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How-To Tuesday: Utilize the Empty Space Above Your Kitchen Cabinets

Some spaces in your home are a given when it comes to decorating. But if you have kitchen cabinets that don’t reach the ceiling, you might be wondering what to do with all that blank space above. Sure, you could just leave it empty, but that blank space can actually be pretty valuable real estate when it comes to storing or displaying certain items. Here are ___ things to do with the open space above your kitchen cabinets.

Display a Collection

Do you have a collection that’s not necessarily special enough to warrant its own display cabinet or shelf in another part of your home? Maybe some coffee mugs from your travels, or all the dozens of rooster figurines people have given you over the years because you mentioned that you like them. (Don’t we all have some sort of collection like that?) This is the perfect spot for those little items you don’t have to heart to get rid of, but aren’t sure where to put.

Create Storage Space

Use nice bins or baskets to create appealing storage that hides all those things you don’t like to store out in the open. Whether you use the area to store kitchen items or little things you don’t have space for elsewhere, it’ll be out of sight but still accessible.

Show Off Pretty Kitchenware

That pretty china or colorful fiestaware is too eye-catching to keep stored away inside a cabinet. Create a set-up for your prettiest, most colorful dishes above the cabinet instead.

Bring in Some Greenery

Use greenery to breathe a little life and air into the kitchen. It’s best to use fake greenery for the sake of upkeep, but something like a bright, tumbling ivy can still give the room a natural feel.

Make Room for Essentials

If you’re short on cabinet space, look up. Things like small appliances that you don’t use every day can spend most of their time hanging out above the kitchen cabinets. As long as it doesn’t present a fire hazard, you could even think about using the space as a bookshelf using your prettiest hardbacks.

Add Height with Tall Pieces

If the blank space between the cabinets and ceiling is especially large and sparse, use tall items to add the illusion of height. Think about tall vases with something like a reed or bamboo.

Display Art

Take advantage of this open space to display paintings, prints, or even trendy word art that you don’t have space to hang on the walls. The best part is there’s no need to use nails or hooks or make sure the pieces are hanging straight. Simply prop them on the top of the cabinets against the walls.

Friday Five // July 6th, 2018

It’s Friday, and you know what that means! It’s time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening in the Charleston area throughout the weekend. Take in a free movie in a historical setting, jump for joy with some favorite kids’ characters, shag along with some beach music classics, and more. Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company hope you have a safe and happy weekend.

Saturday night is Free Movie Night at Charles Towne Landing! Bring your lightsaber for a family movie night featuring The Last Jedi. Gates open at 7:30pm with the movie beginning at 8:30pm at Founder’s Hall. The movie is free, but be sure to bring cash for snacks and drinks.

If you love beach music as much as we do, the Hanahan Amphitheater is the place to be on Saturday for the Lowcountry Beach Music Festival 2018. Gates open at 1pm with shows from 2pm until 8pm featuring The Catalinas, Fantastic Shakers, East Coast Party Band, Jim Quick & Coastline, with DJ and Emcee Jim Bowers. Food and beverage vendors will be on site. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to spread out, but leave the coolers at home.

Still craving some live music after a day with beach tunes? Head to the Charleston Pour House on Saturday evening for Mr. Holland’s Oats, an all-star tribute to Hall and Oates. This tribute band features members of several local musical acts performing all your favorite hits Hall and Oates hits. Doors open at 8:30pm, and the show begins at 9:30pm. Get your tickets for $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Start off your Sunday Funday with a little exercise and relaxation with Cat Yoga at Pounce Cat Cafe! Cat Yoga takes place every other Sunday from 9:15am until 10:45am. Your $22 admission fee includes an hour of yoga with cats, thirty minutes of post-workout kitty cuddles and relaxation, and coffee, tea, or a meowmosa to enjoy after yoga. This class is open to all levels, so you don’t need to be an experienced yogi to attend.

Looking for a fun activity to do with the little ones this weekend? Head over to Sky Zone in Mount Pleasant on Sunday for Jumping with the Characters. From 10am until 1:30pm, you and your children can meet more than twenty favorite costumed characters live and up close at Sky Zone Charleston. Pose for pics, give out hugs, and jump to your heart’s content. Admission includes face painting and balloon twisting as well as jump and meet and greet time.

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Gated Community

Living inside a gated community comes with a certain amount of prestige, privacy, and security. But as with most things in life, life within a gated community has its share of both pros and cons. Today we’re taking a look at some of the positive and negative aspects of buying a home in one of these often prestigious neighborhoods.

