How-To Tuesday: Be a Better Neighbor

So you’re all settled into your brand new house. Did moving day seem sort of anticlimactic? Were you expecting neighbors to walk over and introduce themselves, maybe bring a plate of cookies to share like friendly television neighbors always do? If you’ve already met your neighbors, consider yourself lucky! We live in a time where people are more likely to keep to themselves and mind their own business. But it’s actually important to get to know your neighbors in order to build a strong, safe community. If no one has taken the initiative to come over and meet the newbie, why not take it on yourself? Here’s how.

Start a Pay It Forward Chain

A small, kind gesture is a great way to introduce yourself. Leave a goodie bag or a basket of homemade cookies on your neighbor’s front step with a note asking them to pay the gesture forward. You could even offer to mow their lawn—though you should approach this one cautiously as some people might take offense at the notion that their lawn isn’t tidy enough.

Offer Your Help

Don’t wait for someone to need something before offering to help. Walk over, introduce yourself, and let them know you’re around if they ever need anything. Ask about things like carpools or school drop-off and pickup. If you have elderly neighbors, offer to help with chores like putting the trash can out or weeding the flower beds, simple maintenance items that might not be so easy for them anymore.

Throw a Block Party

A great idea for getting neighbors together is to host a family-friendly block party. Print out a simple invitation and take it around to your neighbors’ homes, letting them know you’ll be grilling up burgers and hot dogs on a specific date and time. Make it a fun potluck or BYOB event where everyone chips in, or provide it all yourself as a gift for your new neighbors. If it’s warm out, set out a kiddie pool or slip and slide. Maybe even rent a small bounce castle if there are lots of kids on the block. Just make it a fun, casual event where people can get together and reconnect.

Just Say Hi

Sometimes a simple smile and hello can brighten someone’s day instantly. When you’re out walking or working in the yard, wave to those who pass by and offer a greeting and a smile. Simple, friendly gestures like this can open the door for conversation and lead to great friendships.

What other ways have you found to get to know your new neighbors? Tell us your great ideas in the comments section!

When Buyer’s Remorse Strikes

Buying a home is a major life change and a serious business transaction. It can be a little daunting for some people once the initial excitement wears off and reality sets in. What happens when the dust settles and you find yourself panicking? You can’t exactly return or exchange a house like a pair of ill-fitting shoes; but you might find some comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Home buyer’s remorse is more common than you might think it is.

According to a survey done by Trulia, the most common reasons people experience home buyer’s remorse are:

  • The home is the wrong size: 42% said they regretted not choosing a bigger home (33%) or smaller home (9%).
  • The home is too updated or not updated enough: 26% said they wished they’d completed more or fewer home improvements.
  • The buyer didn’t know enough about the home or neighborhood: 15% said they wished they’d known more about their home or neighborhood.

Luckily, there are some ways you can calm your anxieties!

Look on the Bright Side

First, don’t obsess over the things that you suddenly don’t like about your new home. Instead, make a list of what’s bothering you and then create a plan to fix it. Concentrate on the positives and what you do like until you can get around to fixing what you don’t like.

Refinance When Possible

If it’s your mortgage that’s bothering you, there’s a fix for that too. There’s nothing to say that you’re saddled with the same old mortgage you landed in the beginning of the deal, and no one is going to force you to stick with the same mortgage company either. Refinance your home with a new mortgage that better fits your financial needs and goals.

Take Stock of Your Budget

Are you fretting about the financial “burden” of owning a home? It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when you add new expenses to your budget and have to do some rearranging of finances. To help yourself feel calmer about your financial well-being, sit down with a pen and paper or a spreadsheet and a calculator. Take a sip of coffee and a deep breath and start fresh by creating a brand new budget. You might find that even a couple of small changes in spending habits will ease your anxiety.

Start to Rebuild Your Savings

If you emptied your savings account to make a down payment and pay for other closing costs, it’s natural to feel a little bit lost. All this time you’ve been saving up to buy a house, you’ve probably felt pretty safe with that nest egg sitting there accruing interest. Ease your worries by reminding yourself that you didn’t lose those liquid assets; you just turned them into less liquid equity. If it helps you feel better, start a plan for building your savings account back up, penny by penny.

