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Friday Five // January 8th, 2021

 

It’s Friday once again, which means it’s time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening in the Charleston area over the weekend. Enjoy the Charleston culinary scene at a discount, learn to paint like a legend, get some home building and remodeling inspiration, and more. And as always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a very happy and safe weekend! 

Hooray, Restaurant Week is here! Foodies across the state eagerly look forward to this 11-day event, especially here in Charleston. Our culinary scene has become yet another main reason people travel to Charleston, and we’re lucky enough to live at the center of it. From casual dining to fine dining, hundreds of participating restaurants feature special menu items, promotions, and discounts. Taking place from January 7th through the 17th, 2021, Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to get out and try a few places you haven’t tried yet, or that might usually be cost-prohibitive for you.

Start 2021 off by bringing some creativity and peace to your life with a Paint Like Bob Ross workshop at Redux Contemporary Art Center. After all, couldn’t we all use more happy little trees in our lives? Toby Casey, Charleston’s only certified Bob Ross instructor, will host a two-hour workshop this Saturday afternoon to guide students through the entire process of creating their very own Bob Ross-style landscape. This workshop is conducted to the standards that were personally developed by Bob Ross himself and is designed to be accessible to every skill level. Absolutely ZERO painting experience is required. The price for the workshop includes all paints, brushes, and supplies, and you’ll leave with a couple of happy trees on a 9×12 canvas. Just bring a creative mind, a great attitude, and a mask!

In a partnership with the MOJA Arts Festival and the Charleston 350 Commemoration Commission, City Gallery is proud to present The Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls. The exhibition presents large format reproductions of Jonathan Green’s illustrations for Louise Meriwether’s children’s book The Freedom Ship of Robert Smalls. The book was originally published in 1971, and the new edition, reprinted in 2018, includes fifteen vivid illustrations by Green detailing Robert Smalls’ dramatic escape from slavery in 1862. These illustrations are presented at City Gallery alongside highlights from the book and historical information about the life and legacy of Robert Smalls. Reserve a free ticket to view this wonderful exhibit at the link above.

Head to Deep Water Vineyard this Saturday for the Weekend Wine-Down! Enjoy outdoor tastings and new draft meads featured at this weekend’s wine-down. There will be food from La’Son Anchor Grill and live music from Lenny Burridge. Kids and dogs love to run around and see the animals at the vineyard, so pack up the family and spend a few hours outdoors. Tastings occur every hour and the hour. You can also purchase wine by the glass and bottle as well as other drinks like mimosas, bloody marys, wine slushies, hot mulled wine, and draft meads. 

If you’re planning to build, remodel, or freshen your home or landscaping anytime soon—or if you just like getting ideas and seeing what’s new—the Charleston Build, Remodel, & Landscape Expo is the place to be this weekend. Head to the Exchange Park Fairgrounds in Ladson Friday through Sunday to see the latest innovations, offerings, and ideas in the home building and remodeling industries. See wall-to-wall displays and speak with experts and insiders. Learn about the latest trends in design, product offerings, maintenance tips, and more on everything to do with kitchen and bath remodeling, roofing, flooring, home security, water conditioning, insulation, windows, landscaping, exterior products, and much more. Please note that masks/face coverings are mandatory for all exhibitors and attendees at this event. 

 

Charleston-North Charleston Named Top 10 Market for Resilience During COVID-19

The National Association of REALTORS® recently listed the top ten real estate markets that have shown the most resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. We're happy to report that Charleston-North Charleston was named as one of those top ten resilient markets. The markets named are also expected to perform well in a post-pandemic environment.

The full list of the most resilient markets, in alphabetical order, is as follows:

  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Boise City, Idaho
  • Charleston-North Charleston, South Carolina
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  • Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, Arizona
  • Provo-Orem, Utah
  • Spokane-Spokane Valley, Washington

The indicators NAR used to identify these markets include a low unemployment rate and mobility to leisure and recreation places. The unemployment rate in the Charleston metro area is 4.7%, which is well below the current national rate of 7.9%. The national rate of mobility to leisure and recreation places is 20% below pre-pandemic level. Charleston’s rate is again below the national average at 13%. 

“NAR has recognized the Charleston market for its incredible growth and performance during a year in which many markets faced significant challenges,” 2020 CTAR President Bobette Fisher explains. “Over the last 11 months, our demand has continued to grow across nearly all submarkets in our region, and with historic low rates that we expect to continue, that demand will only grow.

“We are only being hampered by low inventory and, for many buyers, affordability,” Fisher added. “We will continue to work with local municipalities to overcome the affordable housing issues in our market.”

Speaking of low inventory, there were 53% fewer homes for sale in the Charleston area over the last year, with just 2,853 homes listed for sale in the Charleston Regional MLS at the end of November. This number represents a record low of just one and a half months of available inventory. 

As of the end of November 2020, 19,737 have sold at a median price of $300,000. Both of those numbers are up from the same time in 2019, when 17,044 homes had sold at a median price of $278,000. The number of closed sales is up in 2020 by nearly 16%, and the median price is 8% higher.

All in all, there’s never been a better time to sell your home! If selling or buying a home is on your list of goals for 2021, don’t hesitate to give Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company a call.

