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Friday Five // November 1st, 2019

Happy November! We hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween week and you’re all ready for a brand new month full of possibilities. Let’s kick it off with this week’s Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events going on in the Charleston area throughout the weekend. Be Scottish for the weekend, check out some awesome family fun, hit up the fair, and more. As always, whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend!

Everyone can be Scottish for the weekend at the 48th Annual Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering. Organized and hosted by the Scottish Society of Charleston, the Scottish Games usually sees over 6,000 guests annually and is the second oldest event of its kind in the southeast. The Games & Gathering events kick off on Friday night with the Charleston Tartan Ball at Daniel Island Club (black tie, military mess dress, highland evening dress for men). Then join in the fun and camaraderie and watch some of the best and strongest in the games from 9am until 5pm on Saturday at Boone Hall Plantation. Saturday’s event includes athletic competitions, a pipe band championship, highland dancing, Scottish country dancing, children’s events, border collie demonstrations, and live music. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and vendors will be on hand for demonstrations and selling their wares. Be sure to grab a ticket for the Scotch Whisky Tasting during the games as well! The events wrap up with Kirkin o’ the Tartan on Sunday at First (Scots) Presbyterian Church on Meeting Street. 

The Coastal Carolina Fair is back in town for its 63rd year, and it starts this weekend! Did you know the Fair has operated continually in Charleston County since 1924? Since then, it has grown from a small county fair that served the immediate Charleston area to an operation reaching the entire Tricounty area and beyond. In 1957, the Exchange Club took ownership of the fair and grew it into the Coastal Carolina Fair, the purpose of which has always been to raise funds for charity. Since its beginning, the Exchange Club of Charleston has used funds raised at the Fair to provide millions of dollars to hundreds of charities to benefit citizens and make the Lowcountry an even better place to live and work. The Fair begins Thursday, October 31st, and runs through Sunday, November 10th. Make some time to visit and try the various delicious foods, see the quality entertainment and exhibits, and ride the thrilling, heart-pumping rides!

Join the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry for some serious family fun this Saturday at FAM JAM 2019, the Museum’s signature annual event that celebrates family and community togetherness and the power of play. Through the help of more than thirty community partners, CML will transform Marion Square into an engaging and innovative playscape. Featuring live music, entertainment, and hands-on activities, this free family festival encourages kids to move their bodies and stretch their imaginations. The event takes place from 10am until 2pm on Saturday, and all attendees receive free admission to the Children’s Museum that day to continue the fun. 

Get excited, history and architecture buffs, because the Preservation Society of Charleston’s 43rd annual Fall Tours of Homes, History, & Architecture begin this weekend. Experience Charleston’s stunning private homes, intimate gardens, and churches as you stroll through the historic city streets. The Fall Tours serve as the Society’s foremost annual fundraiser. Choose from a variety of events, including Curated Tours, Gardens Walks, and Talks; Photography Walkabout and Workshop; Haunts and Haints: Spirits Among Us; Morning History Walks and Talks; and more. Help the Preservation Society in its mission to support sustainable and responsible tourism in Charleston. Limited tickets are available and advance reservations are recommended.

This Friday evening marks the 15th year of the Friends of the Hunley Oyster Roast and Silent Auction. This event grows and becomes more popular each year, offering tons of fun, good music, and all-you-can-eat barbeque, oysters, and traditional sides. All proceeds from the oyster roast and silent auction support maritime preservation and education. The silent auction will feature weekend getaways, gift certificates, artwork, and unique experiences. The oyster roast takes place from 7pm until 10pm at the Charleston Visitor Center & Bus Shed. General admission tickets are $45.

Tips for Safe Trick-or-Treating This Halloween

With all the little ghouls, goblins, superheroes, and princesses preparing for a night of trick-or-treating fun, we thought we’d take the time to share our best tips for staying safe on Halloween night. 

Plan your route ahead of time. The excitement of Halloween can wear off quickly when arguments start over which way and how far to go. The length and location of your trick-or-treating route will vary depending on your children’s ages, of course. But it’s always a good idea to have a plan for how far you’ll go and how long you’ll stay out. Remember that little feet and legs can get tired quickly. And once that sugar high wears off, sleepy little ones can slip into meltdown mode at the drop of a witch’s hat. 

Stay in well-lit areas. If your neighborhood doesn’t have much in the way of streetlights, make sure to equip everyone in your party with flashlights. Even if you plan to go out before dusk, remember that it gets dark pretty quickly these days. Adding a little reflective tape or clip-on lights to costumes, trick-or-treat bags, and shoes is always helpful as well.

