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Education in the Charleston Area

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Schools in the Charleston Area perform at the highest level of academics offering a competitive education for all students. Charleston County School District is the second largest school system in South Carolina representing a unique blend of urban, suburban, and rural schools, and serves over 48,000 students. Education in the Charleston area includes neighborhood, charter, and magnet schools.

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Boating on Lady’s Island

As warmer weather approaches, many of the boating enthusiasts living on Lady’s Island are preparing for prime boating season. For many it’s a simple Jon Boat or canoe to glide through the waterways, for others it’s a 30’ Bayliner or maybe a single mast. Basically, if you love boating of any kind you can find a place to enjoy it on Lady’s Island.

For those who are looking for a place to keep their larger vessels, the Lady’s Island Marina in Beaufort, SC, is a perfect solution. The marina is well known for its natural beauty, convenient location, and has a reputation for great customer service. Lady’s Island Marina is situated just across the swing bridge from the historic downtown area. There are five docks, containing over 70 wet slips including hundreds of feet of face dock. The marina is along the protected waters of Factory Creek, not far from the Inter-Coastal Waterway. The Dockside Restaurant, one of the most popular restaurants in Beaufort is located in the marina, providing beautiful views. Continue reading

Pick the Perfect New Home For You in South Carolina

Don’t be intimidated by buying a new home. Educate yourself on which home may be right for you. The following suggestions will help you find the home that’s right for you, your lifestyle and your budget.

Your Must Haves vs. Your Dreams When you start your new home search, create a list of amenities you must have in your new home, 2-car garage, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, etc. These would be the Must Haves, a Theatre Room or Finished Basement may be on the Dream List. With some research and preparation in the beginning, you will be able to blend some of both into your dream home. If you started your search with a list of must-haves, revisit each item and see if anything has changed. Maybe you’ve discovered that a basement, for example, or a nearby gym is an item that you can’t manage to get in the neighborhood or price range you’re targeting. Get your priorities set and move on to check which of your favorites truly fit the bill. Continue reading

Ashley Park, Perfect Spot at the Perfect Time

Buyers looking for real estate in SC have turned to townhomes in Charleston, SC as a great buy, and Ashley Park is the community of choice. A leader in the SC townhome market, Ashley Park offers beautiful two-story and tri-level townhomes. All homes feature expansive living quarters on the first level. Most of the town homes feature drive-under, two-car garages with plenty of space for storage. The mix of community features and the exceptional townhomes at Ashley Park have made this community a choice for anyone looking for townhomes in the Charleston, SC market.

Read More (This link takes you to our Community Website for Ashley Park)

Enjoy the Holiday Festival of Lights

From mid November – January 1, the Holiday Festival of Lights is an unforgettable holiday tradition for many families throughout Charleston and beyond. The festival features over 750 displays and two million lights. Located in James Island County Park is the perfect location for this event as the entire area comes alive with brilliant displays and illuminations. This event is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday season.

Recognized around the country as a premiere holiday event nationally, the Holiday Festival of Lights and the world. Coastal Living recognized it as “One of the Top 10 Holiday Celebrations,” the American Bus Association ranked it as “One of the Top 100 Events in the Nation,” and it was most recently named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society.

The Holiday Festival of Lights consists of a driving tour through the park, along with a number of festivities inside the park. The park is alive with attractions custom-designed for holiday cheer.  Holiday Festival of Lights’ attractions include, Marshmallow Roasting

Festival Train Rides, Lakeside Lights Interactive Activity, The Amazing Dancing Light Display, Old-Fashioned Carousel and much more

Don’t miss the gift shops and the Reindeer Workshop. Plus food is available at Santa’s Sweet Shoppe and photos with Santa himself.

It’s Only Better if You Live Here

Beautiful and vibrant Charleston, South Carolina has been voted #1 City in the United States for the 4th consecutive year Condé Nast Traveler’s Poll. Even more impressive is that Charleston was voted #2 in the world!

A perennial favorite city, now in its fourth year as #1 City in the United States, Charleston is admired by travelers and residents alike for its sights, experiences, charm, culture, friendliness, food, genuine hospitality and so much more. Charleston is a Foodies’ dream, with world-class restaurants and chefs, low-country dining and much more. The options are endless. Beyond eating the city offers beautiful neighborhoods, excellent education and health facilities

Charleston continues to charm! The ultimate Charleston itinerary starts with a walk along the waterfront, strolling under palm trees with the Atlantic Ocean glistening. Take time to wander the side streets, which boast beautiful homes, the best of which are found at Rainbow Row just by The Battery.

