Ultimate Staging Guide Checklist

January 22nd, 2016

As the spring market is quickly approaching, many are considering putting their homes on the market.  What can you do to get the biggest and best return on your investment? Check out this article on how you can get your home ready to sell quickly and for a great price.  Also, in preparations, it’s important to consult a licensed, professional real estate agent who has specific knowledge about the local market.  We have over 150 qualified agents at Blanchard and Calhoun who are ready to help you – call one today!  706-863-8953 (West Augusta Office), 706-868-1000 (Evans Office), 706-554-6097 (Waynesboro Office) 803-643-1018 (Aiken Office)

The Ultimate Guide Staging List from HGTV:

1. Plan Ahead

  • Walk through each room and criticize the home from a buyer’s perspective.
  • Ask a few local real estate professionals for their advice.
  • Consider getting a professional home inspection to see if any repairs are needed.
  • Hire a contractor to handle any major projects.
  • Consider getting an appraisal to find out your current market value.
  • Hold a yard sale. Sell, donate or trash anything you don’t need.

2. Clean, Declutter and Depersonalize

  • Thoroughly clean the entire home.
  • Scrub tile in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Clean hardwood floors.
  • Steam clean carpets and drapes. Consider replacing carpet if stains are prominent.
  • Get rid of all dust bunnies.
  • Repair cracks and holes in the walls.
  • Paint interior walls with neutral colors, like beige, cream or light pastels. Pale blues and greens are good for bathrooms.
  • Remove excess and oversized furniture.
  • Rearrange furniture to maximize space.
  • Organize room closets and store out-of-season clothes.
  • Remove all small appliances, toys, magazines and pet items.
  • Remove family photos, personal collections and medications.
  • Remove items from the garage and store them off site.
  • Secure valuable items, including cash and jewelry.

3. Maximize Curb Appeal

  • Paint the home’s exterior, including trim, doors and shutters.
  • Check front door, doorbell, address number and welcome mat.
  • Power wash the siding and windows.
  • Inspect the roof and make repairs as needed.
  • Repair cracks in the driveway and sidewalks.
  • Sweep the entryway and walkways.
  • Mow, water and fertilize the lawn.
  • Trim shrubs and trees and rake the leaves.
  • Plant colorful flowers and shrubs.
  • Store any toys or equipment lying on the yard.
  • Clean up pet droppings.
  • Clean the gutters and downspouts.

4. Pay Attention to Kitchens and Bathrooms

  • Mop and wax/polish the floors.
  • Clear the countertops.
  • Replace outdated hardware.
  • Clean appliances and fixtures.
  • Clean and organize the pantry, cabinets and drawers.
  • Replace old caulking around sinks and bathtubs.
  • Remove stains from sinks, toilets and bathtubs.
  • Keep all toilet seat lids closed.
  • Hang fresh towels.

5. Appeal to the Senses

  • Bake cookies or burn scented candles.
  • Offer light refreshments.
  • Install higher wattage incandescent light bulbs to brighten rooms.
  • Turn on all the lights.
  • Open windows to let in fresh air.
  • Open curtains or blinds to let in natural light and show off views.
  • Turn off TVs.
  • Relocate pets on the day of the open house.
  • Refrain from smoking in the home.

6. Show Off Your Home’s Best Features

  • Remove rugs to show off hardwood floors.
  • Pull back drapes to showcase nice views.
  • Stage the front porch or deck with furniture and potted plants.
  • Make sure fireplaces are in working condition.
  • Clean the backyard and pool area.

7. Prepare for the Open House

  • Hold an exclusive brokers’ open house to let local agents know your home is on the market. Offer food and refreshments.
  • Inform family, friends and neighbors of the date and time of your open house.
  • Put ads in local newspapers, real estate publications and on free Web sites like Craigslist.com.
  • Put up “Open House” signs on the front lawn and at nearby intersections with directions to the house.
  • Create property description sheets and prepare important documents, such as homeowner’s association rules, inspection reports and purchase offer forms.

Georgia Power Accepts Big Deliveries From Italy — 149-Ton Tanks

September 25th, 2015

Source: http://nuclearstreet.com/nuclear_power_industry_news/b/nuclear_power_news/archive/2015/09/25/georgia-power-accepts-big-deliveries-from-italy-_2d002d00_-149_2d00_ton-tanks-092502.aspx#.VgWuyctVhBd

Georgia Power said Thursday the Vogtle nuclear power plant expansion project near Waynesboro, Ga., received two packages from Italy this week – two core make-up tanks for Unit 4, each weighing 149 tons.

Vogtle TanksThe tanks were fabricated in Itay and arrived through the Port of Savannah, where they were placed on a train for shipment to the construction site.

In addition, the 672-ton Unit 4 Steam Generator A recently reached the site following a journey from South Korea to the Port of Savannah.

Buzz Miller, executive vice president of nuclear development for Georgia Power, hailed the global supply chain that “continues to bring components and equipment safely to the Vogtle expansion site.” Components have arrived from South Korea, Italy and Japan. Miller praised the diligence of workers at Port of Savannah and all along the route for safely delivering parts for what he called an historic project.

In the last 16 months, the Port of Savannah has handled more than 24,000 tons of equipment and components for Vogtle Units 3 and 4, said Georgia Power in a statement.