Choose a route with plenty of sidewalks. It’s always safer to stick to the sidewalk than to walk in the street. Not everyone is considerate of or patient with trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, Halloween night is one of those times when less responsible people might be driving under the influence. Anything you can do to avoid walking on neighborhood streets is good! You can never be too careful when it comes to your children’s safety. 

Trick-or-treat in groups. It’s always safer to do things in groups, and trick-or-treating is more fun with friends anyway! Adults can chat and have fun while also helping look out for each other’s kiddos. If older kids would rather go out on their own, make sure they’re going with a trusted group of friends who understand and obey rules meant to keep them safe. 

Never go inside a stranger’s home. Some Halloween enthusiasts go all out with festive activities and haunted houses. That’s all well and good if you know your neighbors well, but it’s better not to enter a stranger’s home. Make sure children understand that they should only approach houses with lights on, and they should never enter someone else’ home without a parent or guardian. 

Make sure costumes fit well. Costumes should be an appropriate length to prevent tripping. Accessories and props should be flexible and soft to help avoid hurting anyone by accident. If anyone is wearing a mask, make sure they can see and breathe well. Use makeup instead of masks if possible.

Wear comfortable shoes. This might be difficult with some costumes—especially for excited kids who want their costumes to look authentic—but good walking shoes or sneakers are the best choice for trick-or-treating. If your child insists on wearing “fancy” shoes with their costume, bring along a pair of tennis shoes for when their feet start to get tired or blistered. 

Inspect candy before eating. We know it’s incredibly tempting to sneak a few pieces of candy along the way, but it’s better to wait. Candy should be inspected by a parent or guardian before the kiddos dig in. Only accept pre-wrapped candy from people you don’t know very well, and be sure the wrappers haven’t been tampered with in any way. Homemade treats are lovely, but the sad truth is that there’s no way to be absolutely sure they’re safe to consume. Also take your child’s age into consideration when sorting through their loot; some candies or toys could be choking hazards for small children.

Friday Five // October 25th, 2019

It’s Friday once again, which means it’s time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening around the Lowcountry this weekend. Do a little trick-or-treating, attend a royal ball, exercise your mind and body at once, and more. Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a very happy and safe weekend!

The 2019 James Island Connector Run (JICR) takes place on Saturday morning, with races starting at 8:30am. The Connector Run provides runners and walkers with one of the most scenic race routes in the Southeast and one of the most challenging race courses in the Lowcountry. Overlooking the beautiful Ashley River and the historic downtown peninsula of Charleston, this 10K run and 5K run/walk goes across the James Island Connector. The post-race festival is held at Cannon Park and includes refreshments, music, a beer garden, and a kids’ zone. The top five male and female finishers for the 10K and 5K runs will receive cash awards.

Dress up your little witches, goblins, superheroes, and princesses and bring them to the Tanger Outlets in North Charleston for the Tanger SPOOKtacular! This free, family-friendly event takes place on Saturday from noon until 3pm. Children ages 12 and under can trick-or-treat while supplies last. There will also be Goblin Games, Cauldron Crafts, and a Family Costume Contest, which starts at 2pm. Prizes will be awarded for Best Family Costume (one group winner), Top 3 Most Creative Kids’ Costumes (3 winners), and Top Dog Award (best dog costume). Look for decals on entrance doors of participating stores. Masks permitted for children ages 12 and under. 

Also taking place on Saturday afternoon is the Fall Festival at Mt. Pleasant Towne Center, sponsored by Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital and Veterinary Specialty Care. Celebrate the fall season with a day of family and pet-friendly festivities. A pet costume contest, presented by Hairy Winston Pet Boutique, will benefit the Charleston Animal Society. Contest registration begins at noon with a $10 fee for each pet. Register your furry friends for Best Duo, Most Topical/Trending, Best Homemade, Best Inanimate Object, and Funniest. Human friends can enjoy trick-or-treating, hula hooping, a photo booth with King & Fields Studio, live music featuring Logan and the Kidders and Bach to Rock, arts and crafts, face-painting, caricatures, bounce houses, balloon animals, and a meet and greet with Charlie the RiverDog. Refreshing cocktails will be available for purchase from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and beer and wine from Burton’s Grill. Food and sweets will also be available from Dave N Dubs Hot Dogs, Charleston Pops, Pure Fluff Co., Clean Eatz, King of Pops, Kona Ice, Miss Katie’s Sweets, and James Brown Famous Boiled Peanuts.

Join Charleston Country Parks, Healthy Tri-County, and Charleston County Public LIbrary this Sunday at Palmetto Islands County Park for the grand opening of Storywalk. Storywalk is a path where children of all ages can combine the joy of reading with a walk in the woods, exercising both mind and body at once! Join your hosts and celebrate the opening of this fun, interactive walk with crafts, jump castles, and more. Admission is free for this event with the cost of park admission. The grand opening event takes place from 2pm until 4pm on Sunday. 

