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How-To Tuesday: Give Particle Board Furniture a Much Needed Makeover

Particle board furniture is a great choice when you have a tight budget, and there are actually some really cool, budget-friendly options out there these days. But as we all know, particle board doesn’t always withstand the test of time. It peels, chips, and warps much more easily than solid wood furniture does. If you have some fixer-upper particle board pieces that are in dire need of a makeover, we’re here to help! Follow these easy step-by-step instructions, and you’ll be showing off your refurbished, semi-custom particle board pieces in no time flat.

What You’ll Need

Sanding Block

Primer

Paint

Paintbrush

Paint Roller and Tray

Wood Filler

Optional: stencils, wallpaper, paper for decoupaging

Prep for Painting

First, repair any chips or cracks with wood putty and a putty knife. If you have spots that have bubbled up due to water damage, you can remove them with a sharp razor blade and fill with wood putty. You’ll need to let the wood putty or filler dry overnight, so make sure to do it ahead of time. Once it’s completely dry, sand the area with a high grit sandpaper until it’s smooth. Note: be careful about the cost vs. worth ratio here. If a piece is badly damaged, repairing it could actually cost more than simply replacing it.

Sand the Entire Surface

Once the repairs have been made and you have an even surface, it’s time to sand the entire piece. Don’t skip this step. It might not seem important, but the glossy finish of particle board furniture won’t allow the paint to adhere well, and you’ll find your brand new paint job chipping in no time at all. Using a high grit sandpaper, sand the entire surface, using just enough pressure to remove any old finish. Be careful not to sand too hard on the edges, or you could chip the laminate and have to start over again.

Start with a Coat of Primer

We know you want to get straight to the actual painting and start the transformation, but this is another step you really shouldn’t skip. You’ll thank us in the end when you don’t have to add multiple extra coats of paint. First, choose the right primer. If you’re painting over dark particle board, go with a gray primer. If the piece has a lighter finish, go ahead and use a white primer. Or if you already have white primer on hand and want to paint over a dark finish, mix some of the paint color you’ll be using in with the primer. Go ahead and add a coat of primer with a paintbrush, making sure to get every nook and cranny, then let dry completely.

Sand the Primed Surface

Yes, you do need to sand the surface again. When it comes to covering particle board, you want the paint layers to be thin. If they go on too thick, it’s more likely that the paint will scuff or chip when items are placed on top later. Just give the primer coat a light sanding so the paint will go on smoothly and adhere well to the surface. Remove any dust with a lint-free rag after sanding.

Roll on the Paint

Finally, the fun part! Use a roller for painting your piece. This will ensure that the top coat goes on evenly without any brushstrokes showing through (unless you like the look of brushstrokes!), but you’ll need a brush to get into corners and other awkward spots. One coat might be enough to cover as long as you primed properly, but if not, make sure to let the first coat dry completely before adding another one.

Finish Your Piece

Once you’re satisfied with the paint job and it’s completely dry, you might want to make additional changes to enhance your piece of furniture. Add some cool new hardware to drawers or doors. If your project is a bookshelf, think about adding some colorful wallpaper or fabric to the back or the shelves for a touch of interest. Stencil a pattern on top of the last coat of paint. Do whatever makes you happy, and enjoy your new piece of particle board furniture!

Real Estate Myth: Home Improvement Is ALWAYS a Good Investment

Investing in home improvement is a good thing, right? Well, not always. While there are tons of projects you can do to increase the value of your home, there are many that aren’t worth the money you spend on them. Beware of the following home improvement projects that might not be worth the investment. If you plan to do one of them because it’s something you want for yourself, go for it; but don’t expect to see much return on your investment when it’s time to sell your home.

Swimming Pools

We understand. Swimming pools are just plain fun. But if you expect your pool to be a great selling point that will net a higher asking price when you go to sell, think again. Pools are expensive, high-maintenance, insurance nightmares, and they can actually scare some buyers away. Even if a buyer loves your house but won’t use the pool, they’ll have to drop a good amount of money to get rid of it. If you want to put in a pool for your own personal enjoyment, that’s fine, but understand that you probably won’t make the money back that you spend on installment and maintenance.

Luxury Kitchens

Kitchens are one of the biggest selling points in a home, and it’s lovely when they’re all renovated and ready for use upon move-in. But there is such a thing as over-improving. If you’re a professional chef or baker and need special a kitchen setup, go ahead and upgrade your kitchen all you like for your own usage. But don’t expect to see a huge return on a super luxurious kitchen unless the rest of your home and neighborhood equally as luxurious.

