Columbia SC Real Estate Blog

Feb. 7, 2018

Home Improvements

Home Value-Boosting Improvements Under $3,000


The Columbia, SC real estate market is booming and there has never been a better time to consider putting your house up for sale. But if it’s not quite time for you yet, there are a few home improvements you can make that will help your home stand out when you’re ready to roll. Each of the following high-impact projects come in at less than $3,000.


Since the kitchen and the bath are the two rooms that really sell a house, we’ll start there.



Painting the walls and trim is a no-brainer and a pretty simple chore you can tackle yourself in one or two afternoons. Other projects that you might consider including cabinet refacing, which as a DIY endeavor costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $500, plus any tools you don’t already own. HouseLogic notes that new hardware is an added cost that fluctuates between $2 and $50 each piece. New countertops are a job to leave to the pros, since any slight mismeasurements can lead to disaster. Popular countertop materials include concrete, natural stone, and laminate.



If your toilet has seen better days, having a new one installed shouldn’t cost more than $500 but will instantly make your bathroom look cleaner and better kept. Experts recommend opting for a ultra-low flush toilet as they are more efficient. Like counters in the kitchen, it’s a job for a professional. However, you can install a new faucet, mirror, and shower curtain bar to update the room with a very small investment. It takes less than an hour to replace a bathroom faucet on your own; here’s an instructional video from Lowes to get you started. Another inexpensive way to spruce up the bath is to reglaze the tub, which takes approximately two days for someone with intermediate home maintenance skills, according to the DIY Network. This, like replacing the toilet, will take years off your bathroom’s perceived age and make it more appealing to potential buyers.



The exterior of your home, or its curb appeal, can greatly influence a buyer’s first impression of the property. And fortunately, there are many things you can do to spruce up the outside to make your home memorable. A masonry mailbox is a single-day project that most contractors charge between $250 and $350 to complete, including materials and labor. Landscaping is something you can do yourself by clearing out old flower beds, planting native bushes and flowers, and adding a layer of decorative mulch. Costs vary depending on your personal tastes and preferences but expect to spend less than $500.



Many buyers look closely at the garage before signing on a new home. You can have the garage door replaced for an average of $1,534. CBS News reports that this exterior upgrade offers an 83% or more ROI, which makes it an excellent investment if you’re going to be in the home for a few years.



Outdoor entertaining is important, especially given the pleasant summers of Columbia. If you have an existing patio, rent a pressure washer and give it a good cleaning and add some built-in seating. An open, flat lawn is the perfect setting to build your own brick paver patio and fire pit. Material can be purchased at your local hardware store for less than $2,000. This tutorial from The Home Depot blog shows you how to do it in two weekends.


Any home improvement that you make will enhance your quality of life and make your home more appealing to its future occupants. With a little planning, research, and elbow grease, you can manage many projects yourself. Keep the high-tech, low-cost jobs for the pros and sit back, relax, and enjoy your home until it’s time to relocate.


Thanks to Gene Williams from for this article. Gene has spent the last two decades completing countless home improvement projects, and loves to share his knowledge with others. Please visit his website for more information or to send your questions.

May 21, 2015

Tanning Salon For Sale


Business for Sale 

Great location walking distance to University of SCBusiness For Sale USC Columbia SC

Sept. 10, 2014

Vote For Best

Vote Tonya Graves for Best Real Estate Agent

Support Your Favorite Service Providers & Vote Now!

  • Voting starts September 10, 2014
  • You can vote once an hour
  • You must vote 30 categories to be counted
Vote for The Best of The State Tonya Graves Best Realtor 

                                                                  I want your vote for Best Real Estate Agent!

                                                                                        ~ Tonya Graves 803.238.8612


Support your favorites and vote for "The Best" of Columbia, SC. There are many great categories available. Take a moment to recognize your favorites and vote for at least 30 categories to be counted.  
Posted in Columbia SC Events
June 30, 2014

Featured Lender


Chris Austin - Home Loan Specialist


Chris Austin Banker

Chris Austin - Home Loan Specialist 

Chris is a native of Columbia. He has 15 years’ experience in the mortgage industry. He has helped over a 1,000 families fulfill the dream of home ownership. Chris graduated from USC with a B.S. in Business Administration. Chris uses his vast knowledge to help his clients make the best decision for their mortgage needs. He has assisted his clients with mortgages that other banks are unable to complete.


