How-To Tuesday: Prioritize Your Home Projects

If you’re anything like us, you tend to get overwhelmed by your growing list of home projects every now and then. This can especially be a problem at this time of year, when we’re embracing all things spring, including projects like deep cleaning, putting away cold-weather clothes and gear, and planting gardens. We’ll be the first to admit that when our to-do lists seem about a mile long, we start to feel overwhelmed and consider heading out for a beach day instead. If this sounds like you, it might be time to figure out how to prioritize your home projects.

Consider Function First

The most important projects to address first are those that have to do with function over form. Take a look at your list and put a star next to the projects that will make your life a little easier once they’re completed. For instance, have you been meaning to hang some wall hooks to hold your keys, your jacket, and the dog’s leash? Do you need to build some shelves for more storage in your closet? Try to complete projects that serve a purpose first.

Think About First Impressions

If you don’t have time for a whole-house redo, concentrate on the things that make a first impression when someone walks into your home. Are your front door and porch or stoop in good shape? Is your entryway warm, inviting, and functional? The next time you walk through your own front door, try to look at it with an unbiased eye and see what areas could use some improvement.

Go For Lowest-Cost/Highest-Impact Projects

The next category you tackle should be the projects that make the highest impact and cost the least. For example, painting a room makes a huge impact and can really change things up. When you consider the cost of a couple of cans of paint and some brushes, you get a lot of bang for your buck. The same goes for trim. A subtle, inexpensive change like adding crown molding or expanding your baseboards creates one of those “can’t quite put my finger on it” changes that somehow always gets noticed.

Focus on One Thing

When you feel overwhelmed, or even when your budget constraints are keeping you from achieving everything you want to achieve, just choose one thing to focus on for the time being. That one thing could be repainting all the trim in your house, or it might be something as simple as finding the perfect piece of artwork for that awkward wall that’s always bothered you. Zero in on your one thing, and when it’s done, it’ll feel so good to put a check next to it on your list!


Friday Five // April 26th, 2019

It’s Friday once again, which means it’s time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening in the Lowcountry this weekend. Chow down on some wings, take in a family-friendly movie in the park, crawl King Street dressed as your favorite Game of Thrones character, and more. No matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend!

On Friday evening from 8pm until 11pm, join the Summerville Parks & Recreation Department at Gahagan Park for their first free outdoor Movies in the Park night of the season. This family-friendly event sponsored by Summerville Medical Center is perfect for everyone, so grab your blankets and/or chairs and join in the fun! This week’s movie is Incredibles 2 and will start at dusk. Grab some food and treats from Miracles Tasty Express, Palmetto Sun Kettle Corn, and Kool Katz Italian Ice and kick off the weekend with a little relaxation and fun for the whole family.

If you love chicken wings, the Visitor Center Bus Shed is the place to be this Friday evening from 7pm until 10pm for Lowcountry Wingapalooza. Pay one admission price and eat chicken wings from some of the Charleston area’s finest poultry-preparing establishments, including Burton’s Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dog and Duck Family Pubs, Two Keys Tavern, Bitsnbytes Food Truck, Smoke BBQ, Charleston Beer Works, and more. Your ticket includes entrance to the event, a sampling of each wing restaurant in attendance, and the ability to vote for your favorite. Enjoy wings, vendors, live music, ice cold beer, and cocktails (alcohol sold separately). This event is family-friendly and open to all ages. Get your tickets in advance for $22 or at the door for $27.

Runners of all ages will have a ball this Saturday at the Exchange Park in Ladson at the Insane Inflatable 5K, a fun and dynamic 5K with 11 of the world’s largest custom inflatable obstacles ever created. The course will challenge you, surprise you, and leave you bouncing back for more. Even those who aren’t regular runners will love this 5K fun run! New this year, kids ages 5 to 11 can run, jump, and slide their way through their own 1-mile Krazy Kids Inflatable Fun Run course. Find more info and register at the link above.

Brace yourselves—a bar crawl is coming! Whether you support the Starks, the Targaryens, the Lannisters, or you just “drink and know things,” The Brick is the place to be this Saturday to check in for the Crawl of Thrones, a King Street bar crawl with a Game of Thrones theme. Rally your bannermen and women and don your best GoT costume (not required). Check in between 3pm and 6pm at The Brick to pick up your scorecards and swag, then crawl to the other participating bars at your own pace, enjoying drink specials and getting your card marked at each bar. Note: drinking is not required to participate, especially for designated drivers! Simply show up to each spot and have your scorecard marked. Check the link above for tickets and more information.

Start your Sunday Funday off right with Sunday Brunch in Hampton Park from 11am until 2pm, hosted by Charleston Parks Conservancy. Bring your chairs and blankets and relax at the newly renovated Rose Pavilion while you enjoy bluegrass music by The Bluestone Ramblers. Local food trucks Kickin’ Chicken, Holy City Waffles, and The Pita Stroller will have delicious food available while Independent Grounds Coffee House supplies the coffee and MIX Bartending serves up beer, wine, and mimosas. Please note that coolers and pets are not allowed at this event. Get your tickets in advance for $10 or at the door for $15. Admission is free for children ages 12 and under.


8 Things Every New Homeowner Needs

There are so many things to think about when you’re buying a new home, especially when you’re a first-time homeowner. In the time leading up to closing day and moving day, you’re going to be pretty busy with major decisions and important tasks, which makes it easy to forget about the little things. Some essentials tend to be forgotten, and when a glass breaks on move-in day, for example, you’re stuck cleaning up the mess without a broom in sight! With this in mind, we’ve put together a short list of some things every new homeowner needs. Keep in mind that this is by no means a comprehensive list, but just some of the things we find new homeowners forgetting about in the hustle and bustle.

A Plunger and a Drain Snake

As a new homeowner, your first instinct when something goes wrong might still be to call the landlord…but then you realize you no longer have one. One of your first minor purchases when you move into your new home should be a toilet plunger and/or a drain snake. The last thing you want is to be caught without one of these tools when a toilet overflows or a drain is clogged.

Household Tool Kit

Every homeowner needs a basic household tool kit on hand at all times. After all, how will you hang all that cool artwork you bought for your new place without a hammer and some nails? You can find some great basic kits at Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, and even Amazon. Make sure the kit comes with essentials like a cordless drill and bits; a utility knife; a claw hammer; a tape measure; screwdrivers (both flat head and Phillips head, preferably in a couple of different sizes); a small assortment of pliers; a level; vice grips; an assortment of nails and screws; wire cutters; pencils and/or chalk; masking or painter’s tape; packing tape; a putty knife; a paint can key; glues (wood, super, and basic white glues are all good to have on hand); and solvents like Goo Gone.

Fire Extinguisher(s)

We could throw any number of old adages about always being prepared at you on this one, but we’ll spare you the lecture. Let’s just say that each and every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. If your home has multiple stories, it’s best to have one on each floor.

Window Coverings

This is one that often gets forgotten on move-in day. Many homes—especially new construction homes—don’t come with any window coverings, and it’s easy to forget that detail until night falls and you realize everyone can see right inside your home. Don’t forget to measure windows ahead of time and grab a few sets of blinds, shades, or curtains for a little privacy on your first night in your new home.

An Emergency Fund

We can’t stress enough how important it is for homeowners to have an emergency fund set up at all times. You never know what might happen and whether or not your homeowner's insurance will cover it. Having an emergency hand can really save your hide in the event of major repairs or life circumstances like illness or a job loss. We know—you just dropped an awful lot of cash on your down payment and other closing costs. As long as you save a little to put toward your emergency fund each month, you should find it built up in no time.

Furniture Dolly

If you choose to do your own packing and hauling on moving day, a furniture dolly will be incredibly helpful. But don’t think you won’t get much use out of it beyond that. Break it out anytime you need to move something heavy or whenever you need to help a friend move in the future.

A Wet/Dry Vacuum

Whether you think you need a wet/dry vacuum or not, you’ll get more use out of one than you might think. It will come in handy when you’re vacuuming out the car, cleaning up dog messes, picking up sawdust or other debris from DIY projects, cleaning up after a water leak or toilet overflow, and more. Get something like a Shop-Vac. You’ll thank us later.

Basic Cleaning Kit

Make sure you have basic cleaning essentials on hand. Assemble a kit that includes a broom, mop, bucket, dustpan, rags or paper towels, and household cleaners for that initial cleanup (and all those daily and weekly chores to come).


How-To Tuesday: Stain an Interior Concrete Floor

So you want to get rid of your old, worn-out, wall-to-wall carpeting. Good choice! But what are you going to do next? Hardwood floors can be expensive and are sometimes a pain to maintain. Laminate flooring is the next best thing, but maybe you’re just not into it. Tile can take forever to install and isn’t doesn’t exactly create a warm vibe in living rooms and bedrooms. So what else is there? How about…nothing? That’s right—there’s nothing to say you absolutely must replace your carpets with another type of floor covering. Why not just leave the concrete subfloor bare? Concrete floors have become very popular in homes everywhere. They’re low-maintenance, highly customizable, and can work with pretty much any style of decor. The only problem is that “as is,” bare concrete isn’t all that nice to look at. Luckily, staining concrete floors is a relatively easy process, and we’re here to tell you how to do it!

1. Decide what type of stain you want to use: acid-based or water-based.

Water-Based Stains

You can get almost any color with water-based stains, and since they don’t interact with the concrete like acid-based stains do, the color will stay consistent. Water-based stains are easier to apply and clean up, and they’re not toxic. The stain adheres pretty quickly, so if you make a mistake it can be challenging to fix. There are certain situations that dictate a need to use a water-based stain instead of acid-based:

*There are stains like oil or grease that you can’t remove.

*The concrete has already been cleaned with acid.

*The concrete was sealed during installation. The sealer must be removed before staining.

Acid-Based Stains

Your color choices will be more limited with acid-based stains. They typically come in earth tones and are translucent, allowing variations in the concrete to show through. In fact, acid-based stains often take on a more natural look that mimics wood or stone. Acid-based stains usually last longer than water-based stains and won’t fade, peel, or chip. This makes acid-based the best choice for high-traffic areas.

2. Gather your tools and materials.

For this project you will need:

Airless Paint Sprayer


Paint Roller and Extension Pole

Painter’s Tape

Plastic Sheeting


Safety Glasses


Shop Vacuum

Work Gloves

Masonry Sealer

Concrete Stain


Floor Cleaner

Liquid Wax

3. Prep your work area.

Some prep work is required to ensure that you get the best coverage possible from your concrete stain. Remove all furniture, rugs, and accessories from the room, and clean the concrete thoroughly with a regular floor cleaner. You may need to use degreasers, paint remover, or mastic remover if needed. Take artwork and mirrors off the walls just in case. It’s also a good idea to remove baseboards.

4. Sand the surface.

Using a sander, polish away any rough spots and sand the concrete down to create an even surface. If the concrete you’re staining is new, you can skip this step. (Note, however, that it should be at least one month old before staining.) Use a shop vacuum to clean up the dust and debris from sanding. Next, repair any cracks or pits with concrete sealant and a putty knife.

5. Protect the walls.

Use plastic sheeting and painter’s tape to prevent any stain from getting on the walls. Cover walls from the bottom and up to about two feet.

6. Apply the stain.

Water-Based Stain

  • Test a sample in an inconspicuous area to see how many coats you’ll need to apply for the desired color and effect. Once you’ve figured that out, pour your water-based stain into a handheld airless sprayer. Spray evenly across the floor in a circular motion, being careful not to let the stain puddle in any one area. If it does puddle, just wipe it up with a clean cloth before it dries. Let the first coat dry, then add additional coats as needed.
  • Let the stain dry completely, and wait at least 24 hours before applying the sealer. Once the waiting time is up, use a paint roller with an extension pole to roll the sealant evenly over the floor. Use a synthetic roller for the smoothest application and finish.
  • After the sealant is dry, it’s a good idea to wax the surface. This enhances the color and allows the stain to last longer. If you don’t like a glossy surface, use a wax with a matte finish. Pour liquid wax for residential use into a spray bottle and spray small surfaces at a time. Using a mop with a microfiber pad, spread the sprayed-on wax in a circular motion. Repeat until the room is finished. You’ll need to reapply wax to your concrete floor about once a year, depending on how much traffic the room gets.
  • Allow the floor to dry completely before walking on it or returning baseboards and furniture to the room.

Acid-Based Stain

  • Please be aware that acid-based stain is toxic, so you’ll need to use extra care when applying it. Use protective eyewear, clothing, and footwear as well as a respirator. Always mix the stain outdoors, and make sure there’s plenty of ventilation in the room while you stain the floors.
  • Again, test a small, inconspicuous area to determine how many coats you’ll need. Then pour the stain into a handheld airless sprayer that’s primarily plastic (the acid will corrode any metal parts).
  • Spray the stain evenly over the floor. Have someone follow behind you with a broom working the stain into the floor to help create a more consistent finish. Allow the first coat to dry before applying a second coat.  
  • Once the stain is dry, acid residue must be removed before you can apply the sealer. Create a neutralizer pouring four parts water to one part ammonia into a spray bottle. Spray the floor and allow it to dry, then mop the floor with clean water. Use a shop vacuum to clean up excess water, and allow the floor to dry overnight.
  • After the neutralizer has dried, apply the sealer. Just like with the water-based stain, use a synthetic paint roller with an extension pole to apply the sealant to the floor. Apply two coats. Make sure the floor is completely dry before walking on it or moving furniture and baseboards back into the room.

Enjoy your newly stained concrete floors!

House Hunting Deal Breakers

Everyone has that certain deal breaker that shuts down a date, a business deal, or a major purchase faster than you can say, “Thank you, next.” House hunting is no different. There are several red flags you should be on the lookout for when searching for your next home. They’re cues that you should either walk away or do some major negotiating and prepare to deal with a hassle. Unless we’re getting a major, can’t-pass-it-up deal on the home, we prefer to chalk the following up as deal breakers and call it a day.

Flood Risk

Purchasing a home in the Lowcountry can come with a threat of flooding. It’s the risk you take on when you buy a home on or near the water. Most real estate agents will be sure to make notes in the listing information if a home is in a flood zone, but double check for yourself at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood map database. You might find yourself paying a hefty premium for flood insurance, which will usually be a requirement if the house is located in a flood plain, not to mention the turmoil of dealing with cleanup and repairs after a flood happens.

Suspicious Odors or Stains

If the first thing you notice when you walk into a house is a foul odor, consider it a huge red flag. A strong pet or cigarette smell might not indicate that there’s something wrong with the house, but it might mean you’ll spend a lot of time and money trying to get rid of the odor. If you get a whiff of a mildewy smell, you should absolutely have a professional take a closer look. Check for water stains on ceilings or around baseboards. Even if there’s not currently a leak in the house, water damage from previous issues could have caused mold or mildew growth.

An Old Heating System

Depending on how well it’s been maintained and the quality of the unit, the average lifespan of a heating system is 15 to 20 years. Ask the owner or real estate agent how old the current system is and inspect it for yourself. Some warning signs are strange noises like banging, grinding or squealing; moisture, cracks, or corrosion on or around the unit; inconsistent temperature; and unreasonable fluctuations in utility bills.

Undisclosed Structural Issues

The law requires home sellers to disclose any and all known structural issues. Unfortunately, there are some not-so-honest sellers out there who might omit certain known issues and claim ignorance when they pop up on the inspection report. If your home inspector does find one or more big issues that weren’t previously disclosed by the seller, consider it a major red flag. If the seller failed to report an obvious and major structural problem, what else have they not told you about the house?

An Overpriced Property

Even if the property you’re considering making an offer on has a price that fits your budget, it’s important to ask your Realtor® about the home’s fair market value. No matter how much you fall in love with a certain home, paying more than it’s worth isn’t the smartest move. If the seller insists that the home is worth more than its fair market value and refuses to budge on the listing price, it’s time to walk away.

Below Average School District

Unless you work in the school system or have other means of choosing where your children go to school, a bad school district should be a big-time deal breaker. Finding this information will be up to you as the buyer since agents aren’t supposed to give this sort of information out. They can direct you to websites that will tell you all about school performance, but other than that, you’ll have to do your own research and talk to neighbors. Even if you don’t have children and don’t plan to in the future, be aware that the school district your neighborhood is in can have an impact on the resale value of your home in the future.

A Floor Plan That Doesn’t Work for You

Unless you’re willing to take on a major construction project and invest even more money in a house, consider a floor plan that doesn’t work for you and your family a deal breaker. It’s perfectly fine to look past pretty much any cosmetic issues a house may have, but you should definitely be pickier when it comes to the bones of the house. Your ideal home should have the right number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and enough square footage to fit your family.





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