Friday Five // December 15th, 2017

Holiday events continue to take the top spots on our to-do list this week! Celebrate Chanukah, watch a holiday movie in your PJs, and check the last few Christmas gifts off your list at local holiday markets. Whatever you choose to do this weekend, have a safe and happy time!

Make a trip to the Folly Beach Pier on Saturday for the annual Foliday Market hosted by the Folly Beach Farmers Market. Local makers, artists, and farmers will be there selling their wares, and there will be music, marshmallow roasting, and more!

Saturday evening, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra will make beautiful music at the Gaillard Center at the CSO’s Annual Holiday Pops. This family-friendly event features the CSO, CSO Chorus, and the Charleston Children’s Chorus playing and singing selections such as “White Christmas,” “Klezmer Nutcracker,” “Ave Maria,” “12 Days of Christmas” (CSO-style), Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and many more sing-along favorites. Get your tickets now!

Don your coziest pajamas and join other Christmas movie enthusiasts at MUSC Health Stadium Saturday night to watch The Polar Express on a 3,000 square-foot videoboard. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and get there before the movie to enjoy the food trucks and train rides. Tickets are $5, and children 6 and under get in free.

The Royal American plays host to the Thrifters + Drifters Holiday Market on Sunday from 12-5pm, featuring “all your favorite Charleston makers and shakers.” With vendors selling everything from handmade jewelry to botanical goods and vintage wares, it’s the perfect place to pick up some unique last-minute Christmas gifts for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list.

Celebrate the Festival of Lights this Sunday from 4-6pm at Chanukah in the Square. Presented by the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish studies program, the Chabad of Charleston—Center for Jewish Life, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, and other local organizations, this festival takes place in Marion Square, where local Holocaust survivors will continue the tradition of lighting the menorah candles. There will be food, live music, and a festive atmosphere. People of all religions and backgrounds are welcome to join the festivities.

3 Ways To Get Started In Real Estate Investing

Ever wonder where all those big-time real estate investors started? Sure, some of them might've started with a trust fund or inherited properties, but for the most part, successful real estate investors work their way up one house at a time. Are you interested in becoming a real estate investor but not quite sure where to start? Let’s talk about three common ways to get started in real estate investing. You might find it’s easier than you think!

Become a Landlord

The quickest and easiest way to get started in real estate investing is to rent out a home you already own. Some people sort of stumble into this by becoming an “accidental landlord,” forced to rent out their home when they can’t sell it. To those people, owning a rental property wasn’t necessarily something they were interested in, but in a lot of cases it leads to bigger and better things. Owning an investment like a house isn’t just about appreciation of a home and how much money you can make in a sale. It’s about making that house work for you.

Let’s say you stand to make $50,000 on the sale of your home. That’s a large sum of money for most people, and it would certainly be nice to have. But take that profit amount and deduct closing costs, commissions, and taxes, and it decreases by a good bit. On the other hand, if you chose to rent that same home for $2,000 a month, it would take 25 months to make that same amount. That’s only a little over two years of doing next to nothing to earn a monthly paycheck. Of course there will be landlordly duties here and there, or the small percentage you’ll pay to a property management company if you choose to go that route. But by the time you make up that $50,000 you might have made on the same of your home, you might even own a second rental property that makes you even more.

The bottom line: Would you rather make a lump sum up front and watch it be slowly (or maybe quickly!) spent? Or would you rather make your house work for you and see money come in every month that could cover the living expenses for your new home?

Do a Live-In Flip

This takes time, hard work, and patience, but it can really pay off in the end. Ideally, this is a project that should be done by a single person, a couple without children, or a family with older children. Your home will essentially become a 24/7 construction zone, and having little ones running around won’t be safe. It also takes a little bit of capital to begin with, because not only will you be paying the mortgage on the house, but you’ll also be spending money to fix it up.

If you’re going to flip a home, you need to do it the right way. Don’t try to cut corners to save money. Buyers are way more educated on flip homes and fixer-uppers than they were ten or so years ago, so taking shortcuts will only hurt you when you put the house on the market. Don’t just give the home a cosmetic upgrade. Make sure to address things like electrical wiring, the HVAC system, safety features, and structural issues. When you do get around to the cosmetic upgrades, don’t skimp. Make sure fixtures match and flooring won’t look cheap or show wear too quickly. And don’t forget about curb appeal!

The bottom line: If you have the time and money to flip a home, go for it. Just go into it knowing that it’s going to be more work than you think, and you’ll need extra room in the budget just in case.

Find a Mentor and Partner Up

The easiest way to learn is by doing. That doesn’t mean you should jump right in feetfirst, though. Do your homework first by researching the current market and what it takes to invest. Have coffee or lunch with a few successful investors and ask their advice. If you find that you trust and get along well with one in particular, ask if they’d be willing to be your mentor. Maybe even propose a partnership for your first investment experience.

