Friday Five // December 18th, 2020

It’s Friday once again—and only a week until Christmas! That means it’s time for our Holly Jolly edition of the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events taking place in the Charleston area over the weekend. Explore an illuminated forest, go on a hunt for Santa’s lost reindeer, shop a local holiday market, and more. And as always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a very happy and safe weekend!

Dragon Boat Charleston and Explore Charleston have collaborated on the Festival of Trees to benefit cancer patients and survivors this holiday season. Together they’ve turned the Charleston ARea Visitor and Reception Center into a winter wonderland adorned with themed Christmas trees! Each tree has been adopted by an area business or philanthropist and decorated in honor or memory of someone who has battled cancer. The public may bid and vote on the trees in a silent-auction format. The first annual Festival of Trees begins this Friday and runs through January 5th, 2021. Head to the link above to register, bid, or view the trees before the event.

It looks like Santa’s reindeer have come down south to spread a little holiday cheer before the big night next week. They’re hiding out at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, and it’s up to you and your family to find them at the Children’s Reindeer Walk and Holiday Fest this Saturday! Start in the Conservatory and make your way across the red bridge as you search for Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and all the rest… Each reindeer you find will have a fun holiday activity ready and waiting for you. Finish you hunt in the Holiday Village in the Children’s Garden, where Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph will be waiting for your report on where their trusty reindeer are hiding. If that’s not enough, there will be juggling elves, candy cane stilt walkers, balloon twisters, live music, visits with Elsa and Anna, and more! The Reindeer Walk begins at 11am, and the festivities in the Holiday Village will take place between 11am and 3pm. This event is free with paid garden admission. Bring a canned food to donate to the Lowcountry Food Bank and receive a BOGO admission.

Head to Park Circle on Saturday for the 6th Annual Holy City Holiday Market, held outdoors on the lawn at Holy City Brewing. Fifty vendors will be on hand to help you find the perfect last-minute gifts for your loved ones. The market opens to the public at noon and closes at 5pm. This is a rain or shine event. Shoppers must wear masks and practice physical distancing while attending the holiday market. Vendor booths will be spaced with plenty of room for shoppers to feel comfortable. Shop small and local at this market, which features vendors such as SheSells Candles, Pet Wants Lowcountry, Charleston Map Jewelry, Rachel DuBose Art, Mabel Mae’s Bakery, Patch Whiskey, Chucktown Acres, and many more! 

For something a little different this holiday season, check out Illuminated at the Woodlands Nature Reserve this Saturday. Enter the forest of the reserve for a drive-up celebration of light. Park your vehicle and enjoy an optional stroll through illuminated majestic oaks and longleaf pines. Observation Lake is where the real magic will happen, with laser projection and dynamic lights on the trees and across the water. Cozy up around a campfire and enjoy live music while you feast on popcorn, s’mores, and hot chocolate available for purchase. Admission is available in advance for $15 or $20 at the gate. Admission is included if you book an overnight stay. 

Come out and SEA the Magic of the Holidays at the South Carolina Aquarium! From festive photo-ops and visits with Santa to holiday-themed animal enrichment and more, there’s something fun for everyone at the aquarium. Stop by Santa’s mailbox to drop off your letter to the big guy. Find fun, festive photo stations to take selfies and group pictures. Feed Santa’s “RAYndeer” (cownose rays) daily from 10:15am until 4pm by purchasing a ray-feeding voucher for $5 at the admission gate or information desk. Be on the lookout for other animals enjoying holiday decor in their environments, snacking on special holiday fish pops, or get a chance to meet a critter up close! Masks are required at the aquarium at all times, even for Santa in his specially designed safety sleigh.

Friday Five // December 4th, 2020

It’s Friday once again (with only 20 shopping days left until Christmas, if you needed a reminder), and you know what that means! It’s time for another round of the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun things to do in the Charleston area this weekend. Take a tour of a festive, candlelit historic home, learn how to do holiday watercolor art, visit a holiday market, and more. As always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a very happy and safe weekend!