Sometimes just knowing that someone else is feeling the exact same way can help you through buyer’s remorse. Don’t focus on the bad, especially if it’s something that can be fixed. In most cases, it just takes a slight lifestyle or attitude adjustment to make those remorseful feelings go away.

Friday Five // May 25th, 2018

There’s plenty going on this Memorial Day Weekend in Charleston, and our weekly roundup of fun events is here to prove it. Attend a world-renowned arts festival, see a country music concert, learn about bears and campsites, and more! Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend!

Each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills the Holy City’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists and emerging performers in opera, theater, dance, and music. Approaching its 42nd season, this 17-day event is internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival. Spoleto starts on May 25th this year and runs through June 10th. Attend the Opening Night Fête Friday at Bedon’s Alley at 8pm, where you’ll toast the Miami City Ballet and the opening of the 2018 season with refreshing cocktails, delicious tropical food, and live music.

Held concurrently with Spoleto, Piccolo Spoleto is the perfect complement to the international festival, primarily focusing on artists from the Southeast region. The 39th annual Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition takes place in Marion Square starting this Friday. The exhibition features the work of more than 70 fine artists in a free, open-air venue the entire family can enjoy. South Carolina’s premier artists will set up their “art camp” for 17 days during Spoleto, and visitors will have a unique opportunity to watch daily painting demonstrations and personally connect with the artists.

Also on Friday night, Budweiser hosts its Salute to Service Memorial Day Concert to honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes. The concert takes place from 6pm until 10pm at Joe Riley Stadium and features country artists Brothers Osborne, Logan Mize, and Chase Bryant. General admission tickets are $30 for the general public and $20 for active duty military. This event benefits Folds of Honor, a charitable organization with a mission to empower military families by providing educational scholarships to the children and spouses of our fallen and disabled service members while serving our nation.

If you have a beard to beat all beards, get down to the Music Farm this Saturday at 7pm for the 9th Annual Southeastern Beard and Moustache Championships. The Holy City Beard & Moustache Society has raised over $65,000 for local charities over the past 8 years, and this weekend’s event will add to that number. This year’s Championship will benefit Big Brothers & Big Sisters of the Lowcountry. Come out and enjoy a pre-party Friday night at the Tattooed Moose, BBQ lunch on Saturday, competition on Saturday night, and a farewell brunch Sunday morning at Holy City Brewing.

If camping is in your plans for the summer, you might want to attend Charles Towne Landing’s Bear Awareness Day this Saturday at 2pm. Novice and expert campers and everyone in between will join the Animal Forest keepers to learn how to make a campsite less attractive to wildlife like bears and raccoons. There will even be a demonstration by the bears on what happens when you don’t follow good camping practices!

Set Your Home Up For Healthy Living

More and more Americans have been turning to healthier options for the last two decades, and it’s begun to show in the way we live our lives at home. In order to support both physical and mental well-being, homeowners and developers have been focusing on the best ways to promote healthy living. Take a look at the following tips for setting your home up for an all-around healthier lifestyle.

Make room for exercise. Whether it’s a biking or running path nearby, a peaceful room for yoga and meditation, or just plenty of floor space for an aerobic workout in the living room, having exercise space in or near your home makes you more likely to get that physical activity in each day. No need to drive to the gym or yoga studio. Just set up an inspiring, inviting workout spot right at home.

Have space for growing your own food. Planting and growing your own fruits, veggies, and herbs can be hard work, but it’s extremely rewarding. There’s nothing like stepping out the back door, grabbing some kale, a few tomatoes, and a cucumber, and whipping up a nice little salad for lunch. Not everyone has enough room to plant a whole vegetable garden in the backyard, though, and that’s okay. Start small with an indoor herb garden, then slowly graduate to a raised bed outside if possible. If you really want to get into gardening but don’t have any space to spare, research community gardens in your area.

Keep things tidy. Living in a clean, organized space can really improve your physical and mental health. Less dust and pet dander means fewer allergens floating around. Less “stuff” hanging out on the kitchen counter, dining room table, or nightstand keeps you from feeling cluttered and unorganized.