Friday Five // December 18th, 2020

It’s Friday once again—and only a week until Christmas! That means it’s time for our Holly Jolly edition of the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events taking place in the Charleston area over the weekend. Explore an illuminated forest, go on a hunt for Santa’s lost reindeer, shop a local holiday market, and more. And as always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a very happy and safe weekend!

Dragon Boat Charleston and Explore Charleston have collaborated on the Festival of Trees to benefit cancer patients and survivors this holiday season. Together they’ve turned the Charleston ARea Visitor and Reception Center into a winter wonderland adorned with themed Christmas trees! Each tree has been adopted by an area business or philanthropist and decorated in honor or memory of someone who has battled cancer. The public may bid and vote on the trees in a silent-auction format. The first annual Festival of Trees begins this Friday and runs through January 5th, 2021. Head to the link above to register, bid, or view the trees before the event.

It looks like Santa’s reindeer have come down south to spread a little holiday cheer before the big night next week. They’re hiding out at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, and it’s up to you and your family to find them at the Children’s Reindeer Walk and Holiday Fest this Saturday! Start in the Conservatory and make your way across the red bridge as you search for Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and all the rest… Each reindeer you find will have a fun holiday activity ready and waiting for you. Finish you hunt in the Holiday Village in the Children’s Garden, where Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph will be waiting for your report on where their trusty reindeer are hiding. If that’s not enough, there will be juggling elves, candy cane stilt walkers, balloon twisters, live music, visits with Elsa and Anna, and more! The Reindeer Walk begins at 11am, and the festivities in the Holiday Village will take place between 11am and 3pm. This event is free with paid garden admission. Bring a canned food to donate to the Lowcountry Food Bank and receive a BOGO admission.

Head to Park Circle on Saturday for the 6th Annual Holy City Holiday Market, held outdoors on the lawn at Holy City Brewing. Fifty vendors will be on hand to help you find the perfect last-minute gifts for your loved ones. The market opens to the public at noon and closes at 5pm. This is a rain or shine event. Shoppers must wear masks and practice physical distancing while attending the holiday market. Vendor booths will be spaced with plenty of room for shoppers to feel comfortable. Shop small and local at this market, which features vendors such as SheSells Candles, Pet Wants Lowcountry, Charleston Map Jewelry, Rachel DuBose Art, Mabel Mae’s Bakery, Patch Whiskey, Chucktown Acres, and many more! 

For something a little different this holiday season, check out Illuminated at the Woodlands Nature Reserve this Saturday. Enter the forest of the reserve for a drive-up celebration of light. Park your vehicle and enjoy an optional stroll through illuminated majestic oaks and longleaf pines. Observation Lake is where the real magic will happen, with laser projection and dynamic lights on the trees and across the water. Cozy up around a campfire and enjoy live music while you feast on popcorn, s’mores, and hot chocolate available for purchase. Admission is available in advance for $15 or $20 at the gate. Admission is included if you book an overnight stay. 

Come out and SEA the Magic of the Holidays at the South Carolina Aquarium! From festive photo-ops and visits with Santa to holiday-themed animal enrichment and more, there’s something fun for everyone at the aquarium. Stop by Santa’s mailbox to drop off your letter to the big guy. Find fun, festive photo stations to take selfies and group pictures. Feed Santa’s “RAYndeer” (cownose rays) daily from 10:15am until 4pm by purchasing a ray-feeding voucher for $5 at the admission gate or information desk. Be on the lookout for other animals enjoying holiday decor in their environments, snacking on special holiday fish pops, or get a chance to meet a critter up close! Masks are required at the aquarium at all times, even for Santa in his specially designed safety sleigh.

Friday Five // December 4th, 2020

It’s Friday once again (with only 20 shopping days left until Christmas, if you needed a reminder), and you know what that means! It’s time for another round of the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun things to do in the Charleston area this weekend. Take a tour of a festive, candlelit historic home, learn how to do holiday watercolor art, visit a holiday market, and more. As always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a very happy and safe weekend!

Enjoy a special holiday-themed event this Friday at the Edmonston-Alston house with Christmas on the Battery: Carols, Candlelight, & Gullah Christmas Stories. Tour the festively decorated house by candlelight as you are serenaded by the Charleston Caroling Company. Then warm up with a glass of wine or hot cider in the courtyard, where local storyteller Fouché Sheppard will perform Gullah Christmas stories. This event will follow CDC guidelines for social distancing, and masks are required inside the house. Tour groups will be made up of ten guests in order of arrival within each time block. This event takes place from 5pm until 8pm. Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for non-members.

Take a Candlelight Tour of Drayton Hall this Friday or Saturday beginning at 6pm. This beautiful and moving 18th century house is the oldest untouched home open to the public in the United States. For the first time, Drayton Hall will be open for evening public tours during the holiday season. Experience Drayton at night and get a small taste of what it might have been like to dwell inside a colonial home at night during actual colonial times. Afterward, warm up with a cup of spiced cider as you stroll back to the Visitors Center and the Shop at Drayton Hall. Tours are conducted via audio broadcast. Pre-registration is required in order to ensure Covid-19 safety guidelines. Cost is $45 for non-members and $40 for members.