Enjoy a special holiday-themed event this Friday at the Edmonston-Alston house with Christmas on the Battery: Carols, Candlelight, & Gullah Christmas Stories. Tour the festively decorated house by candlelight as you are serenaded by the Charleston Caroling Company. Then warm up with a glass of wine or hot cider in the courtyard, where local storyteller Fouché Sheppard will perform Gullah Christmas stories. This event will follow CDC guidelines for social distancing, and masks are required inside the house. Tour groups will be made up of ten guests in order of arrival within each time block. This event takes place from 5pm until 8pm. Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for non-members.

Take a Candlelight Tour of Drayton Hall this Friday or Saturday beginning at 6pm. This beautiful and moving 18th century house is the oldest untouched home open to the public in the United States. For the first time, Drayton Hall will be open for evening public tours during the holiday season. Experience Drayton at night and get a small taste of what it might have been like to dwell inside a colonial home at night during actual colonial times. Afterward, warm up with a cup of spiced cider as you stroll back to the Visitors Center and the Shop at Drayton Hall. Tours are conducted via audio broadcast. Pre-registration is required in order to ensure Covid-19 safety guidelines. Cost is $45 for non-members and $40 for members.

Glass Slipper Productions is hosting a Winter Wonderland at Boone Hall Farms this Saturday from 10am until 5pm. There will be a socially distanced Santa Claus and sleigh, special appearances from Anna and Elsa, Jessie from Toy Story, and Spiderman, and baby goats! Anna and Elsa appearances will take place from 11am until 1pm, and Jessie and Spiderman will be visiting from 2pm until 4pm, so plan accordingly! There will also be a fire pit with s’mores, food trucks, and a small showcase of local vendors. The Winter Wonderland is also a dropoff location for Toys for Tots, so bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate if you can. Bring the whole family to see Santa, spend some time in the beautiful outdoors, and pick out the perfect Christmas tree. Admission is $5 per person, and if you decide to purchase a Christmas tree, $5 will be applied to that purchase. See you at the Winter Wonderland farm! 

Gather your most creative friends and fam and join Sister Moon Studio at Miller Gallery this Sunday for a Watercolor Holiday Wreaths Workshop. Learn how to paint gorgeous holiday wreaths in watercolors using the studio’s simple approach and meet new friends all in one festive evening. This workshop includes an intro to watercolor basics, step-by-step instruction for painting evergreen botanicals like holly berries and pine, plenty of practice time to perfect your greenery painting, 4-6 finished mini wreaths, holiday cards, and/or gift tags, and tons of fun and creative ideas for using your new festiva painting skills! Masks are required at all times during this workshop, except for taking a sip of your beverage while seated. Covid-19 preventive measures include social distancing of six feet between seats and participants, disinfecting of all equipment before use, and hand sanitizer stations. 

The Charleston Holiday Market in Marion Square is back for the holiday season, operating on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am until 3pm this Saturday, December 5th through December 20th. Come out and get all your Christmas shopping done at this local, homemade, handmade, Charleston favorite one-stop holiday shop. Shop farm products, packaged food vendors, artisans, crafters, and more. Covid protocols will be in place at the markets, including additional spacing between vendors, hand-washing/sanitizing stations, and the requirement that all vendors and patrons wear masks and maintain physical distancing throughout the events. Receive FREE parking for two hours in participating garages from now until January 1st, 2021, with the Holiday Magic in Historic Charleston parking voucher. Click here to download your voucher!

What You Should NEVER Do When Buying a House

"Never say never," the old adage goes. Sure, it applies to lots of things in life, but not necessarily buying and selling real estate. When you’re on the hunt for a new home, there are some things you actually should keep on your no-no list. Let’s take a look at a few circumstances where “never” is a positive thing.

Never house hunt without an agent. Go ahead and start browsing homes for sale online to get the lay of the land. But when it’s time to get serious, seek out a professional. They’ll guide you through every step of the process and work for YOU. Don’t think for a moment that buying a home without an agent will save you money. The seller has already agreed with their listing agent to pay a certain percentage of commission. They might offer you a “deal” if you work without a buyer’s agent, but that scenario most likely won’t work out in your best interest if you don’t have representation.

Never settle for the first mortgage lender you speak with. This can be a HUGE mistake. Get quotes from at least three lenders. If the first one you contacted happens to be the best fit of the group, then by all means, go with them! Just make sure to compare and contrast first to make sure you’re working with the absolute best lender you can find.

