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Selling During the Holidays

It may seem like a terrible idea to try to sell your home during the holiday season — but actually it’s not. While selling a home can be somewhat stressful and the holidays are super-busy for most people, there are also some major advantages to selling at this time of year: your home probably looks wonderfully inviting and cozy, with pretty decorations; lots of other people are waiting until after the holidays to put their homes on the market, thus reducing competition; and people shopping for a home during the holidays are usually very motivated and will close quickly at or near your asking price. 

So now that you’ve decided it’s a great time to put your house on the market, here are a few tips to help you attract buyers and close quickly.

  1. Create a cozy atmosphere. Especially if you’re in a cold-weather area, you will benefit from making your house warm and inviting. There are fewer hours of daylight now so make sure the rooms are well lit, and light the fireplace for added coziness.
  2. Pay attention to all five senses. Play soft classical music; put out some delicious and delicious-smelling treats with holiday napkins; scatter soft and snuggly blankets that will make prospective buyers want to hang around. The longer they stay, the more they’ll envision themselves living in your home.
  3. Decorate wisely. Usually when selling a home you’ll strip it down to the bare essentials and pack up personal items to make it easier for prospective buyers to envision their own belongings in the home. At holiday time, that conventional wisdom can go out the window. Make sure your visual presentation is festive, but don’t overdo it. Also, you’ll need to keep things more neutral and decorate on a seasonal theme, rather than being holiday-specific. Think snow scenes and pine boughs rather than Santas and menorahs.
  4. Know your market. In general, people who are homeshopping during the holidays are very motivated to buy. Some people need to close before the end of the year for tax reasons; some are looking for a bargain; some are forced to move. Many people will be relocating in January to start new jobs, such as military families or college professors. Your real estate agent will help you target the right kind of buyers.


Putting your home on the market during the holidays can mean ignoring all the conventional ideas about preparing your home for sale. But you’ve got a different kind of buyer at this time of year, and you’ll want to make sure you target them with features that will make your home irresistible. 

Rely on your experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent to guide you through the season and help keep the holiday stress-free. And just think: Selling your home quickly at a great price is a wonderful holiday gift! 

By  BARRY ARTHUR MOELLER

10 Day of Christmas: A Calendar of Holiday Events

Charleston is the perfect place to celebrate Christmas, and there is no shortage of activities to choose from in these next 10 days leading up to Christmas Day! The kids are counting down the days until Christmas break, and the kids-at-heart are looking for ways to celebrate every day. We've put together a calendar of to-do's from December 15th through December 25th. Take a look at all of the fantastic events happening in Charleston and fill the next ten days with tons of holiday magic.

Monday, December 15th

Celtic Christmas 

What:  Join Na Fidleiri and the Taylor Festival Choir in a Celtic celebration of Christmas, featuring Irish Uilleann piper Cillian Vallely and Irish guitarist John Doyle.

Where:  Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting Street

When:  7:30-9pm

25th Annual Singing Christmas Tree

What:  An exciting evening of music and fun featuring a 35-foot tree, 28-piece orchestra, and 85-voice choir.

Where:  Summerville Baptist Church, 417 Central Avenue

When:  7:30pm

 

Tuesday, December 16th

ELF at the Johns Island Library

What:  Watch a holiday favorite film, starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel.

Where:  Johns Island Library, 3531 Maybank Highway

When:  4pm

 

Wednesday, December 17th

Holiday Centerpieces

What:  Renee Devane teaches you how to create beautiful floral arrangements for your holiday parties and gatherings. Each participant will take home a floral centerpiece. Snacks provided. ($50 per person includes materials)

Where:  Southern Season, 730 Coleman Boulevard

When:  5-8pm

Jinglebang!

What:  Local musicians perform beloved Christmas songs.

Where:  Tin Roof, 1117 Magnolia Road

When:  8pm

 

Thursday, December 18th

CSO: Holy City Messiah

What:  The Charleston Symphony Orchestra presents Handel's Messiah.

Where:  Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 120 Broad Street

When:  7:30pm

 

Friday, December 19th

Holiday Magic: Visit with the Clauses

What:  Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy other activities going on in Marion Square.

Where:  Marion Square, 329 Meeting Street

When:  12-5pm

The Nutcracker

What:  The Charleston Ballet Theatre presents its presentation of this beloved Christmas classic.

Where:  Sottile Theatre, 44 George Street

When:  10am and 7:30pm

CSO: Holy City Messiah

What:  The Charleston Symphony Orchestra presents Handel's Messiah.

Where:  St. Theresa the Little Flower Church, 1101 Dorchester Road

When:  7pm

 

Saturday, December 20th

Christmas Village at Magnolia Plantation

What:  Bring the whole family and enjoy a candy factory, Santa's workshop, gingerbread house, Santa's post office, chapel, general store, elf's bunk house, Santa's train, family and individual holiday portraits, Christmas choirs, and a school called the "elfementary."

Where:  Magnolia Plantation, 3550 Ashley River Road

When:  8:30am til 4:30pm (Performances end at 4pm)

Toys for Tots Drive

What:  Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the South Carolina Aquarium and receive $5 off general admission.

Where:  South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf

When:  9am to 4pm

White Christmas Sing-Along

What:  Sing along to the Bing Crosby classic without fear of annoying your fellow movie-goers!