Charleston residents enjoy a high standard of living with a growing economy. The weather is temperate, the arts and entertainment flourish here. With so much in its favor, it would be no surprise if Charleston makes it five in a row next year and maybe even #1 in the world!

Low Country Design

South Carolina’s Low Country home design has always been influenced by the summer weather. Traditional South Carolina Lowcountry houses were designed to buffer the hot, humid climate. Homes are designed to take advantage of the summer Southern breezes. Lowcountry homes have tall ceilings allowing for the heat to rise and porches on the south side to shade the interior. A lot of the architecture responds to sinking cool air and rising hot air. Tall ceilings and spaces allow for air circulation and keep the warmest air farthest away from people at the floor level. Many old homes had double-hung windows. The bottom and the top would be opened part way. Cool air comes in at the bottom; warm air goes out the top.

Traditional Lowcountry design in downtown Charleston would include double-stacked porches, shaded by live oaks and facing side yards. But that’s not the only style around.

A misconception is that Lowcountry design is all the same.  There are many variations from formal, relaxed, farmhouse style, contemporary even tropical designs can be incorporated into Lowcountry.

No matter what the style, South Carolina Lowcountry design has a strong connection to the outdoors with a focus on ample outdoor living spaces,

Expanded porches provide space for out door living. Some new features include roll-down screens and mosquito-misting systems, giving these spaces expanded use.

Many builders are using new, modern materials to create the traditional Lowcountry design. Replacing the traditional wood elements with these new materials creates a much longer life span.

Lowcountry design, as we know it in Charleston, South Carolina, is exciting, and full of options, with all the benefits of modern construction while paying homage to the past.

The low country charm of Lady’s Island, South Carolina

With easy access from the mainland by two bridges, Lady’s Island is one of the most desirable locations to live in South Carolina’s Low Country region. When it comes to prime real estate on the water, it’s tough to find a better option. With close proximity to Beaufort, another popular location to call home, Lady’s Island offers the best of many exciting worlds. People who move here can take their pick from many fine neighborhoods and developments, and residents enjoy easy access to Charleston, Hilton Head Island, and many other prime destinations. Continue reading

Decorating tips for Your New Home

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There’s nothing quite like buying a brand-new home. For many, it’s a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it pays to make the most of it. In that case, you’ll definitely want to decorate it as thoughtfully and carefully as possible. You’ll obviously be able to make changes as you settle in, but you should lay the right groundwork right away for superior results. With a new home, you get to start with a clean slate. You’ll be able to give it the look and feel that you want. Learn more about decorating your new home below. Continue reading

Top Things to Do in Nearby Charleston, SC

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There’s nothing like owning a gorgeous home at Somerset Point at Lady’s Island. In addition to living in one of the best communities in the area, you will enjoy easy access to Charleston, which is one of the most fascinating cities in the United States. Although it may not have the glitz and glamour of a place like New York City, Charleston’s stately ambiance and historic flair make it a wonderful place to spend time. It is just a short drive from Beaufort, SC. Just about anyone can find something fun to see or do in this bustling city. It’s impossible to see and experience everything in one visit, so you’re sure to return to Charleston again and again. Continue reading

Home Buyers Should Think Long Term When Buying a New Home

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Typically when homebuyers are considering what they want in a new home, they don’t consider the long-term in their plans. House size, exterior style, the floor plan and budget are usually what come into play. There are some things that are overlooked, but are very important and should be considered first. Think about the possibility of a growing family, personal needs that may change, even the environment where the home is located may affect the long-term.

The first time an architect or designer has a meeting with a new client, that is the first issue they discuss. Knowing what the family needs will help to create a design that is as close to exactly what the client wants as possible. They help clients to develop a program that creates a framework within to work. Realtors and New Home Sales Professionals are trained to get the sale based on the product they are selling, that’s why it is critical for buyers to have a long-term plan. Continue reading

Charleston, South Carolina Townhomes Make A Great Buy!

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Really? Yes, really. Please understand that, yes, I am a Realtor. I am also a Sales and Marketing Manager for a home builder, so the time that I spend studying statistics, comps and every other thing that a normal person does not want to do, is kind-of my job. For well over 10 years, my days have consisted of trying to make sense of the articles that inundate my inbox every day as well as the haze of MLS comps. I am very fortunate that I absolutely love what I do.


