Tag Archives: augusta

April’s First Full Week is Almost Here

Golfers

The Master’s Tournament is one month away.  Busy homeowners are preparing for guests or renters.  I saw the first Redbuds in bloom today and Daffodils and Tulips are ready to burst into bloom.  In less than a month Augusta will be in full flower with Dogwoods and Azaleas leading the march to Springtime.  Living in Augusta at this time of year makes me wonder why anyone would up want to live up north.

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Having fun in Augusta, GA

We’re blessed with a great climate and an abundance of opportunities for recreation, family activities and exercise. While we’re best known for Golf, Disc Golf is also huge in Augusta.  Lakes, Rivers and Ponds provide great boating, fishing and swimming opportunities.  Ancient Indian sites, Revolutionary War & Civil War History sites are all around us here.  When you yearn for the excitement of big cities; Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC are 2 1/2 hours away, as are the historic cities of Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA and mountains of north Georgia.  Here are some photographs (there are many more I’ll add to future posts) to give you an idea of local opportunities  and a few that are a short drive away:  photo-6IMG_0166IMG_0300 copyIMG_0765DSCN1142 IMG_0216Table Rock

Front Entry Tips and Trends for Every Home

Front Entry Tips and Trends for Every Home

Despite the increased prominence of back doors, mudrooms, and other alternative entryways, most visitors still enter a home through its front door. Here’s how you can help buyers and sellers set the stage for a gracious point of arrival.

With pressure to justify every square foot of real estate and conserve energy, the larger-than-life front hall is undergoing a metamorphosis. It’s not disappearing, though—rather, it’s doing its job of welcoming in a more compact, efficient way.

Design experts may use different terms to describe the space beyond a front door—vestibule, hallway, entryway, foyer. The terms are quite interchangeable with slight variations. A vestibule is generally a small, separate air-lock that stops cold and hot air from entering the rest of the house. A hallway provides entry but also links spaces and rooms—at the front or anywhere in the home, says design guru Marianne Cusato, author of The Just Right Home (Workman Publishing). Of course there are dozens of other words you can use to describe this space. And whether you pronounce the foyer as foy-yay with a French spin or foy-er (rhymes with lawyer) really depends on how grand you or your home owners want the space to sound.

Whatever you call it, it’s important to understand the potential impact the entrance to a home can have on a visitor’s first impressions, says Stephanie Mallios, e-PRO, salesperson with Towne Realty in Short Hill, N.J. “If there are too many shoes and coats strewn about and no place to put keys or gloves, many buyers will have a tough time imagining how they’ll live there,” she says.

Study these eight design details to help your clients create a welcoming space that does its job well, both aesthetically and functionally—no matter what it’s called.

Size, scale, sequence. Due to energy-efficiency concerns,an entry with a soaring ceiling and sweeping staircase is far less popular than it once was. Still, a modest entryway as small as 4 feet to 5 feet wide can convey a proper sense of arrival, says Cusato. More important than size is the scale (the space should be in proportion with the rest of the house) and the sequence (the rest of the home should flow out in a logical way), says architect Duo Dickinson, author of Staying Put (Taunton Press). Upon entering, people should be able to see other spaces and rooms and know where to go next, says architect Julie Hacker of Cohen-Hacker Architects in Evanston, Ill. In the best layouts, there may even be a view straight through to a backyard.

Height. The number of levels or floors in the structure often determines this factor, though even two- and three-story homes are moving away from entries with soaring ceilings. The location of a stairway will hinge in part on square footage and what role an architect or builder wants the stairs to play. In smaller homes, it’s often part of the foyer but off to the side, and goes straight up—being purely functional. In larger homes, the staircase might occupy its own separate hall and curve gracefully to a landing, past a window or window bank, and up to the next level. To carpet or not is a personal preference, though bare treads can be noisy; a good compromise is a runner covering painted or hardwood treads.

Millwork. To fashion a gracious entry, most design pros recommend a door that is at least three feet wide and 72 inches tall. The trend of pricey double doors is disappearing, according to Chicago-area builder Orren Pickell. Whether a door includes a glazed transom or sidelights should depend on how home owners feel about privacy and bringing natural light into the interior. The size of the glazing should be proportional to the door’s width and height. For baseboard and crown molding, simplification is the overriding trend, which keeps fussiness and costs down, except for the most traditional houses, says Cusato. Wainscoting is another way to add visual detail. Columns are helpful to screen off adjoining rooms without completely walling them off. Hacker uses two columns with space for books cut out on the back side of each on the living room side to separate areas in her home.