Chris Austin |  Mortgage Executive

Southern First Bank 190 Knox Abbott Drive | Cayce, South Carolina 29033

June 2, 2014

The Step by Step Process of Buying Real Estate

Decide you are ready to buy your first place. You are not behind on your bills, have some money saved, and have a steady job. You are ready to start investing in your future and maybe plant some roots. Remember: to qualify for the 2009 first time home buyer tax credit, you must keep your home for 3 years.  

Talk to a lender to make sure you qualify for a home loan. There are many places you can get a home loan. Call your bank or a mortgage broker. If one company turns you down, don't get discouraged. All lenders are not the same and there are many different programs available. Don't give up! Once you are approved ask for a good faith estimate and pre approval letter. Some costs can be negotiated and it never hurts to ask.  

Search homes online and drive around neighborhoods. Your online home search will help you identify the area in which you want to live. Consider your lifestyle. Do you like privacy? How far is your commute to work? Will you want to live close to bars and restaurants? Do like new homes or the character of an older historic home? Do you want to maintain a lawn or garden? Is a community pool important to you?  

Find a full time Realtor, and become their client. It doesn't cost anything to enter into a client relationship with a Realtor but it provides you much. A Realtor will be able to further refine your home search and take you into the homes that are a good fit for you. By using a full time Realtor you will have an agent who can work when it's convenient for you, not them. A Realtor can advise you on the value of comparable sales and help you make informed decisions. A Realtor will provide all contracts and assist you in making an offer on a property. Your Realtor owes you the fiduciary duties of Obedience, Loyalty, Disclosure, Confidentiality, Accounting and Reasonable care and skill.  

Make the offer. You have found a property you love, now it is time to make an offer. Your Realtor will help you decide on a price and terms that suit your budget and the value of the property. Part of an offer to purchase, is earnest money. You need to be able to write a check for earnest money at the time of writing the offer. Usually 1% of the sales price is adequate. This money is held by your agent until you have a final contract and then must be put in an escrow account within 48 hours. It will come off the price of the house and lets the seller know you are a serious buyer. The offer is written up on a contract and your Realtor submits it to the seller.  

Getting a final contract. A final contract is the original offer after negotiations. The terms and price may be changed as needed for both buyer and seller to agree. All changes require the initials of both buyer and seller. This document will be signed by all parties and sealed by a Realtor showing date and time of final contract.  

Inspecting the property. Your final contract allows for a 10 business day inspection period from the final contract date. Your Realtor will help you order inspections and be sure you stay within your time frame. Typical inspections include a termite inspection, a heating/air inspection and a general home inspection. After you inspect the property, you can decide if you want to continue and purchase the home or terminate your contract.  

Obtaining your loan. Your lender will need documents from you supporting your income and other various documents. The lender will order a real estate appraisal for the property, order title work and get all the loan documents ready for a closing.  

The last step is the closing. In South Carolina a closing takes place with a real estate attorney. The attorney has all the loan documents and any other relevant documents that need to be signed. The buyer and seller attend the closing with their real estate agents. The buyer signs documents giving him ownership of the property. The seller signs away his ownership. Keys are exchanged, any monies due are given to the closing attorney in the form of a cashiers check.  

Enjoy. You are now a home owner. Sit back and enjoy. Always make your payments on time and begin building equity in your new home. This is the start of a lifetime of wealth and happiness!    


May 16, 2013

Historic Home For Sale

Victorian Home For Sale in Elmwood Park

2301 Lincoln Street Columbia, SC  29201

  • 3100 Sq Ft
  • 3 Large Bedrooms
  • Downstairs large office
  • Formals
  • Foyer
  • Family Room
  • Historic Register
  • Large Corner Lot
  • Wrap Around Porch
  • High Ceilings
  • Equisite Details
  • Off Street Parking
  • Private Garden

 2301 Lincoln 

Formal Room 

Formal Living 



Elmwood Garden 

Elmwood Park

Call or email Tonya Graves (803) 238-8612 for a private showing

April 19, 2013

Why Buy New Construction?

8 Reasons to consider a new construction home in Columbia, SC 

Bethany Way of Capital City Realty is a new home specialist and shares why buyers should consider new construction in their home search:

  1. New homes are energy efficient. You save money on monthly utilities, making buying and maintaining a home even more affordable.
  2. New home builders are happy to work with you and your buyer’s agent. 
  3. Your new home will be covered under a home warranty, including a structural warranty.  Many other components of the home will have additional warranties (HVAC, appliances, etc).
  4. Many builders will pay buyer closing costs as an incentive, giving you more funds for a down payment or to spend on furniture for your new digs.
  5. Builders almost always have finished or nearly completed homes for buyers with shorter time constraints. 
  6. For buyers with more time flexibility, you can also select your own floor plan and lot and build from start to finish, customizing your new home to your preferred finishes and colors. 
  7. Fewer repairs are needed and no updating is required.  A new home minimizes out of pocket costs for buyers, making it especially appealing for a first time buyer. 
  8. Some builders may offer other incentives such as free upgrades or a job-based incentive for teachers, military, or law enforcement. 