But I am going to “take those hats off” for a little bit. I am going to put on my 
“buyer” /common-sense hat for a little bit.

(Ok…so the Realtor/Sales and Marketing manager in me will have to peek through just a little bit…it’s not something that I can “turn off and on” but I promise you that I will try my best. 🙂 ) 
I’m not going to inundate you with all those statistics and facts–I am simply going to give you my opinion of what I see taking place in the market.

 

Charleston is, in-arguably one of the most desired places to live in all of the United States. All of the United States. It has now been reported as one of the hottest real estate markets in all of the WORLD. All of the WORLD. Do you realize how wonderful that is and how lucky we are? Do you realize how much that affects the VALUE of homes in the Charleston area? 

 

If everyone wanted a Louis Vuitton bag, (and come on, who DOESN’T?!?!?), don’t you think Mr. Louis Vuitton will price his bags accordingly? If EVERYONE wanted a Porsche 911 Carrera, (and come on, who DOESN’T?!?!?!), don’t you think Porsche is going to value their cars accordingly?


Okay–you got me. You say “But you are paying so much more for QUALITY when you buy Louis Vuitton or Porsche.”  Really?? I have no doubt that a  Louis Vuitton bag or a Porsche Carrera are well-made, well-built articles/machines. But, let’s get real with ourselves–aren’t we paying just a little more just for the name??Yep. We sure are. 

 

Look at the price of homes the closer your move toward downtown, peninsular Charleston. The areas that are closest to downtown, such as James Island, West Ashley and Mount Pleasant, have different values and pricing than homes that are in the more outward areas. So, AREN’T WE KIND-OF PAYING FOR THE CHARLESTON NAME? Yep. We sure are. 

 

So how does this relate to townhomes? Ok. I’m getting to it.
LAND. With the influx of companies that have moved to the area, the wonderful universities and hospitals that are here, and about 100 other reasons that Charleston is such a great place to live, there are A LOT of people already here and coming here. Not to mention that we are seeing more and more young people waiting to get married later in life (Yay people!!), but, unfortunately, divorce rates are rising—so there are a lot of 1-income homes out there. I don’t see this changing anytime soon. That puts an understandable strain on what type and where a home is affordable; As in the case in lots of places across America.


We all want nice things. It’s only human nature. We want the nice hardwood floors, we want the granite countertops, the nice-sized garage. And we want things to be convenient. Convenience, often times, goes hand in hand with location.

SO…. let’s just take the average young professional couple starting out looking for their first home. They don’t have a lot of money to put down on a home, haven’t had time to build up a lot of savings yet but here’s their wish-list: A 3 Bedroom/2.5 Bath home with a nice fenced-in backyard, a nice garage and of course ALL the latest luxury features including hardwood floors and granite countertops. Did I mention the stainless steel appliances and that they MUST be within a 20-minute drive to work radius and all the greatest “places to be?” (Oh sweethearts, just wait a few years. You’ll really only care about the best happy hour place and how far you have to drive to daycare for your kid…but that’s a whole DIFFERENT story and post…:) ) 

 

Ok. Here’s the problem. Charleston’s home and land prices have escalated so much that, at a certain price point, in certain areas, the items on one’s wish-list becomes pretty impossible to find and  are simply just a “wish-list”. I hear the same story over and over and over. “We really want a yard and we hate the idea of being attached to someone else–that’s kind of like an apartment isn’t it, living in a condo?!?!” 

Time- out. Hold the press. (Sorry…have to put that “Realtor hat” back on for a second…) There is a MAJOR difference between a condo and a townhome. Most townhomes are deeded as single-family ATTACHED homes. That means you own the land that your home is sitting on. In a condo purchase, you usually own a percentage of the complex. So, yes, you own the inside of your home, but the exterior is part of a larger group of what you own as a percentage.

Ok, back to those features and location. What if you could have those nice features and a great location, could actually afford it and weren’t stacked on top of another house? Well, YOU CAN. And the option is a TownHOME


Find yourself a nice townhome community and you could have that yard mowed FOR you AND a fenced in backyard for Fido. And you will still have the money to go out to dinner at the nearby restaurant.

But let me play cynic for a second– Go ahead get yourself that single-family DETACHED home. 

During the Spring and Summer, one day a week after work or on the weekend is going to be dedicated to mowing and weeding the lawn. Or you could pay someone–at least $100. There goes 2 dinners.