Lighting. Good lighting is essential for safety, but it also sets a welcoming mood. A chandelier or large pendant is the obvious choice, while ceiling cans or sconces also work well. Whatever fixture home owners prefer, advise them to install dimmers. Not only will this allow them to save energy, but options for differing lighting intensity and color can also help set a dramatic mood for a party, a bright feel for an open house, and a low-light one for romance.

Flooring. A visually rich, substantial looking floor will reward visitors, says DickinsonBut due to the wear and tear common for front entryways, it should also be practical. Slate, stone, and porcelain meet that criteria, though they can be cold on bare feet in winter. Avoid soft woods that may dent and scratch; don’t use carpeting since it will become too dirty with traffic; and avoid vinyl unless it’s one of the more expensive, newer-looking versions. Home owners may wish to set off the area in a different material than adjacent rooms and hallways. But choosing one common material for several rooms produces a feeling of continuous flow and makes smaller rooms appear larger.

Furnishings. Depending on the entry’s size, home owners might consider adding a table to place mail, gloves, hats, and keys. Also, a mat or rug to wipe off feet and a chair or bench to put on and take off footwear can be helpful for maintaining tidiness. Finally, a mirror to check one’s appearance before heading out the door—or joining a group when entering—can be a welcome sight.

Wallpaper vs. paint. This choice is highly personal. If home owners love color, they should go for the paintbrush, with the knowledge that darker palettes can add drama and romance. Of course, not all future buyers will have the same taste, but repainting is an easy home repair in smaller areas. If your clients are into patterns, the same rule applies, though today many wallpapers are quite easy to hang and remove. The key is for surfaces to appear clean and not look dated, which may mean banishing that old-school floral style.

Bells and whistles. A coat closet is a nice extra, as is a powder room, though newer construction may feature such conveniences at the back of a domicile where they’ll be used most frequently. An umbrella stand can hold a variety of other items—canes, tennis racquets—neatly, and niches or shelves can display collectibles. A doorknocker outside, even if rarely used, is a classy touch akin to wearing one great piece of statement jewelry. It can really give the front door a Downton Abbey feel.

If your buyers and sellers take away just one lesson from you, it should be that a well-planned front entrance—no matter the name, size, or style—will add value to their home.

Can Home Staging Really Win Over Buyers?

Eighty-one percent of REALTORS® who represent buyers say that staged homes make it easier for their home buyers to visualize a property as their future home. Forty-six percent of buyer agents also reported that staging makes their buyers more willing to tour a home they viewed online, and 45 percent say that buyers tend to view the value of the home more positively if it is decorated to buyers’ tastes.

Twenty-eight percent of agents said their buyers are even more willing to overlook other property faults if a home is staged, according to NAR’s survey.

Buyer agents also say that staging can potentially influence how much their buyers are willing to offer for a home. According to the survey, thirty-two percent of buyer agents surveyed say that staged homes increase the dollar value buyers are willing to offer for a home by 1 percent to 5 percent; 16 percent said it could increase offers by 6 percent to 10 percent.

However, not everyone chooses to stage a home in prepping it for sale. Forty-four percent of seller agents say they only suggest that sellers declutter and fix property faults, and they do not recommend that their clients should professionally stage the home.

Indeed, about 34 percent of seller agents surveyed say they stage all the homes they list; 13 percent stage only “difficult” homes to sell; and 4 percent only stage high-priced homes they list, according to the NAR survey.

Here are additional findings from the NAR survey:

  • The median dollar value to stage a home: $675 per home
  • Among homes that are staged, here’s how it is often paid for: 62 percent of sellers’ agents offer the home staging servicing to sellers; 39 percent say that the sellers pay for staging prior to the home being listed; 10 percent of sellers pay for staging after the home is sold; and 3 percent of agents’ firms pay for the home staging service.
  • The three most important rooms to be staged for buyers: living room, kitchen, and master bedroom.

By REALTOR® Magazine Daily News

Moving to Fort Gordon – The Best Military Rebate Program

Are you thinking about moving to a new home close to Fort Gordon?  If so, you need to check out this incredible offer.

Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate Company, as a member of Leading RE now has the best rebate program in the industry.  If you qualify for USAA or Navy Federal Credit you qualify for M.O.M.  Additionally, at the local level B&C offers the program to Veterans, not just retired Veterans as some programs do.

Additionally, in most cases the rebate is higher, there is no waiting – the rebate is applied at the closing, and the rebate may be used on either the buyer or seller side.

