect if only…" it's time to get a quote on making that "if only" come true. If it's less than the cost of seeking a bigger or better home, then it may be worth making the upgrade.


Ready to find your own dream home? Check out a Charleston real estate guide and let the hunt begin!


Charleston SC Real Estate

Great Historical Sites to Visit in and Around Charleston

by carolinaone_marketing 13. January 2015 04:37

If you are thinking of moving to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, you'll probably be thinking of Charleston or somewhere thereabouts. A place like Goose Creek, SC for instance, offers small town country living with all of the amenities and advantages of the city close by. And Isle of Palms is famous for its beaches and recreational opportunities. The whole area has a tremendous history, as well, with many settlements dating back to the late 17th century and plantations, churches, and other structures. Here are some of the top things to visit:

1.  Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum – This museum boasts some impressive crafts, for those interested in naval and military history. The aircraft carrier the USS YORKTOWN is housed here, along with a couple of the aircrafts that would have used it as a base during the Pacific Ocean Theater of WWII. It also offers the CLAMAGORE, a just post WWII submarine that was deployed for much of the Cold War. It holds the distinction of being the only intact Guppy III type of submarine left in the U.S.




2.  St. James' Church in Goose Creek – This tiny church was founded in 1714 by the Europeans who had come from Barbados to settle the area. The building is constructed of brick, stucco, and plaster, with a slate roof, and is considered one of the best examples of early religious architecture in the colonies. There is a small churchyard with historic graves on the property, as well. However, the church is active and the interior is only open to those who gain permission from the church wardens. Nonetheless, the building is a treat to see up close.

3.  Joseph Manigault House – This historic home is located right across the street from the Charleston Museum (and when you buy tickets for both together, they come at a discount). The house was built in 1803 for Joseph Manigault, a man of French Huguenot descent whose family had prospered in America as rice farmers. The house displays furnishings of American, French, and English make, all of which are of neoclassical design appropriate to the era. Some of these are original to the house, while others were bought to complete the museum collection (but all are authentic).

If you are considering moving to Charleston or an area near it like Goose Creek, SC, check out these great sites and the many others in the area. You'll realize why so many people are moving here. With this kind of cultural scene at your fingertips, weekends will never be boring.



Home in Goose Creek, SC

Top 4 Must-See Attractions in Charleston, SC

by carolinaone_marketing 7. January 2015 05:09

South Carolina is home to one of the most stunning, charming, and historically quaint cities in the country—Charleston. It's no wonder that so many people make a point to put Charleston on their itineraries when planning trips or traveling down South. Not only is it a huge tourist destination, but many travelers fall so deeply in love with the place that they move there. Whether buying real estate in Charleston SC, selling Isle of Palms real estate, or relocating to Mount Pleasant, you can count on Carolina One Real Estate to assist you every step of the way.

As experts who have an abiding love and familiarity with the area, we've compiled a list of the top four things to do in Charleston, South Carolina, and here they are . . .

1.  Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge: The beautiful Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge connects the city of Charleston to Mount Pleasant and sports wonderful views of the Cooper River. It is best enjoyed by walk or bike ride – it's easier to pull over or stop to snap a photo!


2.  Fort Sumter National Monument: If you are a history buff, Fort Sumter is a must! The fort was originally founded in 1829, after the War of 1812 made it evident that further defense of southern harbors was needed. However, its big claim to fame came when, in the early hours of April 12th, 1861, the Confederacy fired shots at federal soldiers in the fort, starting the Civil War. In order to visit the fort, you'll need to catch a ferry, and it's wise to buy tickets ahead of time.

3.  The Old Exchange Building & Provost Dungeon: Another history-rich attraction, the Provost Dungeon was founded in 1767. It went on to serve as a prison for pirates and then revolutionaries, a place to sell slaves, and an area for public gathering, where the new president (Washington) would address the citizens in May of 1791.

4.  Isle of Palms: Isle of Palms, located a little less than half an hour from downtown Charleston, is the perfect place for a fishing or sailing break, a game of golf on a world-class course or a summer getaway – all close enough to everything you want to do in the city.


Locally owned and operated, Carolina One Real Estate serves all of Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties, with convenient sales offices located throughout the area. We are the local real estate market leader, responsible for one out of every three homes sold through the Greater Charleston, SC, area. For anybody interested in visiting or living in this beautiful area, look no further than our Charleston Real Estate Guide to provide you with ideas.