Bethany Way Real Estate AgentIf you have questions about building or new home construction, contact Bethany Way at 803-873-4096 and Columbia has many home builders and new home communities in all areas of town.  Let Bethany help you select the community and builder that is right for you.        



                                                                      New Construction in Columbia SC


March 8, 2013

Home and Garden Show 2013

Carolina Classic Home and Garden Show in Columbia, SC

One can expect to have a great time and learn new things related to home and garden. There are more than 200 different Home and Garden Columbia SC 2013exhibitors offering great products and ideas. The exhibitors offer home improvement, outdoor products and the latest in construction ideas.

The Home and Garden show will offer multiple seminars to educate visitors on many subjects. Visitors can attend the free seminars and learn about home construction, home improvements, remodeling, high tech homes and of course all things lawn and garden.

Today there is a wine walk so head on over to the SC Fairgrounds, get a glass of wine and enjoy viewing all the wonderful home and garden exhibits. The wine walk is Friday 5-8 and cost is $30 which includes your ticket price for the Home and Garden show. A variety of different wines will be available for sample.

If you have any doubt about attending, don't hesitate. The Home and Garden show will be giving away more than $15,000 in prizes. Every year this shows exceeds my expectations and fills visitors with inspiration for both their home and garden. See you there!


Carolina Classic Home and Garden Show 2013:


When: February 8 - 10, 2013

  • Friday 11am - 8pm
  • Saturday 9am - 7pm
  • Sunday 11am - 6pm

SC Home and Garden Tickets:

  • $6 per person at the gate
  • Kids Free Daily
  • Over 62 years free Friday only

Home and Garden 2013 Location:

  • SC State Fairgrounds (interactive map below)


                                         View Larger Map


             Columbia SC Real Estate Button 


Feb. 19, 2013

307 Aiken Hunt Circle

Wildewood Custom Home For Sale

307 Aiken Hunt Circle Columbia, SC  29223 

  • $349,000
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 2 1/2 Bathrooms
  • 2800 + sq ft
  • Open Concept
  • Chef's Kitchen
  • Heart Pine Floors
  • 12 foot ceilings
  • Surround sound
  • Ranch Style
  • FROG
  • Side Entry Garage
  • Large Rear Deck
  • Private Back Yard

Wildewood Home For Sale

NE Columbia SC Home

Wildewood Home Kitchen

Custom Wildewood Home

Wildewood Great Room

Wildewood Home Back Yard


For more information or to schedule a private showing please contact:

Tonya Graves (803) 238-8612 or

Helping clients buy and sell real estate since 2004 - Columbia SC Real Estate Sales

Feb. 10, 2013

Why Use a Buyers Agent?

Why Use a Capital City Realty Buyer’s Agent?

In the world of information and technology buyers can easily find all the real estate data they need or want with a few keystrokes in Google. So why use a buyer’s agent?

Buyer agency protects a buyer’s best interest and is a free service. Many buyers do not know that the name on the “For Sale” sign is a listing agent with a fiduciary duty to try and get the highest price possible for the listed property.

The following are traits our buyer agents offer that buyers want!

  •     Honesty: We provide all relevant facts about the property and share our experience and expertise on ways to handle any issues and/or solutions to the problems.   
  •     Clear direction: We explain every step of the buying process. We also share different scenarios and possible outcomes to keep you prepared.
  •     Choices: We explain every option and what it means to your situation to allow for the most educated choices possible.
  •     Exceptional service: We know our area and we get to know our clients. By knowing about the different areas of Columbia we assist buyers with educated decisions. After getting to know a client and his/her needs    we can point them in the right direction via home styles, amenities and neighborhoods. We stay objective!
  •     Professional input: We provide clear, honest and experienced based recommendations and/or advice. The bottom line is we seek to assist our buyer exclusively.
  •     Sympathetic: We listen and learn without judgment. Our goal is to learn what your needs and wants are and ensure those needs are met.


Are you considering buying real estate in South Carolina?

Contact our team for exclusive buyer agency representation.

Tonya D Graves (803) 238-8612 Email: