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Friday Five // January 25th, 2019

We’re wrapping up another productive work week with the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening throughout the Charleston area over the weekend. Sample food trucks and oysters galore, check out a home and design show, commit to fitness, and more. No matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company hope you have a safe and happy weekend!

Join Charleston Home + Design Magazine all weekend long for its 14th annual Charleston Home + Design Show at the Gaillard Center. Meet A-list local contractors, see the largest collection of luxury and premium kitchen, bath, and building products. Find everything to build, remodel, or update your home including state-of-the-art appliances, cabinets, tile and stone, kitchen and bath fixtures, windows, doors, hardware, solar and other energy-saving systems, smart home technology, and more. Check out the VIP Home Show Party. Get a free design consultation. Enter the grand prize giveaway. And take advantage of features like the architect symposium and other free seminars. Go to the Gaillard and get inspired!

Taste the best of the best in food truck fare at the 8th annual Charleston Food Truck Festival near Park Circle this Saturday and Sunday. This festival started in 2011 with 5 food trucks and 500 customers. Since then it has grown to over 10,000 attendees. Sample street fare from 25 food trucks from all over the Southeast; dance to live music from local musicians; and wash down the yummy food with handcrafted beer, wine, and cocktails. There will also be a retail row, free adult games, a kids’ zone, axe throwing, and much more.

Get your favorite little mermaids and swashbucklers all dressed up and ready for Pirates & Mermaids Day at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens this Saturday. From 11am until 2pm, you can enjoy a pirate-led scavenger hunt, face painting, character interaction (including the Little Mermaid herself!), and a costume contest. Residents of Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, and Colleton counties will receive free admission to Magnolia Plantations & Gardens with a donation of a canned good and a valid ID. The Pirates and Mermaids event is free with admission.

If you’re looking for a way to get fit this year, head to Nexton in Summerville on Saturday for Commit to Be Fit! Join Nexton and kick off 2019 with some great food, fitness classes, and a healthy dose of sunshine. Fuel your body at some of the area’s yummiest food trucks, then get set up for fitness classes like yoga and tai chi. Afterward, join Alta Brighton Park for some quick tips on healthy snacking. Learn how to create snacks from what you already have in your pantry, taste samples, and take home some easy healthy recipes. Other activities include fitness challenges, a biometric screening, fitness and nutrition games for the kids, and enter drawings to win fitness prizes.

This Sunday marks the return of the 36th Annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the world’s largest oyster festival and one of the “top 20 events in the southeast” according to the Southeastern Tourism Society. This event is hosted by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association and takes place at Boone Hall Plantation from 10am until 5pm Sunday. The festival features over 80,000 pounds of oysters and a variety of other foods from local restaurants and food trucks. There will be oyster shucking and oyster eating contests, live music on the main stage, a selection of wine and beers, a children’s area, and more. This event benefits MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, Charleston County School District, Ronald McDonald House, the Coastal Conservation Association, and the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

5 Reasons to Live in a Historic City

With more than a hundred properties officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the most historic cities in the United States. You don’t have to be a big history buff to appreciate living in a historic city like Charleston. There are many great advantages to making your home in an area that’s chock full of rich history and culture. From the many and varied available activities to the gorgeous architecture and scenery, there are lots of advantages to living in a historic city.

1. They come with built-in character.

They just don’t build ’em like they used to, right? With all the gorgeous antebellum architecture and craftsmanship found throughout the Charleston area, there’s character around every corner. Take a stroll through the historic district, all the way down to the Battery. There’s not a cookie cutter home to be seen.  

2. Historic homes hold value of more than one kind.

“Historic districts tend to hold their value better during economic downturns, and they appreciate more during upswings,” says Tom Mayes, vice president for the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C. Historic homes aren’t just valuable in terms of money and personal equity; they also hold a certain value for the public. Historic homes are artifacts that remind us of the past, but they’re also symbols of strength and perseverance for some. They’ve been a part of something bigger and made it through to the other side.