Never hold out for the “perfect” house. There’s no such thing as the perfect house (if there is, it’s most likely out of the average price range). But it’s completely possible to find the perfect house for you. Make a list of musts, wants, and nice-to-haves. Seek out a house that checks the most boxes and feels like it could be home. After all, the more you can personalize a house after you buy it, the more it will feel like it’s truly yours!

Never forget to budget for closing costs. The seller might chip in if your offer is strong, but you’ll be responsible for the majority of your closing costs. Expect to pay anywhere from 2-7% of the purchase price. 

Never make big purchases before you close on your new home. Your credit and debt-to-income ratio should not change at all during the homebuying process. Any little change could affect your interest rate or even reverse your approval. The last thing you want is for the deal to fall through at the very last minute because you jumped the gun and bought new furniture for a house you can’t even buy now.

Never quit or change jobs before closing day. Anything that affects the stability of your income while you wait for closing day is a big ol’ no-no. As we said above, any change can be a red flag for your lender. Quitting a job, switching from salary to commission, becoming a contractor, or switching to a new job that can’t produce pay stubs quickly enough could be detrimental to the loan process.

Never change banks during the loan process. Lenders verify all of your information and finances in the beginning, but they also re-verify everything just before closing day. Changing banks during the loan process equals more paperwork, more verification, and more time wasted.

Never let your emotions get in the way. Buying a house is a big deal. It can be an emotional, sometimes overwhelming process, and that’s perfectly okay. But don’t let your emotions run so high that they get the better of you. Remember that nothing is set in stone until the papers are signed and the keys are handed over. Everything is negotiable, and it will all work out in the end!

There are many instances in life where you should never say never, but these are the dealbreakers when it comes to buying a house. Beware these pitfalls, and it should be smooth sailing to closing day!


Friday Five // November 27th, 2020

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It’s Friday once again, which means it’s time for another edition of the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events taking place in the Charleston area this weekend. Kick off the Christmas season with lots of holiday fun! Shop a holiday market, attend a Christmas festival, meet some new and interesting people, and more. As always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company hope you have a very happy and safe weekend!

Small Business Saturday is tomorrow, and what better way to support small, local businesses and vendors than at  the Summerville Holiday Farmers Market? This special edition of the farmers market marks the last of the 2020 season, so don your most Christmas-y outfit and get out to shop local from 8am until 1pm. This will be the perfect place to buy holiday treats like cookies, canned goods, pork rinds, coffee, paintings, baby clothes, leather art, candles, one-of-a-kind sweetgrass art, and so much more! The market features artisan, specialty food and farmer/grower vendors. Please be sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Join Awesome Events Charleston this Saturday morning for a Waterfront Walk + Swig & Swine BBQ. Meet under the gazebo at White Point Garden (aka The Battery) at 9am. Meet new people, breathe fresh air, and experience new things on a walk along the waterfront from the Battery to Market Street to check out the offerings there. Then walk back to your vehicle for the drive to Swig & Swine in West Ashley. Note that the walking portion of the day will equal about three miles, and plan accordingly. This event is open to literally anyone of any age, interest, and background. What a great way to meet interesting new people! There’s no cost to attend, but of course you’ll pay for anything you buy. Come alone or bring a friend or two. Just arrive on time and be ready for a fun day.

Find the most perfect Christmas tree for your home at the West Ashley Optimist Club’s Annual Tree Lot, which opens this weekend! This local tree lot, located at the St. Andrew’s Parks and Playground in West Ashley, is the Optimist Club’s only fundraiser, raising money for all the programs they host throughout the year. Some of their programs include the Essay and Oratorical Contest, Youth Appreciation, Childhood Cancer, Respect for Law, and scholarships. One hundred percent of the proceeds go right back into the club’s programs, which bring out the very best in Charleston’s youth. Please wear your mask while at the tree lot. You can pay with cash, check, or credit cards (cards have a 3% processing fee).