If you qualify don’t pass up this benefit designed to honor you and your family for your service to our country.  Contact David Steele, your Certified Military Specialist, to determine if you’re eligible.

Importantly, you are not bound to use this program with any particular mortgage program and you are not obligated to use a mortgage providers rebate program simply because they are providing your mortgage.

If you anticipate getting orders for Fort Gordon or the Cyber Warfare Center of Excellence check out the Flyer below:

MOM Flyer

The Real Estate Market in Augusta, GA by David Steele

If you’re moving to Augusta, GA for work or lifestyle you may be curious about the state of the real estate market here.  Perhaps you are moving as a member of the military or an employee of the Cyber Warfare Center of Excellence, NSA, Fort Gordon.  Or, maybe you have sworn you’ve wielded a snow shovel for the last time?  Let me start by reassuring you that prices here are lower than almost any other area  of the country.  The best news is that the quality of the housing stock here is significantly above average and demand is not, at this time, outstripping supply.

Prices here are expected to rise 6% in 2015, according to the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.  State-wide housing prices are nearly at pre-recession levels.  Growth in housing prices should be consistent and out-pace the rest of the nation for several years to come.  Nevertheless, even after years of price inflation you will be able to buy more house and a better house here than almost anywhere else in the country.

Additionally, people here are friendly and the level of stress (think of all the time wasted in traffic jams) is so low you’ll feel yourself unwinding.  Local restaurants abound like my fav’s Frog Hollow, The Bistro, Abel Brown, the French Market Grille and Calvert’s.  Of course all the chain’s are here too.  Whatever Augusta lacks is a short drive away: big cities like Atlanta and Charlotte are nearby; Charming Colonial cities Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA are two and one-half hours away as are beaches and the mountains.  Of course there is a lot to do here: think Golf, at our many public courses, gated golf neighborhoods like Westlake and Champion’s Retreat, or the exclusive Sage Valley Country Club, Augusta Country Club and the Augusta National if you’re particularly blessed.  Boating on the river or the lake; fishing; disc golf, horses (think Aiken and Dogwood Stables & Fox hunting in Thomson); the Riverwalk and great music and shopping downtown.  If history, architecture and archeology are your thing we’ve got American Indians, Revolutionary and Civil War sites and historic neighborhoods galore.

Let me know if I can help.  I’m dedicated to serving you.  I provide you with all you need to decide on neighborhoods, select and negotiate with seller’s, put you in touch with lenders and even give you my highly rated history tour.

Write to me at dsteeletwg@ gmail.com or contact me @ davidsteelerealestate.me

A complimentary copy of the 2015 Georgia Economic Outlook can be downloaded by visiting terry.uga.edu/selig and use promo code SELIG15 at final checkout to download your copy.

 

Sold in 3 Days

Sold
Sold

Joey Barrs, this home’s owner, kindly created this marketing piece for me.  Check back frequently to get the full story of how we got these results.  It started with coaching, continued with excellent preparation by the owner’s and a decision to wait until the house was ready to make a great impression.  There’s more, of course.  Coming up: How we got great results for the seller and a “win” for the buyer.

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Staging and Selling Your Home

I posted the video link below to highlight a great example of a home properly staged.  See for yourself why this home was under contract in three days at full asking price.  If the video doesn’t launch you can see the video at http://www.davidsteelerealestate.com

FRONT1FRONT5

Preparation for listing began with a meeting several weeks before we listed the house.  A list of ten or so items was suggested and the reasons why each item was important was explained.  We started by improving curb appeal: adding a wreath and a hanging plant to focus the eye at the front entry and planting colorful flowers to make the home stand out. Decluttering was accomplished by placing excess furniture in storage and reducing knick-knacks and family pictures without stripping the house of personality.

LR2 LR8

Paint was freshened up as needed and a few minor cosmetic issues were addressed that might have given potential buyers pause.

The kitchen had already been renovated,  KITCHEN2but as you can see below it was polished and staged to make it a highly desirable in a house at this price.

KITCHEN4 KITCHEN5KITCHEN3

 

As a finishing touch we focused on helping the next owner imagine themselves living in this house, enjoying the outdoor spaces. BACK7 BACK4MASTERBR1MASTERBR4

 

The MBR sealed the deal.  Who couldn’t imagine laying their heads down on a comfortable bed at the end of each day?

And, as you can tell the seller’s hired a talented professional photographer to make sure their home stood out.

Mission accomplished.  What do you think?

Share your tips to keep the conversation going.