Does Your Lender Go Above and Beyond?

A mortgage lender should be more than a person who collects your information, checks your credit, and signs some forms. The best mortgage lenders are the ones who take the time to get to know you and your needs and offer tailored services. After all, they're working right beside you to help you take a big step in life! With that in mind, we would like to introduce to you one of our favorite loan officers, Tricia McCarthy from Starkey Mortgage. 

Tricia makes obtaining a home loan a positive, pleasant process. She is friendly, offers personal service, and is highly knowledgable. "To me, it's always been more than a job," she says. "The satisfaction and pride I feel each time one of my borrowers becomes a homeowner is indescribable. Each one is an emotional investment for me as every borrower is more than just a loan. They are friends, neighbors, and my community."

Every interaction we have had with Tricia and Starkey Mortgage has been rewarding, and we cannot recommend them enough. As a preferred lender of the Hometown Heroes program, Starkey Mortgage is a shining example of giving back to the community. In addition, for every deal we close together, Starkey Mortgage will make a donation to a charity of our choice. So help us out by telling us what your favorite charity is and why in the comments below!

For more information on Tricia McCarthy and Starkey Mortgage, visit their website.

How-Tuesday: DIY Backsplash

Tired of having to clean dried cake batter and spaghetti sauce off your painted kitchen wall? The cause could be one of two things. Either your toddler is having way too much fun with his food, or you haven't installed a backsplash. There's not much we can do about that overly enthusiastic eater, but we can help you with the backsplash problem. Whether you don't have one at all or you're simply tired of staring at boring tiles or laminate while you cook, replacing a backsplash is one of the easiest and most practical DIY projects out there. Whether styled with masonry, embossed metal sheets, or mosaic tiles, making a backsplash is fun and easy and gives you a chance to add personality to any kitchen. 

Here’s how to get started on your own:


1. Plan your backsplash. Decide how much of the wall you’d like to cover. The quickest, simplest plan is to cover the wall directly behind the stovetop, since this is where most of the errant splashes will come from. Some people, however, prefer to cover the wall along the entire stretch of countertop. This is entirely up to you. Just make sure to measure the area you want to cover so you don't end up having to trek back to the store to buy more materials or return a bunch of unused tile.


2. Prepare the walls. Check to ensure that they can withstand the added weight if you choose to use heavy tile or stone. Make any needed repairs so you can be sure that nothing’s festering underneath that pretty new surface. Remove electrical outlet covers carefully, and clean the area you will be covering. 


3. Place the adhesive. Use the recommended adhesive for whichever material you’ve chosen. Ask an employee at your local home improvement store for certainty. Don't rush this step! Follow instructions carefully so that you won’t find yourself having to remove and reapply the adhesive. 


4. Lay the tile. Carefully place your tile or other material of choice on the wall in whatever pattern you wish to achieve. Use a laser level if you wish for your tile to be perfectly aligned. Or if you're not a stickler for clean lines, go for the laid-back asymmetrical look. 


5. Begin the necessary grouting procedure if tile was your material of choice. Then clean the tiles off, replace the outlet covers, and you're all finished!


That was easy! This is a project that has the potential to change the look and style of your kitchen completely, yet it can be completed in a day! Now you can rest assured that all will be well the next time your pots and pans start slinging sauce, or your blender sends globs of strawberry smoothie hurtling toward the kitchen wall. Cleanup is easy, and so is upkeep. Enjoy your new backsplash!


Friday Five // April 4, 2014

There are so many things to do this weekend in the Lowcountry. Check out these five events and decide what to do in Charleston this weekend, then get out there and enjoy it!

The 37th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run takes place this Saturday. Every April, about 40,000 runners and walkers participate in the annual 10k race, which runs from the Shem Creek area of Coleman Blvd. in Mt. Pleasant to Marion Square in downtown Charleston. After the race, celebrate your accomplishment at the Finish Festival in Marion Square. If running isn't your forté, cheer on the racers and enjoy the after party!

Lowcountry residents and tourists will celebrate spring at the 42nd Annual Flowertown Festival in Summerville from April 4th-6th. Bring the family out and enjoy fun activities, food, sights, arts and crafts, and more! Admission is free for all. 

Jambalaya, andouille sausage, alligator, étoufée, and crawfish will abound at James Island County Park this Sunday during the Lowcountry Cajun Festival. In its 23rd year, the festival features a crawfish eating contest, live music, a crafts market, carnival rides, and games for kids. Admission is $10 for those over 12 years of age. Kids 12 and under get in free. 

Every spring, students at the College of Charleston are invited to submit their recent works of art to Young Contemporaries, a juried student exhibition that takes place at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. This year's juror is artist Bill Dunlap, who must choose the students who will exhibit their work from among hundreds of entries. The work will be available for viewing the the Halsey Institute from Friday, April 4 through May 3. 

The Family Circle Cup wraps up this weekend with its semi-final and final matches. Enjoy concessions from food trucks and local restaurants, wine and beer gardens, and live music, and live music between matches. Visit their website (here) for ticket prices and packages. 

With so many activities to choose from, we know you'll have a great time! Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wishes you a safe and happy weekend.

A Brief History of Summerville's Flowertown Festival

The first weekend in April is a favorite time of year for many residents of Summerville thanks to the spring weather, the beautifully blooming azaleas, and the loads of family fun provided by the Summerville YMCA's Flowertown Festival. This weekend, April 4-6, 2014, South Carolina natives and tourists alike will flock to historic Summerville for the 42nd annual festival. 