Whether the partnership is an equal buy-in for a flip house or partial interest in a multi-family home or complex, having an interested party there to show you the way makes for priceless experience. It also keeps you from making ill-informed decisions or impulsive moves that might not be the best choice for your situation. In addition, partnering up with a mentor means you won’t have to put forth as much money up front as you’d have to if you did it all alone.

The bottom line: Partnering with someone you trust means you’ll need less capital to start with. You’ll also learn valuable lessons along the way by actually doing instead of just reading about how to invest in real estate.

There’s no one end-all, be-all solution in the real estate world. There’s a myriad of other ways to invest in real estate, but these are three of the most common, get-your-hands-dirty ways to get started. Have questions about where to begin? Don’t hesitate to give us a call today. We’d be happy to help you figure out the best route for you in your real estate investing adventure.

How-To Tuesday // 10 Simple Ways To Make Your Home Feel Cozier This Winter

After last winter’s milder weather, it seems like we’re in for a colder winter here in the Lowcountry this year! Whether that excites you or sends a literal chill down your spine, we’ve got a few easy ways to help warm things up. Use these ten tips for making your home look and feel cozier during cold weather.

Use a variety of textures.

Create a warm feel in your living and bedrooms by layering different textures. Wool, chunky knits, fleece, and faux fur all work together to create a cozy atmosphere. Try a blanket ladder to display gorgeous textiles. Not only do blankets look comfy and warm arranged across couches and chairs, but they can also be functional when you feel the need to turn up the thermostat.

Reverse the direction of ceiling fans.

During the summer, ceiling fans should turn counterclockwise when you look up at them. This pushes cool air down and helps you to feel cooler without adjusting the thermostat. In the winter, fans should be switched to rotate clockwise, allowing the blades to pull up cooler air and push down warm air that collects at the ceiling.

Switch to heavier drapery.

There’s nothing like sheer curtains billowing in a spring breeze, but in the colder months, you’re going to want heavier window dressings to help keep the warm air inside. Heavy drapery helps keep out cool air that might seep in and keeps heat inside. Heavier fabrics also make things seem visibly cozier.

Use rugs to warm your feet.

We all wish for heated bathroom floors on those cold winter mornings. Instead of shelling out the cash for heated tiles, though, try bigger, thicker rugs in bathrooms and bedrooms for the season. Did you know you can also layer rugs? A current trend in home decor is to layer a faux fur rug over a flat area rug for a warm, inviting look.

Light some candles.

Even though candles don’t add much actual heat to a room, there’s something about them that adds instant warmth. Perhaps it’s the suggestion of fire or just the soft glow of light they provide. Maybe they just remind us of being cozy and happy during the holidays. Whatever the reason, candles are a great way to make everything feel homey.

Use more lamps.

Turn off the harsh, bright overhead lighting and create a soft, warm glow with table lights and floor lamps. Edison bulbs are especially fun for creating warm light. Bonus: this type of of lighting is more flattering than overhead light.

Try essential oils.

If you don’t own an essential oil diffuser, we highly suggest going out and grabbing one. They’re highly available in most stores now, including affordable options like Walmart, drugstores, and TJ Maxx. They range from the strictly functional to sleek and beautiful, but they all get the same job done. Add natural essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus for relaxation and ambiance.

Light a fire.

This one might be a tad bit obvious, but stick with us. Lighting a fire is the number one way to help a home feel cozy. If you don’t have a fireplace, try an electric one. You can find them for around $100, and many of them come with adjustable thermostats.

Get crafty.

Use an old sweater to make a lap blanket, a throw pillow, or even a pouf ottoman like this one. Ideas abound on Pinterest with instructions on how to recycle old clothing. Sweaters are already warm and interesting with their pretty patterns and cable knits, so they make the perfect material for cozy crafts!

Create a tabletop vignette.

Place a tray on your coffee table or ottoman where you can display items that inspire a cozy feeling. Try the following:

  • A bottle of wine and some wine glasses, a stack of leather-bound books, and a candle
  • Mugs for cocoa, candy canes, and a book on Hygge
  • Pretty candlesticks, a small vase of winter flowers or greenery, and snacks in a glass bowl

Have fun with your warm and cozy decor! Don’t be afraid to mix patterns, textures, and colors. Just make sure to personalize it and make it really feel like home. What are your other ideas for making a home look and feel cozier for the winter?

5 Signs That a Flip Might Be a Flop

Home improvement television shows like to tell us that anyone can be a real estate investor, which is technically true. Anyone really can remodel or flip a house with the right amount of time, money, patience, and—above all—education. That education doesn’t have to be formal at all, but it does have to take place in the form of extensive research, active learning, and sometimes trial and error. Unfortunately, not everyone understands this. That’s when we get flippers who are only concerned with the cosmetics of a house. Buyers get stars in their eyes when they see a gorgeous kitchen and a fully upgraded bathroom, but when their home inspection comes back, it might be full of structural or electrical issues. Save yourself some time and money and be on the lookout for a few warning signs before you make an offer on a home. That gorgeous flip could very well be a flop!