Outbuilding Improvement

Outbuildings like sheds or detached garages are great for storage, and they’re super convenient for converting into studio or office space. If you’re going to convert an outbuilding into something else, though, be careful of how much you spend to do so. It won’t count toward the square footage of your home, and it definitely won’t make you any more money on the sale price.

Additional Rooms

Adding rooms to your house will increase your square footage, thereby increasing your overall asking price. But if you don’t keep the renovation or addition under the average price-per-square-foot for your neighborhood, you definitely won’t recoup the amount you spent to add on.

Too Much DIY

In a Pinterest and YouTube world, it’s easy for some people to go overboard in the DIY department. If you’re into doing things yourself, be careful about what you’re doing and the quality of your work. Professionals charge what they charge because they know how the work should be done. When it’s time for you to sell, a home inspector will make a note of any poor or amateur workmanship. Any time you choose to do something yourself instead of consulting a pro, you run the risk of paying the price—literally—when you have to have it redone before selling.

Expensive Materials

If you’re going to spend a lot of money on materials, please don’t skimp on the labor. It’s easy to make expensive materials look cheap when poor craftsmanship is involved. On the other hand, a true craftsman can make cheaper materials look like a million bucks!

Friday Five // February 15th, 2019

The weekend is upon us once again, which means it’s time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening in the Charleston area this weekend. Celebrate wildlife, plan your wedding, go for a fun run, and more. As always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company hope you have a safe and happy weekend!

This weekend is the 2019 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, the annual three-day showcase of everything to love about wildlife and nature. This event brings together people of all ages, men and women, sportsmen and conservationists, artists and artisans, fans and families. Through an incredible lineup of events—from fine art exhibits, conservation education, sporting demonstrations, and parties—SEWE invites everyone to explore their “wild” side and pay tribute to our naturally beautiful world. Be sure to check out one of our favorite events of the expo, Dock Dogs.

Do you like running? Do you like pancakes? If you said yes to one or both of these questions, then Fleet Feet’s inaugural Pancake Run might be the perfect event for you! Head out to Fleet Feet on Richardson Avenue in Summerville this Saturday for a three-mile run starting at 8am. Then enjoy free pancakes with all the toppings, provided by Eggs Up Grill. This is a free, untimed run event. Please be aware that the run will not take place on a closed course, but on the sidewalks, so strollers and pets are welcome.

Join the Lowcountry Parrot Head Club as they host Mardi Crawl, a “party with a purpose,” this Saturday on Shem Creek. Wear your favorite Mardi Gras gear and “crawl” on foot or by water taxi to participating venues along Shem Creek. Answer trivia questions and enjoy games, live music, and food and drink specials. Registration begins at noon at Red’s Ice House, and the event starts at 1pm. Participating restaurants include Red’s, RB’s Seafood Restaurant, The Mill Street Tavern, The Wreck of Richard and Charlene, Vickery’s Bar and Grill, and Saltwater Cowboys. After party at Red’s Ice House featuring music by Saluda Shoals at 7:30pm. Proceeds from the Mardi Crawl benefit the Alzheimer’s Association of South Carolina, Pet Helpers, Ronald McDonald House, and other local charitable organizations.

Calling all Caped Crusaders! Grab your masks and capes and fly over to Laurel Hill County Park on Saturday for The Super Run. This run is a national series of superhero-themed 5K fun runs that partner with nonprofit organizations to help raise funds and awareness for their causes. Check-in and late registration begin at 8am with the race starting at 9am. Be sure to get your picture in front of the Superhero photo screen, get the official event Superhero Caped Crusaders Capes and finisher’s medal, and enjoy the fun for all ages.

If you’re getting married in the near future, you’ll definitely want to check out the Charleston Bridal Expo on Sunday from 2:30pm until 5pm at Merchants Hall. Unlike the hustle and bustle of traditional bridal shows, the Charleston Bridal Expo promises to be a relaxed and refined experience tailored to the modern bride. Your ticket to the event includes a premium tasting experience; a celebration of the Lowcountry’s finest blooms and floral arrangements; beautiful tablescapes designed in the Pantone Color of the Year; an onsite photographer; ambiance set by Charleston Harp; a swag bag for all attendees; and more!

9 Signs You're Working With the Right Real Estate Agent

Finding the right real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home is vital to a successful real estate transaction. We can’t stress how important it is that you get along with your agent and develop a good working relationship in order to keep things moving smoothly. Let’s look at some of the signs that you’ve chosen the perfect real estate agent for you.

1. They know the area well. A good real estate agent will spend time getting to know his or her city and the neighborhoods therein. They should have information about things like home value trends, average commute times, shops and restaurants in the area, schools, and zoning and geographic factors that might affect your usage or insurance requirements.