The Flowertown Festival is a long-standing tradition dating back to 1972, when two volunteers for the Young Women's Christian Organization, or the YWCO, visualized a springtime event that would celebrate the blooming azaleas and help raise funds for the YWCO. The first festival was a great success, featuring arts and crafts booths, carriage tours, hayrides, pony rides, bicycle races, a tennis tournament, a square dance exhibition, a parade, and a beauty pageant to crown Miss Azalea Queen. 

Today, the Flowertown Festival is ranked by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the top 20 events in the Southeast. The festival still offers something for everyone: booths featuring fine art, crafts, and vendors, a Children's Jubilee with carnival rides and activities, exhibitions from various clubs and organizations, and delicious foods and beverages from the Taste of Summerville. A new event. dubbed KidsFest, has been added this year as well. It features Blooming Artists, where kids can "develop their artistic potential through personal expression by selling their individuall crafted, original objects," says the website. Also included in KidsFest is ChalkFest, an event in which kids aged 14 and under can create works of art using sidewalk chalk on a 5'x5' area at the Cuthbert Center Tennis Courts. A panel of judges, which includes News 2's chief meteorologist Rob Fowler, will award prizes to three winners from each age group.

All proceeds from the festival go toward the furthering and continuation of the YMCA's philanthropic mission by "offering programs at an affordable rate and helping families in need who cannot afford to pay program or membership fees," states the festival's official website. "Over 15,000 people in Summerville and its surrounding communities participate in YMCA sponsored programs and membership."

If you're looking for some family-friendly fun, one-of-a-kind purchases, and delicious food from local restaurants, head on out to the 2014 Flowertown Festival this weekend and participate in some major family fun. We hope to see you there!



How-To Tuesday: Staging Ideas

You love your home. You adore the colorful walls, the plush furniture, and the gorgeous family photos that grace the walls. Your house is neat, tidy, and has plenty of room for movement. Why wouldn’t any prospective buyers fall in love with it, too?

Well, here’s the thing. Buyers couldn’t care less about your design tastes or your family photos. Ouch, right? Don’t take offense. A potential buyer’s reaction has everything to do with their personality and individual taste. So let’s talk about home staging. Have you seen those TV shows where design and construction crews come in, demolish and rebuild the kitchen, repaint the entire home, and refinish the hardwood floors? In reality, it doesn’t take that much effort to stage your home for showings. Instead of going all out, try these simple, inexpensive staging ideas that are sure to appeal to any buyer’s taste. 

Toss the clutter. Getting rid of clutter is the number one thing you can do to help buyers envision themselves in your home. Ask yourself what you can live without, and box it up or donate it.

Finish unfinished projects. Come on. Admit it. You know you have at least one. That uncovered light fixture you never got around to replacing? The half-painted guest room? Take care of those now.

Change your paint. Seeing a very bright or dark color as soon as they walk in can be off-putting to buyers. Switch to a neutral color. That doesn’t mean you have to paint everything a boring white or beige. Neutral colors can be anything from a simple taupe or dove gray to a beautiful light blue or a touch of sage.

Create the illusion of space. There are a number of ways to do this. Paint adjacent rooms the same color to open up the area. Do the same with flooring. It joins the two rooms together, effectively opening up the space. Arrange furniture in conversation groups to show the function and flow of the room.

Appease both genders. If you’re dealing with both genders, keep the master bedroom neutral. You might think your frilly curtains and abundance of throw pillows are inviting, but that tough-guy buyer might not.

Lighten up. Let in as much natural light as possible. In areas that don’t see much sunlight, the key to remember is 100 watts of light for each 50 square feet. Combine ambient light (general overhead lighting) with task lighting (pendant, under-cabinet lights) and accent lighting (table/floor lamps). Table lamps give a warmer, more intimate feel for nighttime.

Replace outdated flooring. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on this. If your kitchen laminate is worn out or your tiles are cracked, you can replace it with vinyl tiles or planks, which have become very popular and are way less expensive than the real thing. Another option is to stain the concrete underneath. Stained concrete can give a modern, custom feel to a room.

Show off storage space. Clean and organize all storage areas, such as closets, kitchen cabinets, under-sink storage, and pantries. You don’t want potential buyers to see your cluttered mess. You want them to see how much storage space you have!

Do a quick update. Replace old hardware on any cabinets, drawers, or other fixtures with pull knobs and switches. Don’t forget light switch plates. These can get pretty grimy and yellowed over the years.

Repaint doors and frames. A new coat of white paint here will create a clean, modern feel.

Give nooks purpose. You know that odd 4’x4’ nook at the top of the stairs? Stick a comfy chair and a floor lamp there and transform it into a reading area. And that odd little niche space in the living room could be a great place for a built-in bookshelf or a little table.

Give bathrooms ambience. Roll up some fresh towels. Put out pretty soaps and accessories. Frame a boring mirror with painted molding. Hide any personal items. Doing this can give a bathroom a spa-like feel.

Display art creatively. A bunch of framed pictures hanging at eye level can honestly be kind of boring. Make sure you don’t have an abundance of family photos on the walls. Stagger your paintings and prints. Hang a bunch of small frames in a large grouping. Just don’t line them up around the walls in a straight line.

Don’t forget to stage the exterior! Make sure sidewalks and driveways are clean. Mow the lawn regularly. Plant colorful flowers or place them in pots on the front porch. Scrub the patio down, pressure wash the siding, and clean the windows. Hang an attractive yet neutral wreath on the front door, and voila! Pretty and inviting.

Bring the outdoors indoors. Seasonal flowers or greenery gives a finishing touch and brings a little sunshine to any room.

Choose just a few of these little projects, or use our tips as a checklist to help you get your home ready all of those showing appointments that are sure to come your way. Happy selling!





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
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