Hometown Roots Farm in Summerville hosts the Carolina Christmas Festival each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from now until December 20th. There will be a Polar Express Kiddie Barrel Train Ride, farm animals, toy penguin race, milk-a-cow, sand pit with ride-on digger, climb-on tractor, letters to Santa, Christmas crafts, decorations, lights, music, and more. Other events you can add on to your base ticket include Santa & Holiday Characters, cookie decorating, laser tag, marshmallows kit, S’mores kit, hot dog kit, and Breakfast with Santa on Sundays. There will also be food trucks and concessions onsite. Participate in the weekly Give Back to the Lowcountry by bringing a canned good, pet supply, or children’s toy, book, or DVD, and receive $1 off admission per person. Funds raised through the festivals at Hometown Roots Farm go directly back into crop production. Get tickets at the link above!

Head to Gallery 26, The Vendue Art Hotel in downtown Charleston this weekend for your last chance to see Inspirational Journey, a juried art exhibit featuring fifty works by thirty female artists. This exhibition is held in honor of Pat Conroy, his writing, and his community service, in partnership with the SC Chapter of the National Association of Women Artists and the Pat Conroy Literary Center. In this NAWA SC sponsored exhibition, participants reveal what inspires them to create, to paint, to photograph, and to sculpt. In some way, each work of art was influenced by Pat Conroy’s extraordinary life and his fictional characters.

Friday Five // November 13th, 2020

It’s Friday once again! We’re back this week with the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events taking place in the Charleston area this weekend. Attend a trivia pub crawl, dance outdoors to live music, join in some Steeplechase fun, and more! As always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend!

Head on down to The Joe on Friday evening for a socially distanced Friday the 13th Mask-Querade Party hosted by the Charleston RiverDogs and Be a Mentor! Enjoy hot dogs, popcorn, hot chocolate, and a spooky scavenger hunt! The event takes place from 6pm until 8:30pm in the RiverDogs parking lot at 360 Fishburne Street. Bring a blanket, chair, or towel to sit on, your mask, and a mindset for fun! 

Also taking place this Friday evening is the very first Christmas on the Creek at Red’s Ice house and Tavern and Table! This is a FREE event, sponsored by Bud Light Seltzer and hosted by 103.5 WEZL and Y102.5, begins at 5pm with live music starting around 6pm. Enjoy Holiday tunes played for you by Parmalee, Runaway June, and the Lowcountry’s very own Eddie Bush. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place to allow guests to safely and responsibly enjoy this fun evening of Holiday music. If you’d like, you can even snag a Christmas COVID-19 mask thanks to Uncle Kyle’s Sweater Emporium, which proceeds going to the Summerville Miracle League.

If it’s too soon for Christmas activities for you, there’s a Friendsgiving Trivia Pub Crawl on Saturday from 3pm until 9pm, hosted by It’s a Pub Crawl Thing. Start the crawl by checking in at Mynt between 3pm and 5pm. You can purchase tickets at the link above, and then check in with your QR code on the day of the pub crawl to receive your swag and trivia rules. The wristband you receive at check-in is your “ticket” to discounted drinks at each stop. There’s over $15,000 in trivia cash and prizes up for grabs, so brush up on your Friends knowledge now! General Admission includes a wristband, cup, and koozie. VIP tickets include a wristband free shirt, lanyard, koozie, and cup. 

We may not have experienced much in the way of autumn weather so far this year, but we can still have a fall celebration! Return of the Mac Presents a Day at Magnolia this Saturday at noon. Spread out your blankets and beach chairs on the Carriage House Lawn along the Ashley River or get up on your feet and dance along to live contemporary pop music from Return of the Mac. Enjoy the music from noon until 3pm, and purchase food from Gilligan’s Food Truck and Charleston Pops. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase at the Peacock Café while supplies last. The concert is free with garden admission. Anyone who brings canned food to benefit the Lowcountry Food Bank gets buy-one-get-one admission.

The Steeplechase of Charleston, a family-friendly Charleston tradition that began in 1792, takes place this Sunday from 10am until 6pm. Rooted deeply in southern heritage, Steeplechase of Charleston is a National Steeplechase Association sanctioned race. It will feature six high-stakes races with coveted titles on the line. Dress in your Sunday best, don your big ol’ hats and bow ties, and we’ll see you at the races. Get your tickets at the link above!


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