3. Things don’t change too quickly.

Most historic cities come with restrictions on what can and what must be done to certain buildings. Living in a historic district often means there’s a lot of red tape and hurdles to conquer before you can make even the slightest change. For those residents who would rather not live in an area that’s going to be redeveloped over and over again, a historic district could be the perfect choice.

4. There’s always lots to do.

Living in a historic city usually means you spend your days in a spot tourists flock to. And since Charleston reigns supreme on “best of” lists all over the world, there’s always something to do here. From museums to plantations to beaches, from walking tours to nightlife, historic cities tend to have a lot to do in order to keep both locals and tourists entertained.

5. Preservation efforts make for a better place to live.

Historic homes and buildings tend to need a good bit of upkeep and TLC. Thanks to preservation efforts to keep things maintained and operating smoothly, historic districts are usually just nice places to live in. Natural and man-made beauty abound.

How-To Tuesday: Upgrade Your Laundry Room on the Cheap

Let’s face it. No one enjoys doing laundry. (Or if you do, can you come over to our place and take care of ours too?!) If the laundry room isn’t exactly the most inspiring room in your house, maybe it’s time to give it a bit of an upgrade. Here are seven cheap and easy upgrades you can put to use to make your boring old laundry room a more enjoyable space for everyone.

Add some interest to the walls… The laundry room is one of the few places in the home where pretty much anything goes when it comes to design and decor. Paint the walls a cheery color or put up some wallpaper in a fun pattern. Now is the time to use those loud colors and prints you’ve been too nervous to use in the main areas of your home.

…and don’t forget the floors! There are so many fun things that can be done to floors to create interest and make a space more inviting. Add some gorgeous patterned tiles to the floor (peel-and-stick works just as well as ceramic!), go neutral with a hardwood or laminate, or just stain or paint the concrete floors.

Create a workspace. If you have a front-loading washer and dryer, there’s some prime real estate right on the top just asking to be used. Prop a butcher block on top to create counter space for separating and folding laundry right out of the dryer. No need for a laundry basket, which—for us, anyway—for us makes it easier to just push laundry aside instead of putting it away.

Organize and label everything. If you have shelf space, keep bins for all the different odds and ends that call the laundry room home. For example, label a bin for socks missing their mates, one for clothespins, one for stain removers, one for cleaning rags, and so forth and so on.

Upcycle old, unused furniture. Is there a piece of furniture you’ve been meaning to get rid of? Maybe an old desk or bookshelf? Give it some new life with a coat of paint, some contact paper, wallpaper, or fabric, and make a spot for it in the laundry room. This can help you keep your laundry and all its accoutrements nice and organized.

Use glass jars and containers for detergents and other needs. Add to the aesthetic of the room by decanting your laundry soap, softeners, et cetera, into pretty glass jars. So much prettier than those plastic jugs taking up space on the shelf!

Accessorize. Just because we don’t see the laundry room all that often doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give it a style boost. Hang some artwork on the walls and add a plant or two to liven up the space. Organize things with pretty baskets, and add other inspiring pieces that will actually help you want to visit the laundry room every once in a while.

What’s the Difference Between Being Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved?

While the words qualified and approved may have similar meanings, there’s actually a big difference between the two when it comes to getting a home loan. Being pre-qualified is a good start to show that you’re serious about buying a home, but getting pre-approved will get you much closer to the closing table. Let’s take a look at the main differences between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a home loan.

Pre-Qualification

Pre-qualification for a home loan pretty much comes after a cursory review of your finances and other information. You’ll provide the lender with details such as your gross income, all of your debts, and your total assets (savings, stocks, IRAs, etc.). The lender will calculate your debt-to-income ratio and let you know how much you qualify to borrow. In pre-qualifying you for a loan, the lender isn’t actually promising to lend you this amount or approving you for a loan at all. They don’t check to verify any of the information you provide. This step is really meant to let you know how much house you can afford based on the income and existing debts you report to them. In fact, if you really want to show sellers how serious you are and get the process moving along quickly, you can skip this step all together and go straight to getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