Charleston Real Estate

Everything You Need to Know about Johns Island, SC

by carolinaone_marketing 18. December 2014 09:14

As one of the most beautiful communities surrounding Charleston, John's Island, SC has recently gotten a lot of attention and more people are considering buying homes there. So what is the island really like? Here are some quick facts to help give you a feel for the area:

  • John's Island truly is an island – The island is bordered on one side by the Wadmalaw Sound and on the other sides by the Stono River and Kiawah River. This natural island has beautiful land and plenty of space because it was historically somewhat isolated from the surrounding townland.
  • It's a very quick drive from Charleston – Despite that historic separation, John's Island is now very connected to the outside world; from downtown Charleston, it's only a ten minute drive away. The two bridges to and from the island include a 4-lane expressway, which means that traffic moves smoothly even at peak times and is rarely bogged down.
  • It has 350 years of history – Native Americans, including the Kiawah, Stono and Bohicket nations, have lived on John's Island since time immemorial. The first European settlers arrived and created settlements on John's Island by the 1670s. Early relations between Europeans and Native Americans were friendly, and the settlements focused on growing indigo, an important dye export.
  • The island is known for its historic properties – With history spanning the Colonial, Revolutionary and Civil War eras to today, the island has many surviving historic structures including beautiful plantation homes.

  • Development has been carefully controlled – Much of John's Island remains undeveloped rural land, including unspoiled wilderness with woods, meadows, tidal creeks, and shoreline. There is new development and both homes and lots are available, but this development has been managed to preserve the island's serene atmosphere.
  • One of the oldest oaks in the U.S. is on John's Island – The Angel Oak has been a landmark since at least 1717. While it is not the oldest tree in the United States, it is high on the list, with estimates of its age ranging from 400 to 1500 years old.
  • John's Island is known as a great place to raise a family – Between high-performing local schools, a strong community spirit, and an extremely low crime rate, it's hard to find a better place for kids to grow up on the eastern seaboard.
  • John's Island homes are surprisingly affordable – While the island certainly has its share of multi-million dollar properties, there are a number of beautiful homes under $500,000 as well.


What has gotten you interested in John's Island, SC?




South Carolina real estate

How to Avoid Renting a Problem House

by carolinaone_marketing 11. December 2014 05:30

There are lots of houses for rent in and around the beautiful city of Charleston, SC. But finding a good rental home can be even harder than finding a good apartment, and you want to make sure to avoid getting a lemon. Here are five tips to make sure you get the rental home you really want:

1.  Know what you're looking for – There are many different kinds of houses for rent in Charleston. From gorgeous historic homes to large suburban options, from loft style condominiums to townhouses with private gardens, Charleston has it all. But that doesn't help you unless you know what kind of home you prefer to live in. Think carefully about your preferred location, how much space you need, whether you want something new or old, and your budget. It's easy to be dazzled by a particularly beautiful house only to realize after signing the lease that it doesn't really meet your needs. 

2.  Does the landlord have a "to do" list? – One of the most important things you should look for in any rental home is that it is, more or less, completely ready for you to live in comfortably. It's normal for a landlord to have one or two small projects planned for a unit—perhaps they're waiting on a new set of blinds to come in before they update all the window dressings—but if the landlord has a long to-do list that they promise they're getting to, it's a bad sign. Projects that aren't done by the time you sign the lease have a tendency of getting put off and, even if they are completed after you move in, it can be a hassle to have workers in your home. If the landlord is still getting a unit in order, keep looking.


3.  Check appliances and plumbing during the walkthrough – It might feel silly to go turning on stoves and flushing toilets as you walk through a house, but it's worth it. If a burner doesn't turn on easily and the landlord has to show you "the trick" to get it to work, remember that this will be the stove you use for every meal while you live here. Similarly, turn on faucets and showers to check water pressure and see how well the toilet flushes. No house is perfect, but if one thing after another seems faulty you may want to scratch this property off your list.

4.  Talk to other tenants – The power of talking to other tenants cannot be overstated—but you really need to do this when the landlord isn't hovering over your shoulder. Try arriving at a walkthrough 20 minutes early to catch a tenant for a quick one-on-one, or if you are introduced to a tenant by the landlord ask if you can e-mail them with more questions later. An objective opinion from someone who knows the property is priceless.

5.  Go with a pro – While there are lots of dedicated small-time landlords renting independently, it pays to hedge your bets and go with a management company that rents houses on a larger scale. They will have the resources to handle maintenance needs and emergencies in a quick, professional manner.

What else do you look for in a rental home?




Charleston Real Estate