PROS

Privacy and Security

Since non-residents aren’t allowed inside a gated community without prior approval from a resident or for some specific purpose (such as maintenance work), the majority of the people you’ll see driving around are your neighbors or their visitors. Solicitors and looky-loos without an invite will be turned away immediately by gate security. If you value privacy above all, a gated community is a great place to buy.

Great Amenities

Gated communities usually come with some pretty hefty homeowners association fees (more on that later), but that price tag usually comes with more amenities than your typical neighborhood. Many residents of gated communities enjoy one or more swimming pools, parks, playgrounds, jogging trails, clubhouses, dog parks, bike paths, and even golf courses and tennis courts.

Better Maintenance

Those higher HOA fees usually include common area maintenance and landscaping; and having more cash in the community kitty makes for a cleaner, nicer neighborhood. Who doesn’t want to come home to well-manicured lawns, beautiful trees, and strategically placed, colorful flowers throughout the neighborhood? In some lucky gated communities, the HOA even takes care of mowing and landscaping of residents’ lawns too.

Less Traffic

We don’t know about you, but we get awfully tired of people speeding through our neighborhood streets, looking for a shortcut to work or home. This is another thing you don’t have to worry about in a gated community. Only residents or those with business in the neighborhood are allowed within the gates or walls, so it’s rare that someone will come speeding through in an all-fire hurry to get somewhere else.

CONS

Less Affordability

Time to revisit those higher homeowner association fees we mentioned a few moments ago. Buying a home in a gated community will definitely be a little more expensive initially, but it’s also going to come with higher annual HOA dues and other fees. We’re talking thousands of dollars per year in some cases. You might’ve planned for the bigger mortgage payment, but don’t put your calculator away just yet. There’s no opting out of the HOA in most communities, so make sure you’ll have enough to pay your monthly or annual dues on top of other expenses.

More Commute Time

All that nice, quiet privacy can sometimes add up to a bit of isolation. That means more time in the car to get to work, school, the doctor’s office, the grocery store, or other errands. If you value the security of a gated community and don’t mind a little extra driving time, it’s a very small price to pay.

Less Freedom in Decor

If you’re hoping to install solar panels, paint your front door red, or plant more trees in your front yard, be aware that you’ll be at the mercy of your homeowners association. Exterior changes generally have to be submitted to the HOA for approval before any work starts. Any work done without prior approval is likely to garner you a fine, or at least a warning of a fine if you don’t remove any non-approved additions. If you don’t mind conforming when it comes to exterior details, then you’ll have no problem at all.

Difficulties in Hosting

Whether you’re just having a couple of friends over or hosting a full-blown party, things can be a little more difficult when you live in a gated community. Many such communities require guests to be registered ahead of time so gate passes can be distributed easily. This can mean spending a good deal of hosting time answering calls from gate security for guests who weren’t registered beforehand.

Depending on what’s most important to you, living in a gated community could be all pros and no cons, or exactly the opposite. For most, it’s a healthy mix of both. Every buyer must weigh the positives and negatives to find the best decision for themselves and their families.

How-To Tuesday: Stage Extra Rooms to Fit Your Target Buyer

You know by now that staging your home is a great way to get potential buyers to picture themselves really living there. But did you know that you can influence their thinking and imagination through how you stage a home? In the marketing industry, they talk about a brand’s target audience and how best to reach them. Whether you realize it or not, when selling your home, you have a target buyer. For instance, your home might be best suited to a young, single professional; a family with small children; first-time buyers looking for a starter home; or an established family with a little more money to spend. Staging areas like the living room and kitchen are pretty straightforward, but how you stage extra bedrooms in the house can really speak to the right buyer for your home. Here are a few tips for styling those extra rooms to attract the attention of some key target buyers.

Single Professionals

If you own a condo or a smaller house in a business district, or perhaps near a university or hospital area, single professionals or couples are probably your target audience. Snag their attention by setting a second bedroom up as a home office. Place a beautiful desk and chair front and center. Include items that young professionals might appreciate, such as a wine fridge stocked with water or other beverages, lots of options for organization, maybe a small coffee maker, and perhaps a pull-out couch to show that the office can double as a guest room when needed.

Creative Types

Many creatives work from home these days, especially those whose craft involves, well, crafting things. If you live in an area that really focuses on art and artists, or if you know there are lots of stay-at-home parents in your area who might be into arts and crafts, staging an extra bedroom as an art room is a great idea. Include a large drafting table or crafting desk, an artist’s easel, an inspiration board, lots of storage options, and some colorful artwork.