You are cordially invited to Reservoir Hall in Hanahan this Sunday afternoon for an Enchanting Royal Ball, hosted by Curiouser Entertainment. On this enchanting afternoon, you’ll enjoy a magical, fall-theme fête with favorite characters like Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Arabian Princess, Beauty, the Little Mermaid, the Frog Princess, Maleficent, and other special guests. You and your child can roast marshmallows and make s’mores y the cozy fire pit; color and decorate at the craft table; eat yummy treats and snacks at the pink candy bar; take part in singing, dancing, and games led by the princesses; and lots more. Your regular $35 ticket includes entry into the event, a goodie bag for your child to take home, downloadable photos from a professional photographer, and all Royal Ball activities, including unlimited snacks and candy. VIP tickets are $45 and include everything in the regular ticket, plus early entry into the event, a special meet and greet and photos with the princesses, and a special gift for your child to keep. Every attendee over 12 months old requires a ticket for entry. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and adults must be accompanied by a child. 

 

Friday Five // October 18th, 2019

It’s Friday once again, and you know what that means! It’s time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events taking place throughout the Lowcountry this weekend. Hit up a Halloween bash, feast on Italian food, attend a local comic convention, and more. Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a very happy and safe weekend!

Join the Town of Summerville for the first annual Truck-or-Treat Halloween Bash and Movie event this Friday evening at Gahagan Park. This evening of Halloween fun is hosted by the Summerville Parks and Recreation Department, Police Department, Fire Department and Street Department, and it’s completely free! Beginning at 4:30pm, there will be a variety of vehicles—including police and fire emergency vehicles, tractors, construction vehicles, and more—for kids to climb in and explore. Dress in your best Halloween costume and bring a bag for candy, because each participating department will be passing out candy for the kiddos! There will also be carnival games and other spooky activities. Once dusk hits, turn your attention to the big screen for a showing of the classic movie Hocus Pocus. Halloween costumes are encouraged for kids and parents alike.

If you’ve been yearning for a local comics and collectors convention right here in Charleston, you’re in luck this weekend! CharlestonCon, a collector’s mecca convention featuring fandoms of multiple genres, takes place this Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Airport from 10am until 6pm. CharlestonCon strives to be South Carolina’s best and truest comic convention to satisfy any fandom. The show will include a Dungeons & Dragons tournament; panels and seminars; cosplay contests; character meet and greets; a Super Mario Smash Bros. tournament; and more than one hundred exhibitors catering to a wide spectrum of interests like comic books, movies, anime and manga, magazines, wrestling, cosplay, toys, science fiction, artwork sketches, video games, fantasy television, and more. Be sure to check out the roster of comic industry professionals and fandom-related celebrities as well, such as Fabian Nicieza, creator of Deadpool. Admission to the event is $20, and kids under 11 get in free. Parking is free for this event.

Marvel at the flavors, fun, and foliage of the fall season with a Halloween twist this weekend at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens’ Halloween Harvest Fest. On Saturday and Sunday from 1pm until 5pm, you can browse through the pumpkin patch and choose the perfect pumpkin to carve; snack on candy apples, s’mores, apple cider, and food truck fare; enjoy live musical performances, a bonfire, a funhouse, a costume contest, and much more. Grab your costume and get ready for a fun-filled Halloween celebration at Magnolia! Attendance to the festival requires garden admission, which is $20 for adults, $10 for children, and free for children five and under. Participation requires an additional purchase of a $5 wristband for children ages 3 to 13.

Head to Hutchinson Square this Sunday for Summerville Italian Feast—a taste of the Old Country in the Lowcountry! Savor delicious, authentic Italian cuisine in the heart of downtown Summerville, as well as food of all types from the Lowcountry to tempt every taste bud. Sample as you like and enjoy Italian wine and beer. You can also feast your eyes and ears on entertainment from local artists celebrating Italian culture and heritage throughout the day. Festivities begin at 11am and end when the last grape is stomped at 6pm. Admission is free for the whole family.

Join Home Team BBQ of Charleston at their West Ashley location on Sunday for their biannual Oyster Roast and Pig Pickin’. Pair whole hog with local clusters of oysters for a shuckin’ good time, and enjoy live music from Haley Mae Campbell while you shuck, pick, dance, and drink with family and friends. The event begins at 1:30pm and ends at 6:30pm. Tickets are $25 at the door, and the regular food and drink menu will be available all day. Additional parking is available in the lot next door at the corner of Gunn + Magnolia, and the Avison Young lot just down the street. New York-born and South Carolina-raised Haley Mae Campbell’s music is a hybrid of city-slicker sass and small-town sensibilities, mixing rock-style vocals with a country-style twang. Campbell has opened for well-known acts like The Avett Brothers, Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne, and many more. 