Glass Slipper Productions is hosting a Winter Wonderland at Boone Hall Farms this Saturday from 10am until 5pm. There will be a socially distanced Santa Claus and sleigh, special appearances from Anna and Elsa, Jessie from Toy Story, and Spiderman, and baby goats! Anna and Elsa appearances will take place from 11am until 1pm, and Jessie and Spiderman will be visiting from 2pm until 4pm, so plan accordingly! There will also be a fire pit with s’mores, food trucks, and a small showcase of local vendors. The Winter Wonderland is also a dropoff location for Toys for Tots, so bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate if you can. Bring the whole family to see Santa, spend some time in the beautiful outdoors, and pick out the perfect Christmas tree. Admission is $5 per person, and if you decide to purchase a Christmas tree, $5 will be applied to that purchase. See you at the Winter Wonderland farm! 

Gather your most creative friends and fam and join Sister Moon Studio at Miller Gallery this Sunday for a Watercolor Holiday Wreaths Workshop. Learn how to paint gorgeous holiday wreaths in watercolors using the studio’s simple approach and meet new friends all in one festive evening. This workshop includes an intro to watercolor basics, step-by-step instruction for painting evergreen botanicals like holly berries and pine, plenty of practice time to perfect your greenery painting, 4-6 finished mini wreaths, holiday cards, and/or gift tags, and tons of fun and creative ideas for using your new festiva painting skills! Masks are required at all times during this workshop, except for taking a sip of your beverage while seated. Covid-19 preventive measures include social distancing of six feet between seats and participants, disinfecting of all equipment before use, and hand sanitizer stations. 

The Charleston Holiday Market in Marion Square is back for the holiday season, operating on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am until 3pm this Saturday, December 5th through December 20th. Come out and get all your Christmas shopping done at this local, homemade, handmade, Charleston favorite one-stop holiday shop. Shop farm products, packaged food vendors, artisans, crafters, and more. Covid protocols will be in place at the markets, including additional spacing between vendors, hand-washing/sanitizing stations, and the requirement that all vendors and patrons wear masks and maintain physical distancing throughout the events. Receive FREE parking for two hours in participating garages from now until January 1st, 2021, with the Holiday Magic in Historic Charleston parking voucher. Click here to download your voucher!

What You Should NEVER Do When Buying a House

"Never say never," the old adage goes. Sure, it applies to lots of things in life, but not necessarily buying and selling real estate. When you’re on the hunt for a new home, there are some things you actually should keep on your no-no list. Let’s take a look at a few circumstances where “never” is a positive thing.

Never house hunt without an agent. Go ahead and start browsing homes for sale online to get the lay of the land. But when it’s time to get serious, seek out a professional. They’ll guide you through every step of the process and work for YOU. Don’t think for a moment that buying a home without an agent will save you money. The seller has already agreed with their listing agent to pay a certain percentage of commission. They might offer you a “deal” if you work without a buyer’s agent, but that scenario most likely won’t work out in your best interest if you don’t have representation.

Never settle for the first mortgage lender you speak with. This can be a HUGE mistake. Get quotes from at least three lenders. If the first one you contacted happens to be the best fit of the group, then by all means, go with them! Just make sure to compare and contrast first to make sure you’re working with the absolute best lender you can find.

Never hold out for the “perfect” house. There’s no such thing as the perfect house (if there is, it’s most likely out of the average price range). But it’s completely possible to find the perfect house for you. Make a list of musts, wants, and nice-to-haves. Seek out a house that checks the most boxes and feels like it could be home. After all, the more you can personalize a house after you buy it, the more it will feel like it’s truly yours!

Never forget to budget for closing costs. The seller might chip in if your offer is strong, but you’ll be responsible for the majority of your closing costs. Expect to pay anywhere from 2-7% of the purchase price. 

Never make big purchases before you close on your new home. Your credit and debt-to-income ratio should not change at all during the homebuying process. Any little change could affect your interest rate or even reverse your approval. The last thing you want is for the deal to fall through at the very last minute because you jumped the gun and bought new furniture for a house you can’t even buy now.

Never quit or change jobs before closing day. Anything that affects the stability of your income while you wait for closing day is a big ol’ no-no. As we said above, any change can be a red flag for your lender. Quitting a job, switching from salary to commission, becoming a contractor, or switching to a new job that can’t produce pay stubs quickly enough could be detrimental to the loan process.

Never change banks during the loan process. Lenders verify all of your information and finances in the beginning, but they also re-verify everything just before closing day. Changing banks during the loan process equals more paperwork, more verification, and more time wasted.

Never let your emotions get in the way. Buying a house is a big deal. It can be an emotional, sometimes overwhelming process, and that’s perfectly okay. But don’t let your emotions run so high that they get the better of you. Remember that nothing is set in stone until the papers are signed and the keys are handed over. Everything is negotiable, and it will all work out in the end!

There are many instances in life where you should never say never, but these are the dealbreakers when it comes to buying a house. Beware these pitfalls, and it should be smooth sailing to closing day!

 

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