Buy organic linens and furnishing when possible. Did you know that we spend about a third of our lives sleeping? When you really think about how much time you spend in bed, it makes sense to invest in good-quality, eco-friendly bedding and linens. Organic fibers are nice and comfy, and they’re less likely to cause any allergic reactions. Place an air purifier in the bedroom as well to keep you breathing clean air all night long.

Set your kitchen up for healthier eating. Cooking at home makes it easier to opt for healthy foods. Buy items like quality glass food storage containers, a good water filter or water purifying pitcher, and a blender to make smoothies and juices and get those extra fruits and veggies in. Stock the kitchen with healthy ingredients and plenty of yummy-smelling herbs and spices to inspire you to cook delicious meals at home with the family.

Don’t cover all the windows. Letting the natural sunlight stream in through windows has many health benefits, and it also helps cut down on energy bills by allowing you to leave lights off during the day. Having access to a view of nature has also been found to increase your ability to bounce back faster from a stressful day or anxiety-causing event.

Research products and furnishings before bringing them home. Materials like paints, sealants, wood flooring, carpeting, air fresheners, and even reclaimed wood can give off harmful, unpleasant fumes. Look into better quality materials and invest in an air purifier.

Place affirmations in areas you use a lot. Sometimes we need visual reminders to keep our chins up and look on the positive side of life. It’s such a small detail, but something like a framed, beautifully hand-lettered quote encouraging you at the beginning or end of the day can help you stay mindful of your mood.

Compromises Worth Making When Buying a Home

Buying a home is rarely ever about finding that one perfect, turnkey dream home. We’ve talked before about how all home buyers should make a list of must-haves and a list of nice-to-haves when shopping for a house, but what happens when those must-haves throw a kink in your plans? That’s when the art of compromise comes into play. “Buyers are lucky if a home checks off more than three-quarters of their ‘must-have’ list,” says one of our expert agents. Sometimes you have to make concessions in order to get the things that are most important to you. Let’s look at a few compromises that are worth making when searching for a new home.


Just about everyone wants to live in a safe, aesthetically pleasing neighborhood that’s within walking distance to most of their needs. Because location is one thing that cannot be changed about a house, it’s one of the key things that affects its value. That means if the home is in a prime location, you’re going to have to pay a premium price even for a house that’s too small for you. Most buyers are more willing to compromise on location before the size of the home. Your actual living space is probably more important than having the ability to walk to the grocery store.

Square Footage

On the flip side, maybe you want to downsize and move to a more convenient or more walkable area. Maybe you decide you can live without a guest room (that’s what hotels are for, right?) or a formal dining room or a home office. If the location of the house is more important to you than the living space, then perhaps you won’t mind giving up some square footage to get a home in the perfect neighborhood for you. A caveat: this option is more suited for established or small families without the possibility of future growth!

Outdoor Space

Lots of buyers come to us with the desire to find a house on “at least half an acre of land.” Some see themselves putting in gorgeous landscaping, a pool, and an awesome outdoor entertaining area. Others simply want enough room for the kids or dogs to run around and play. The truth is that you need—and will use—far less outdoor space than you think you do. When you think of all the mowing and weeding and other maintenance involved, it won’t be too difficult to make this compromise.

A Specific Style

Okay, so you’ve always loved the idea of a mid-century modern home with huge windows and fun 1950s and ’60s design details. But when you start to look into buying one, you might find the price of an upgraded, modernized one is a little out of your budget. So maybe you end up with a traditional brick ranch instead, and you actually love it. Honestly, a home’s style doesn’t belong on a “must-have” list, but it ends up there more often than not. Even less important are the smaller, changeable details. If you really want granite countertops or hardwood floors, they can always be put in at a later date. Finding a home that’s the right size and in the right location is far more important than a home’s style, which can always evolve later on down the road.

Compromise is a necessary thing in life. We compromise with ourselves, our partners, our colleagues, our kids… Sometimes you need a little give-and-take when it comes to house hunting too. Just remember before you start shopping for your new home that even if a house doesn’t check every box on your list, the compromise you make in one area might bring you a lot more value in another.




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