“Just as the Vogtle nuclear expansion will meet the energy needs of a growing Georgia for more than 60 years, the Port of Savannah is helping meet the international logistics needs of the project. In fact, the Georgia Ports Authority recently announced that its Fiscal Year 2015 was a record year for the amount of cargo moving through the state’s ports,” the company said.

Georgia Power’s Vogtle expansion is expected to culminate in a power plant that produces more electricity than any other U.S. nuclear power plant. Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company, is overseeing the construction. Southern Nuclear will also operate the completed 1,100-megawatt reactors which are expected to go online in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia and Dalton Utilities own the two new units with Georgia Power owning the largest share – 45.7 percent.

Pending Sales Continue to Stay Strong

August 24th, 2015

Existing-home sales steadily increased for the third consecutive month in July, while stubbornly low inventory levels and rising prices are likely to blame for sales to first-time buyers falling to their lowest share since January, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million in July from a downwardly revised 5.48 million in June. Sales in July remained at the highest pace since February 2007 (5.79 million), have now increased year-over-year for ten consecutive months and are 10.3 percent above a year ago (5.07 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the increase in sales in July solidifies what has been an impressive growth in activity during this year’s peak buying season. “The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more households to buy now,” he said. “As a result, current homeowners are using their increasing housing equity towards the downpayment on their next purchase.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in July was $234,000, which is 5.6 percent above July 2014. July’s price increase marks the 41st consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

“Despite the strong growth in sales since this spring, declining affordability could begin to slowly dampen demand,” adds Yun. “Realtors® in some markets reported slower foot traffic in July in part because of low inventory and concerns about the continued rise in home prices without commensurate income gains.”

Total housing inventory3 at the end of July declined 0.4 percent to 2.24 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 4.7 percent lower than a year ago (2.35 million). Unsold inventory is at a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.9 months in June.

The percent share of first-time buyers declined in July for the second consecutive month, falling from 30 percent in June to 28 percent — the lowest share since January of this year (also 28 percent). A year ago, first-time buyers represented 29 percent of all buyers.

“The fact that first-time buyers represented a lower share of the market compared to a year ago even though sales are considerably higher is indicative of the challenges many young adults continue to face,” adds Yun. “Rising rents and flat wage growth make it difficult for many to save for a downpayment, and the dearth of supply in affordable price ranges is limiting their options.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage climbed to 4.05 percent in July from 3.98 percent in June — the first time above 4 percent since November 2014 (4.00 percent) and the highest since September 2014 (4.16 percent).

Properties typically stayed on the market for 42 days in July, an increase from June (34 days) but below the 48 days in July 2014. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 135 days in July, while foreclosures sold in 49 days and non-distressed homes took 41 days. Forty-three percent of homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month.

All-cash sales increased slightly to 23 percent of transactions in July (22 percent in June) but are down from 29 percent a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in July, up from 12 percent in June but down from 16 percent in July 2014. Sixty-four percent of investors paid cash in July.

Representing the lowest share since NAR began tracking in October 2008, distressed sales4 — foreclosures and short sales — declined to 7 percent in July from 8 percent in June; they were 9 percent a year ago. Five percent of July sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 17 percent below market value in July (15 percent in June), while short sales were discounted 12 percent (18 percent in June).

NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., says the housing market is in a much better place and has come a long way since the depths of the recession. “Five years ago, distressed sales represented 33 percent of the market in July,” he said. “For many previously distressed homeowners throughout the country, rising home values in recent years have helped recover equity and the vast improvement in several local job markets means fewer are falling behind on their mortgage payments.”

Single-family home sales increased 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.96 million in July (highest since February 2007 at 5.08 million) from 4.83 million in June, and are now 11.0 percent above the 4.47 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $235,500 in July, up 5.8 percent from July 20

Existing-home sales in the South increased 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 2.29 million in July, and are 9.6 percent above July 2014. The median price in the South was $203,500, up 7.0 percent from a year ago.

Video Home Report

July 30th, 2015

Days on Market falling Again

July 29th, 2015

In some cities across the country, homes are selling faster than ever.

Nationally, properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in June, the shortest number of days since the National Association of REALTORS® began tracking in May 2011. Short sales spent the most time on the market with a median of 129 days, foreclosures sold in 39 days, and non-distressed homes were on the market for 33 days. NAR reports that 47 percent of homes sold in less than a month in June.

The Aiken/Augusta Market has seen a decline of 4.2% to 126 days on the market for June 2015

The real estate brokerage Redfin’s barometer is showing the median time on the market dropped to just 26 days in June, the shortest time on record. In some hot housing markets, homes were falling under contract in 11 days or less.

Denver homes sold in six days or fewer in June; Seattle’s median was nine days; Portland was 10 days; and Boston was 11 days, according to Redfin.

But some cities are seeing longer selling times. For example, the median time on the market for homes in Brownsville, Texas was 122 days; Myrtle Beach, S.C., was 105 days; Miami was 75 days; and metro New York 68 days, according to June data from realtor.com®, which is based off of information from local MLSs nationwide.

The strength of the local economy, employment and income growth, and low inventories of homes for sale compared to demand are all factors that lead to faster selling times, according to economists.

Source: NAR “Selling Times Reaching New Lows,”