Where:  Olde Village Community Center, 4820 Jenkins Avenue

When:  7pm

Frozen Winter Wonderland

What:  Dress the kids in their favorite Frozen costume, make crafts, share snacks, and watch Disney's Frozen.

Where:  St. Andrew's Regional Library, 1735 North Windermere Drive 

When:  11am

 

Sunday, December 21st

The Christmas Village at Magnolia Plantation

(see above)

A Christmas Carol

What:  Charleston Stage's production of the traditional favorite, Dicken's A Christmas Carol. This year's production is full of special effects, new stage sets, and beautiful costumes!

Where:  Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church Street

When:  3pm

Santa Claus in the Great Ocean Tank

What:  See Santa SCUBA diving in the Aquarium's Great Ocean Tank. While you're there, see if you can spot Finzy, the Aquarium's Shark on the Shelf. If you find him, you'll win a holiday prize!

Where:  South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf

When:  11am and 3pm

Old South Santa "Sleigh" Ride

What:  Take a ride in a specially decorated carriage driven by Santa Claus himself. Enjoy a 20-minute ride through downtown, complete with hot cocoa, cookies, and carols.

Where:  Old South Carriage Company, 14 Anson Street

When:  6-7:30pm

 

Monday, December 22nd

The Little Match Girl

What:  Uned!ted Artists in collaboration with Chamber Music Charleston and the Charleston Dance Institute present The Little Match Girl.

Where:  Sottile Theatre, 44 George Street

When:  7:30-9:30pm

Santa Claus is Coming to California Dreaming

What:  Visit with Santa and take a picture with a donation of $5 to Camp Happy Days

Where:  California Dreaming, 1 Ashley Point Drive

When:  5-8pm

 

Tuesday, December 23rd

The Little Match Girl

(see above)

25th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights

What:  Charleston's most popular holiday event! Drive through a three-mile loop featuring an estimated two million shimmering lights. Also featured:  an up-close look at the lights on the holiday train, treats from Santa's Sweet Shoppe, handmade gingerbreak houses, giant greeting cards creating by local students, Victorian carousel, 50-ton sand sculpture, and holiday shops.

Where:  James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive

When:  5:30-10pm Sun-Thurs, (runs through January 1st)

 

Wednesday, December 24th

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker

What:  The Moscow Ballet presents a gorgeous production of this Christmas favorite with Clara, the Nutcracker, the SugarPlum Fairy, the Tin Soldier, et al.

Where:  North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive

When:  4-6pm

 

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy Kwanzaa from the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company!

 

8 Ways to Winterize Your Home

While Charleston residents haven’t felt the need to pull out those winter coats just yet, the fact is that—say it with me—"Winter is coming!" Winter has never been a predictable season in the Lowcountry.

We might enjoy a breezy and beautiful 75-degree day only to be surprised by a high of 55 degrees the very next day. It’s for that reason that early winterization is key for helping to avoid high energy bills during the colder months. Don’t be caught unprepared when frosty weather eventually rears its head. These eight steps will save you time, money, and grief over energy costs and other cold-weather issues.

  1. Dodge the drafts! No matter how small, pesky streams of air that leak in through gaps in windows, doors, chimneys, and siding have a big impact on your heating bill. Use caulk and weatherstrip tape to seal any gaps in these areas, and invest an entire $10 or so in a draft guard that slips under the door to prevent air from leaking in. If you use window units, remove those for the winter to keep drafts out around the edges.
  2. Clean out gutters. This is especially important for safety’s sake. Make sure to clear out all autumn leaves and debris that may have collected in the gutters. Water must be able to flow freely to prevent icicles and ice dams. It isn’t often that we have to worry about these in the Lowcountry, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember those ice storms from last January? Yeah. Clear those gutters.
  3. Flush out the water heater. This will get rid of particles and sediment that might have settled in the base of your water heater and cause it to work harder.
  4. Replace filters. You should be changing your central air filters regularly anyway, but take this as a gentle reminder. Clogged air filters force central air and heating systems to use more energy.
  5. Give the heating system a tune-up. Don’t be surprised by a lack of heat when the temperatures drop suddenly! Make sure your HVAC system is in working order for the colder months. Some utility companies provide free check-ups to ensure your heating system is working properly to reduce energy use and costs.
  6. Reverse ceiling fans. Most ceiling fans have a switch on the base that enables you to reverse the direction in which the blades turn. Counter-clockwise motion cools the room, while clockwise motion warms the room. Since hot air rises, some of it stays up near the ceiling. Reversing the direction of the blades forces that warmer air down, preventing the need to turn up the thermostat.
  7. Insulate pipes. Keep those pipes warm to prevent freezing and bursting. Pipe foam can be found at most any hardware store and is easy to install. Simply cut it to size, wrap the pipe, and seal it with duct tape.
  8. Turn the heat down! When you leave the house—especially for longer periods of time—turn the temperature down on the thermostat. There’s no reason to keep the house toasty when no one is there. Even better, invest in a programmable thermostat.
Are you ready for colder weather? Have you learned the hard way how important it is to winterize your home? What winterization tips have we left out that you find important or helpful? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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