First-Time Buyers

Lots of first-time buyers are young families or couples looking to settle down and make a steady life for themselves. Even if your first-time buyers don’t have any children, they might be thinking about it in the near future, or they might have nieces, nephews, or friends’ children to stay over from time to time. If you need to cater to this type of buyer, think about staging an extra room as a child’s bedroom, nursery, or playroom.

Established Families

If you live in a more expensive or traditionally family-oriented area, chances are your target buyer is an older, established family. At a higher price point or in an area that’s convenient for families, you’re going to need to show at least three rooms as bedrooms. Beyond that, you might want to think about how families might use extra rooms to spend their time. Create a game room for older kids; an office space where parents can escape to get work done or kids can finish their homework; or even a hybrid office space/guest room.

Staging does a lot to help prospective buyers visualize what life would be like in a home. Paying attention to the type of buyer likely to purchase in your area, whether it’s a large family, a young single, or a high-powered professional couple, will help you stage the extra rooms in your home to catch their attention.

7 Reasons Not to Become a Homeowner

Real estate experts will talk until they’re blue in the face about all the reasons why you should buy a home. Today we’re taking a different tack. Here are seven reasons you should choose not to become a homeowner.

You like paying for someone else’s investment. If you’re paying rent, you’re basically making someone’s mortgage payment for them. In fact, you’re probably paying for their mortgage payment and then some. Unless they’re in dire straits and absolutely have to put their home up for rent quickly, most homeowners don’t rent their homes out to break even. They’re doing it for a return on their investment. So your $2,000 per month rent could be your $1,500 per month mortgage payment. If you’re really worried about the potential extra costs of homeownership, tuck a few extra dollars away in a savings account every month for peace of mind.

You don’t care about extra tax deductions. There are several tax deductions homeowners can take, including mortgage tax deductions and property tax deductions. It takes a little bit of extra work on your or your tax preparer’s part due to itemization, but it’s all worth it in the end.

You don’t mind living with lots and lots of rules. Renting comes with so many rules. Way more rules than most HOAs or condo regimes can come up with. Sure, if you own in a neighborhood with an HOA, you probably have to live by their rules about things like exterior paint colors, outbuildings, or lawn ornaments. But renters are beholden to the homeowner, which means having rules and guidelines for all areas of home life. For example, you might have a friend who needs to crash on your couch for a couple of weeks. Better check the lease first. Many leases lay only allow overnight guests for a certain number of consecutive days.

You don’t want to personalize your living space. This goes along with the point about living with more rules. When you rent a home, you give up a certain amount of freedom, which includes the ability to truly personalize your home. Some owners don’t allow renters to paint walls, hang certain decorations, etc. Owning a home means you can decorate and use your space pretty much however you want.

You like having to move every year or so. This could be a legit reason many people end up not buying a house. Not everyone wants or is able to stay in one spot for years. Some people crave variety. Some have to travel or move often for their jobs. Whatever the reason, it’s a good argument for not buying a home. On the other side of the argument, you could buy a home, live there for a couple of years, and then rent it out, making money off of other renters while you move on to greener pastures!

You don’t mind having to wait for maintenance or repairs. Obviously it’s nice not to have to pay for repairs or maintenance (although depending on the repairs, sometimes those costs are worked into your rent or charged directly to you). But then you have to wait on your landlord or management company to schedule the repairs. Sometimes that means someone will be entering your home while you’re not there, which can cause some people anxiety. When you own a home, there’s no need to wait around for two weeks until someone can schedule a plumber can come fix your leaky sink. You’re also free to shop around for better deals on maintenance and repairs or simply learn some homeowner DIY skills by watching YouTube.

You like to play housing payment guessing games. In your rental agreement, it probably states that the homeowner or management company can raise your rent at their discretion. Guess what? When you buy a home, your mortgage payment is your mortgage payment, and as long as nothing changes, it will be about the same amount every month for the entire life of the loan. If the market tanks, if interest rates go sky high, if property values shoot way up…you’re still locked into your mortgage interest rate and payment. The even greater thing about this is that if interest rates do drop, you’re free to refinance at a lower rate and score an even lower mortgage payment.

As you’ve no doubt figured out, this list is tongue-in-cheek and is by no means a complete list of all the positive points of owning a home. To find out more of the awesome benefits of homeownership, contact us any time to speak with one of our expert real estate agents.

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