At least one to two days a week are going to go to working on replacing that salmon colored tile in your master bath and ripping up carpet to put down something from 2014. Maybe you’ll replace those lack-luster orange countertops from 1972 next year… Just keep piling stuff on the kitchen counter. No one will ever notice them!

And that house built in the ’70s– well, dear, this month you have a roof leaf, next month your HVAC goes out, and let’s say you get lucky and go a whole 3 months before your plumbing starts leaking. At some point EVERYTHING IN LIFE starts breaking down. That’s just the way it goes. (The wrinkle cream on my bathroom counter is proof enough…:) )

So….you now have your chores finished this week. The grass is mowed, the tile is replaced and we’re ready to hit the town for dinner with friends. (Finally. It’s been a long week!)

Wait a second. “Honey, what’s our Visa balance?” Well crap. I guess we’ll just stay in and look at our new floors and make hot dogs. I can totally run over to Trader-Joe’s and pick up some “2-buck Chuck”!”

 

Yes. I am being dramatic. WAY dramatic. A lot of older homes have very few problems and a lot of them have been re-done and taken care of by the time you buy them. (Though I’d argue that they start pricing themselves out of a lot of people’s budget…) And I make it sound like buying a townhome is more of a compromise than anything else and I’m a “big ‘ol Avondale and Old Village dream –crusher.” Well, I’m NOT and sometimes it CAN be a compromise. But very GOOD compromise.
It warms my heart to see the young couple that bought their townhome from me many years ago packing up their home and moving with their new baby to their new home. It also makes me happy that they have made some of the best friends they’ve ever had right outside their front door, in their very own neighborhood; Friendships that will last past their days at their first townhome and into their new home and life.

STILL. That charming cottage down the street in walking distance from the great brunch spots and park with the cute little picket fence? SO CUTE!!! I don’t care if I have to sit at home for 500 Saturdays and mow my own grass 5000 times. IT. WILL. BE. MINE. 

Like I said before, we’re all human, and it’s in our nature to want nice things and “want what we want.”

But let’s be smart about this people. Why not make that first purchase one that doesn’t keep you up at night worrying about how you will pay for that roof or plumbing leak? Why not wait until a few of those student loans are paid off before you tackle such a feat? Why not take that money and put it into something that you will be PROUD to invite your friends over to see and then STILL be able to go shopping with the girls on Saturday and have a nice dinner out that night?

I am not going to sit here and tell you that the price of a townhome will appreciate as quickly as a single-family DETACHED home. I am also not going to tell you that, Heaven Forbid, when and if we hit another recession, that your property value will not drop a little bit more than a single family detached home. I won’t. But I also am not going to tell you that it is worth sacrificing neing “home poor” because this city has such wonderful things for you to take advantage of. Eat at the great restaurants, go to the beach, take the tours, shop, learn the history of this place you are learning to call home.

I just ask you not to fool or trap yourself into the single-family ATTACHED stigma and  toTHINK ABOUT YOUR OPTIONS. The recession scared a lot of people, rightfully so. Be smart with your money and enjoy your home and where you live.

Consider it. Take a look at some of the newer townhomes out there in some GREAT areas.

Pay your mortage instead of the sky-high Charleston rent and gain some equity in your home. Take a little of the money that you would have pulled out of your own pocket to upgrade those orange laminate kitchen countertops to something that was made in this decade, and put it away in your “Cottage Fund”. Take a night that you would have normally gone OUT to dinner and invite some friends over to have a nice dinner at your home–with your fancy countertops and floor as backdrop, mind you. They will ooh and ahh over your granite countertops, your hardwood floors and your gleaming new ceramic tile.

And then maybe you can go over to their house next year and have dinner. That’s if they ever get those %#^@%%! hardwood floors finished!!! 

 


Disclaimer: Please note that I am just writing about what I am seeing on a more and more frequent basis with the first-time buyers, their budgets and people that want and need a smaller amount of money going out the door each month, but still want the “niceties” in a home. Just consider it!

 

 

Growth in Manufacturing Jobs Makes Low Country Living Even Better

With its gorgeous natural scenery and friendly people, South Carolina’s Low Country is a wonderful place to call home. It’s been that way for years, but a recent surge in manufacturing jobs has really sweetened the deal. In a recent report of the top 100 metropolitan areas in manufacturing, the Low Country area came in first. Finding a high-paying job in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metropolitan area is a lot easier than it is in many other parts of the country. Learn more about the exciting growth in manufacturing in the Low Country area …

Read More(This link takes you to our Community Website for Somerset Point)

Are Home Theaters Out of Style?