Kitchen Details

It’s easy to be blinded by beautiful new appliances, cabinets, and tile backsplashes, but try to look beyond the shiny newness. Look for little details that could point to a rushed, careless job. Look out for things like cabinets that don’t align properly or don’t close tightly; gaps between the countertop and backsplash; and new cabinet doors that have been been installed to cover old cabinets. Pay attention to the layout too. The stove, sink, and refrigerator should form a triangle shape. This is a common design theme that creates good flow in a kitchen. If the locations of those appliances don’t form a triangle in some way, chances are the sellers used the old, existing layout, only concentrating on cosmetics and not structure.

Electrical Work

Take a close look at the wiring in the house. Is there a jumbled bird’s nest of wires hidden away in the attic? If so, it’s probably been quite a while since the electrical work was last addressed. This is something a home inspector will be able to catch, but you might not even get that far if you find something like this at a showing. Test the lights, air conditioning, and garage door opener and make sure circuits aren’t overloaded. Also pay close attention to the light switches and outlets. Switches that are positioned awkwardly and outlets that aren’t easily accessible are warning signs of a lazy flipper.

Unaddressed HVAC System

Check the HVAC system to see if it has been replaced or updated recently. If it hasn’t been touched at all, that’s a huge red flag. HVAC systems should always be addressed in a flip house. The last thing you want is to move into a beautiful, updated and upgraded home only to find out that the entire HVAC system needs replacing when summer comes. Even if the system is brand new, it should have been cleaned before the flippers left the house. Construction zones are obviously dusty and dirty, and all of that drywall dust can get sucked into the system.

Haphazard Safety Features

Some features are only installed because code requires them to be present. Check for things like loose handrails or rickety fences. Sometimes a safety feature is simply tossed up to comply with code but isn’t double-checked. It isn’t necessarily out of malice or an uncaring nature; but if a flipper is one who’s mainly concerned with cosmetics, they might not understand the risks of, say, not mounting a handrail to wall studs instead of just drywall.

Mismatched Fixtures

A house full of mismatched fixtures is a warning sign that the seller was more concerned with saving money over presenting quality work. Flippers are notorious for raiding the clearance section at the hardware store. While you can definitely score some sweet deals that way, outfitting a house with fixtures that don’t match is a big design no-no. It’s one thing to use different metals in different rooms, but mixing styles within one area of the house isn’t exactly easy on the eye.

These are just a few simple ways to tell that a flip might not be up to par, but there are lots of others. If you’re not sure, it’s always a good idea to bring along an expert. An experienced real estate agent will also be familiar these warning signs. If you’d like an extra keen eye on your side, make sure to get in touch with us today!


Friday Five // December 8th, 2017

The Christmas countdown is on, and there are lots of ways to celebrate the holiday season across the Lowcountry this weekend. It’s going to be a chilly one, so don your hats and mittens and watch some parades, visit with Santa, or play all day in a “snowy” Winter Wonderland! Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend.

The Knightsville General Store and Coffee House is hosting a Movie Night for Big Kids on Friday, December 8th, starting at 6:30pm. Bring chairs and blankets and enjoy watching Christmas Vacation outdoors by the fire pit. Sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs will be available for purchase along with s’mores kits, popcorn, hot tea, and hot chocolate. Parents, please note that the film is rated PG-13, so use your best judgment. No outside food or drinks will be permitted.

On Saturday, December 9th, Mercantile and Mash will host their annual Brunch with Santa. Kids can chat with Santa and have their pictures taken, decorate cookies, and enjoy balloon art. Tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door. Food and beverages will be available for purchase and are not included in the event ticket price.

Also on Saturday is the 2017 Charleston Holiday Boat Parade. The Maritime Center offers the perfect place to view the parade, hear Christmas music, eat yummy food, and enter a raffle for the chance to win a brand new boat.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens will transform into a Winter Wonderland on Sunday from 11am until 3pm. Activities will include an inflatable ice castle, visits with Santa, Christmas carolers, holiday crafts, rides on the Christmas train, and much more! Garden admission is buy one get one free with the donation of a non-perishable food item.

The Summerville Christmas Parade takes place this Sunday afternoon from 2pm until 4pm. Sponsored by Summerville DREAM, the parade is traditionally one of the largest in the state with nearly 3,000 participants and 25,000 spectators. This year’s theme is Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Bring your chairs, blankets, and hot cocoa and get there early to claim a spot along Main Street for this beloved annual event.




A friend of ours who recently bought a house enthusiastically referred us to Johnson & Wilson. Our friend's recommendation was top notch - Johnson & Wilson. is AWESOME! - Brian
Read Unbiased Consumer Reviews Online at
Real Estate Agents in Charleston

Leverage Seal 1.png191