 

Buying a Home? A Condo Might Be Your Best Option!

So you finally want to buy a house. That’s excellent! Homeownership is a big part of the American Dream, after all. But sometimes your dream includes a house that you aren’t quite ready for, whether that’s financially, logistically, or emotionally. Maybe you don’t feel like a single family home is affordable for you right now. Maybe the responsibility of owning a whole house and its plot of land sounds daunting to you (you’re just not ready to commit to a relationship with yard work!). Or maybe you travel a lot for work, and the thought of leaving an empty house for long periods of time makes you nervous. All of these are perfectly valid reasons for anyone to steer clear of homeownership, but they’re also great reasons to think about something you might not have considered yet: buying a condo.

What exactly is a condo?

If you’ve never quite grasped the idea of what a condo (short for condominium) is, think of it as an apartment that you own. In the most basic of terms, you own everything from the walls in, and everything from the exterior walls and out is taken care of by your homeowners association (HOA) or condo regime. If you’re used to apartment living, purchasing a condo is the perfect segue into homeownership.

Is it really cheaper than buying a house?

Generally speaking, buying a condo is a good bit cheaper than buying a single family home. In fact, in January of 2018, the national median price for a house in the U.S. was $241,700, but the median price for a condo was just $231,600. Take into consideration, however, that just like with single family homes, condos come in a wide variety of flavors. There are the most basic and efficient, one-bedroom, one-bath units; there are sprawling luxury condos in the city; and then there’s everything in between. One caveat: while the total purchase price for a condo will be usually less than a traditional house, keep in mind that you’ll have to factor the monthly HOA dues or regime fees into your budget. Every condo owner pays monthly dues that go into an account that pays for things like exterior maintenance and repairs, insurance covering exterior damage, trash pickup, etc. Check the details of what your dues cover before you decide that they’ll blow your budget. Some dues might include water, utilities, and even cable/internet service. 

Will I have fewer responsibilities?

Yes, you definitely have fewer responsibilities as a homeowner when you buy a condo. As we said above, you are responsible for everything from the walls inside. If you’re used to calling the landlord when something breaks, you might want to invest in a toolkit and get familiar with DIY tutorials—or put together a good list of handymen and contractors. You’ll also need to get homeowner’s insurance for the interior of your home and your belongings. The great thing is that when it comes to mowing the grass, cleaning or painting the exterior, and keeping up with general curb appeal, you won’t have to lift a finger (except to sign those checks for HOA dues). 

What else do my HOA dues cover?

Besides the necessary maintenance and repairs to the exterior of your building, HOA dues also include the awesome amenities many condos offer. A lot of condos will come with amenities like community pools, parking garages or lots, gyms, playgrounds, and tennis courts. Some even boast entertainment features like theater rooms, cafés, and coffee shops. Of course these amenities aren’t technically free; the cost of maintenance and use is included in your dues. Therefore, the more amenities your condo regime offers, the higher the monthly dues will be. 

Does living with an HOA mean I’ll have to follow strict rules? 

There’s honestly no hard and fast answer to this. The goal of any homeowners association is to retain value, keep a neighborhood or building looking nice and cohesive, and keep things safe. This means there may be strict rules about things like exterior decoration, painting, and storage or entertainment areas. For example, there may be rules that say you can’t store your bike on your patio, hang anything from the eaves, or put a doormat outside your door. Little things like this might seem annoying, but the rules are there for a reason. Most planned subdivisions will have rules and guidelines like these, condo or not.

What if I travel a lot? Is it safe to leave my home unattended? 

As with any residence, you take a chance when you leave your home empty for any long period of time. When it comes to condos, however, the HOA usually includes some type of security surveillance or patrol. And since your neighbors are extremely close by, you can always ask them to keep an eye on things when you’re away. Even better, though, is the fact that you might be able to rent your condo out when traveling for an extended period of time. HOA restrictions could possibly put the kibosh on that, but if there aren’t any specific rules against it, leasing your condo to a tenant or putting it on AirBnB is a great option for when you’re not there. 

There are lots more reasons buying a condo might suit you more than buying a single family home, but we hope we’ve provided you with enough to pique your interest. If you’re interested in homeownership, but you just aren’t sure about the level of commitment and responsibility, purchasing a condo is definitely a viable option. Feel free to reach out to one of our knowledgeable and friendly agents anytime with all of your condo vs. house questions and concerns!

 

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