With access to movies and gaming becoming more divers and in ever growing demand, Theater Rooms are as popular as ever. But with floor plan trends moving towards multi-function space, it is important to plan what type of Theater Room works for you. There are many ways to set up your home theatre and many choices to be made. The type of projection screen you choose may depend on the room you are using. Are you planning a Dedicated Home Theatre Room? Or are you adding a Home Theatre to your multipurpose room, bedroom, living room or den? Consider the following options when setting up each type of room.

A dedicated home theater, or media room is focused solely on the viewing or gaming experience. The room may be elaborately decorated and equipped with Movie Theater Seats, a popcorn machine, movie memorabilia, and more. Usually there are no windows, so light control is not a problem. The screen is generally left in position, so a fixed front projection screen, or a rear screen is ideal. For Dedicated Home Theatre rooms consider appearance, functionality and cost. Continue reading

Hi-Tech CHARLESTON, SC

The city of Charleston, SC continues to climb the rankings as one of the most desirable place to live in the U.S. Already recognized internationally for a high standard of living, an excellent food and wine scene, a vibrant and historic downtown, and an excellent place to retire, Charleston is gaining recognition for a flourishing tech community.

Charleston is the 75th largest metro area in the U.S., but is ranked in the top 10 fastest growing cities for software and Internet technology, according to the Charleston Regional Development Alliance. Big companies with footprints in Charleston include Blackbaud, Boeing, and Google. TwitPic and Amazon’s CreateSpace count among the household names to emerge from Charleston. Continue reading

Promising Growth in the State Equals Good News for New Homes in South Carolina

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Research by Doug Woodward, an economics professor at the University of South Carolina shows promising growth in the state over the next six months. This is great news for home builders in Charleston, SC. Charleston is being helped by jobs in professional and business services, which rebounded in full force and are back at 2007 levels. Already one of the top ten areas to live in the country, new homes in Charleston, SC are at very affordable levels. South Carolina coastal communities, new homes in Hilton Head, and along the Beaufort waterfront are seeing increased activity as well. Townhomes in Charleston continue to be in demand, as well as steady interest in West Ashley homes. These areas are also benefiting from hiring in education and health services, and from skilled, and often high-wage, manufacturing jobs being added by national and international companies.

Click here to read more of this article … (This link takes you off site)

Take Advantage of Record Low Rates Before they Rise

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Low interest rates, as we all know, are making history. Last week, according to an article found on CNNMoney, “rates on both the 30-year and 15-year fixed loans fell to new records, at 3.89 percent and 3.16 percent, respectively, according to Freddie Mac.” The question, though, is how long will prospective buyers enjoy such low rates?

Read more about it in this article from RISMedia … (This link takes you off site)

Success at Somerset Point

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In order to succeed in today’s market for new homes in Beaufort, South Carolina; a builder must understand the bigger picture. Beyond providing exceptional homes, Beaufort, SC is a unique market and many factors need to be considered. As with all real estate in SC, location, the condition of the local housing market, and the lifestyle of the buyer’s in that market must be considered. Exceptional customer service and sales professionals are a must in today’s market for homes in Charleston, South Carolina, and the surrounding areas. Manor House Builders of South Carolina has achieved great success by combining all of these factors in their community, Somerset Point at Lady’s Island. Somerset Point has become the community of choice for buyers looking for new homes in South Carolina.

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“Younger Households Get Most From Housing Tax Incentives,” by Robert Deitz, NAHB Tax Economist

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“A sophisticated new study from NAHB’s Economics and Housing Policy Group demonstrates that younger households benefit the most from housing tax incentives. This research counters the often-heard but erroneous claim that the mortgage interest deduction almost exclusively benefits high-income households. ”

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“The 20 Healthiest Housing Markets”, by Boyce Thompson, Builder Magazine

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“Which housing markets are the best bets to recover first? We present our annual list of the 20 healthiest housing markets in the country. Housing economists have long held that the housing rebound, when it comes, will be uneven. The markets that benefit first will be the ones with the strongest core dynamics; places where house prices never got out of hand, cities where a diverse and progressive employment base drives job creation, towns that continue to draw population despite the economic recession.”

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“5 Reasons Home Ownership Trumps Renting”, by Ron Lieber, The New York Times

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“The seemingly endless run of bad housing news is discouraging some potential home buyers from considering a purchase. But the truth is that the advantages of home ownership have very little to do with investment gains. The best things about owning a home have a lot more to do with personal comfort and satisfaction.”

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