Pre-Approval

Being pre-approved for a home loan takes a much more in-depth look at your financial information. The lender will pull your credit report and check your score to get a look at your credit history. The debts reported there will also help them determine your official debt-to-income ratio and decide whether you’re a good candidate for a loan. You’ll need to submit official documents to them, including (but not limited to) paycheck stubs, W-2s, bank account statements, asset statements, and a list of any other real estate holdings. You’ll fill out a loan application, and the lender will go to work getting you pre-approved for your home loan. Be aware that once you get that pre-approval, you’ll need to get the ball rolling, as most loan pre-approvals are typically good for 60 to 90 days. Also make sure not to do anything that could jeopardize that approval, like opening up a new credit card, making a large purchase, or changing jobs.

If you’re ready to get down to business and buy right now, it’s best to go ahead and get pre-approved. Skipping the pre-qual process completely can help you get to the closing table much faster. But if you’d rather take your time and wait for that perfect home to come on the market before pulling the trigger, pre-qualification might be the way for you to go. Always talk to your trusted lender and your real estate agent for the best advice tailored to your specific situation.  

Friday Five // January 18th, 2019

It’s Friday once again—yay!—which means it’s time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening around the Charleston area throughout the weekend. Enjoy local eats, see a family-friendly movie with a special guest, celebrate a historic birthday, and more. Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend!

Beginning this Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 10am, the Taste of Folly street festival showcases everything Folly with an emphasis on its eclectic culinary scene. Festivities kick off Friday night with the Cannon Distillery Cocktail Competition, featuring craft cocktails from various establishments. The competition takes place at Tides Beach. Admission is $20 in advance or $25 at the door and includes a 5 oz. sample of each cocktail. Taste all the yummy offerings and vote for your favorite! The street festival portion takes place on Saturday from 10am until 4pm. Folly restaurants will take to Center Street to serve up their best dishes and participate in live cooking demonstrations throughout the day. The street festival will also feature drink specials, an oyster shucking contest, a hot dog eating contest, a chili cook-off, server olympics, live music from local musicians on three stages, and a fun kids’ area. Admission to the street festival portion of the Taste of Folly is $5. Folly residents and kids under the age of 12 get in free.

The first Charleston Restaurant Week of 2019 wraps up this Sunday, but you still have time to take advantage of all the amazing special deals throughout the weekend! Restaurant week is the perfect time to try out all those eateries you’ve always wanted to try but were maybe out of your budget. More than 80 participating restaurants offer prix fixe menus, discounted prices, and other specials during the event. For example, reserve a table at Charleston faves 82 Queen or Poogan’s Porch and enjoy a three-course dinner for $35.

This Saturday is the 210th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the celebrated American writer who served time in the military right here in Charleston. What better way to celebrate than with a birthday party at Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island? Head out to Poe’s for lunch or dinner and enjoy some of the yummiest fish tacos, burgers, and fries the area has to offer. The celebration will be complete with balloons and birthday cake to be cut at noon and 7:30pm.

Head to Mellow Mushroom’s Avondale location (19 Magnolia Road) for their monthly Mellow Matinee this Saturday from 11am until 1pm. Once a month, Mellow Mushroom shows a family-friendly movie with the sound on while kiddos enjoy $5 kids meals and adults sip $2 mimosas and $4 Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pilsner. The restaurant’s full menu is also available at regular prices. This month’s movie is the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. As a special bonus, Princess Belle herself will be available for an enchanting meet and greet!

On Sunday afternoon, the sixth annual East Cooper Meals on Wheels Oyster Roast, presented by Crews Subaru of Charleston, will be held at Palmetto Island County Park in Mt. Pleasant. The oyster roast is a family-friendly event with plenty of oysters, barbecue, live music, a bounce house, and many other activities for the family. Enjoy music from The Shakin Martinis Band while you shuck oysters and chow down on barbecue and hot dogs. Tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for non-oyster eaters, and $10 for children ages 5-12. Guests are also required to pay the $2/person park admission fee.

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