2. They respond to you in a timely manner. Whether you’re in the beginning, middle, or end of a real estate transaction, your agent should be in close contact with you. They should be available to answer your questions or within a reasonable timeframe. They should email or call you back within a couple of hours, if only to let you know that they’re tied up at the moment and will call back when they have more time. Give them a little bit of leeway if you’re contacting them outside of normal business hours, however. Real estate agents have families and lives outside of their job, too.

3. You like being around them. There’s no way around it; if you don’t like your real estate agent personally, you’re not going to enjoy the house-hunting and buying or selling process.

4. They asked you to get pre-approved for a mortgage (or helped you do so). Any real estate agent who knows what’s what will ask you if you’re pre-approved for a home loan before they start any real work with you. They’re professionals who know their business, and they don’t want to waste their time or yours.

5. They’re proactive. A good agent won’t sit back and wait for you to send them listings you like and want to see. They’ll have a list of questions to ask you, and then they’ll go to work searching out the perfect house for you. They should also be able to suggest the little things you’re not thinking of, or help you pull back and look at the bigger picture.

6. They really listen to you. Some agents might try to nudge you in the direction of what they want you to buy, not what’s best for you. The right agent will listen thoughtfully to your wants and needs and take them into consideration before presenting you with a list of possible homes.

7. They’re brutally honest. Honesty is important in any relationship, whether it’s a friendly one, a romantic one, or a working one. The right real estate agent will be honest with you, even if it means inconveniencing themselves or taking a hit on commission.

8. They don’t quit on you. The right agent won’t just give up when something doesn’t work out. Say you found a home you really love, but your offer gets passed over for another one. If your agent knows you’ve really fallen for that house, they’ll keep an eye on the deal in case it falls through, giving you a second chance to make it yours. Good real estate agents are innovative and and creative. They should be willing to help you figure out a sticky situation without getting discouraged or giving up.

9. They keep in touch. Truly great real estate agents look to build relationships with their clients. They appear interested in what’s going on in your life and keep in touch even after the deal is closed. Look for them to send the occasional note or an annual Christmas card.

If you're still searching for the right real estate agent for you, you're in luck! Our team of agents excel in providing personalized, boutique service and are willing to go above and beyond to help you buy or sell a home any time. Get in touch with us today for the best service in the Lowcountry.

How-To Tuesday: Improve Your Home for Less Than $100

Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest differences in life. Small changes in your home can have a much bigger impact than you’d expect, and they’re easier on your wallet to boot. Check out the following tips for a few ways to improve your home for less than $100.

Switch Out Your Hardware

Get rid of the tired old brushed nickel door knobs and drawer pulls. Check hardware stores, home decor shops, Amazon, and even antique malls for stylish modern or vintage options.

Organize the Closets

You don’t have to invest in a pricey closet organization system to make your closet more appealing. Install some shelving and multiple rods for more hanging and storage space. Hanging shoe and sweater organizers are great for storing shoes, but they’re also the perfect home for bags, scarves, costume jewelry, and other accessories.  

Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

Add track lighting or just small LED lights under cabinets to add some brightness to workspaces. Add a dimmer switch for extra appeal.

Amp Up the Entryway

Transform your entryway into a functional space with shoe and coat storage. If you have the space, add a bench with built-in storage; if you have less space, a small table will work to hold keys, purses, and daily mail. If you barely have an entryway, think about adding some shelving or hooks to help create storage.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

Ditch the manual thermostat and buy a digital programmable thermostat. This will save energy and lower your electric bills. If you want even more convenience and savings in the long run, spend just a little bit more and spring for a smart thermostat.

Paint the Kitchen Cabinets

Give kitchen cabinets a makeover with a fresh coat of paint. To give your kitchen a super modern look, paint lower cabinets one shade and upper cabinets a different one. Blue is currently a very popular color choice for cabinets. Paint just the lower ones a royal or navy blue for some dimension and depth.

Update Light Fixtures

Get rid of those boring old contractor-grade light fixtures and boost your home’s style quotient with modern (and affordable!) fixtures. This is a simple change that can actually make a pretty big impact.

Revamp the Backsplash

Peel-and-stick backsplash options make adding or changing out a backsplash easier than ever. There are tons of cool options out there, from faux brick to tile to pressed tin. Bonus: this job can be done in just a few hours, depending on how large your kitchen is.

Add Some Oomph to Your Bathroom

Purchase some wood trim and frame out the mirror. Add extra shelving. Refresh the paint color. Change the hardware and/or faucets. Add some artwork, a new shower curtain, rugs, and other accessories, and voila! A like-new bathroom for much less cash than anyone would expect.

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