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Friday Five // February 8th, 2019

TGIF! It’s time for another brand new edition of the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening throughout the Charleston area this weekend. Sample beer, wine, and chocolate, stroll through romantic gardens with that special someone, take the family dog out for some pampering, and more. Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend!

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens invites you and that special person in your life to a Valentine Chocolate Walk through America’s oldest romantic-style garden. Your passport will guide you through country-themed stations throughout the gardens, where you will enjoy live music and sample sweets from around the world. String musicians will serenade couples as they stroll along and take in all the gardens and the Chocolate Walk have to offer. This event takes place on both Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 3pm and is free with paid garden admission ($20/adult, $10/age 6-12, 5 and under free).

Show the family dog some love at his/her very own event this Saturday at Magnolia Park and Community Garden in West Ashley. Valen-Dog’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your favorite furbabies that they hold a special place in your heart. Pamper them with a grooming salon, pet portraits, and more. Local food trucks Platia and Holy City Waffles will serve up delicious snacks while McKenna Andrews provides some live music. Beer and wine will be available for purchase (cash only) from MIX Bartending. Other features include a canine agility course and a Bark Boutique area. Eunoia Rescue and Bullies 2 the Rescue will be on hand as well. Admission is free for people and pups, but please register in advance so activities can be planned accordingly.

Wine lovers (and beer lovers too!) should check out the Charleston Winter Wine Fest this Saturday from 1pm until 5pm at Memminger Auditorium. This event features over 50 wines to be enjoyed, a selection of beer, and a DJ spinning tunes. Your $50 ticket includes entry into the event, entertainment, a souvenir acrylic wine glass, and all the wine and beer samples. Food will also be available for purchase. Please note that this event is for adults ages 21 and up only. No children, babies, or pets allowed. No outside food or beverages are allowed, but bottled water will be provided for free.

Grab your gal pals and head to Kaminsky’s on Sunday from 11am until 2pm for a Galentine’s Day Brunch. New Friends in Charleston in hosting this event at one of the sweetest places in Charleston. Stop in for some quiche, a mimosa, a specialty coffee, and some sweet treats, and mingle with some great ladies in the Charleston area. Bring your friends along or make some new ones!

“Once upon a time, three visitors came to Charleston and invited you to the most magical event, Enchanting Princess Storytime!” This Sunday afternoon, Curiouser Entertainment and 34 West Theater Company present Valentine’s Day-themed, interactive stories told by Rapunzel, The Magical Nanny, and a surprise guest. Children will receive one-on-one time with each character for a meet and greet, and a professional photographer will be on hand to capture each special moment. Popcorn, snacks, and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets include entry into the event, a goodie bag for each child to take home, and downloadable photos taken at the event. Get your tickets for $15 online or $20 at the door. Children 12 months and younger do not require a ticket.

6 Things Your Homeowners Insurance Probably Doesn’t Cover

It’s easy to feel a little more at ease about protecting your home when you know you’re covered in the event of fire, theft, and other damage. But have you checked into your homeowners insurance policy lately? Do you know what’s covered and what’s not? You might think you’re safe if your home floods, but that might not be true. Make an appointment with your insurance agent to see if you’re covered for any of the following issues that aren’t typically covered by basic homeowners insurance.

Flooding

Your standard insurance policy will not cover damage suffered by your home in the event of a flood. If you live in an area that floods easily, you probably already have additional flood insurance. If you’re not required to carry it, you might want to look into it just in case.

Earthquakes, Landslides, and Sinkholes

Earth movement—whether it’s caused by natural disaster or human interference—isn’t usually covered by a standard policy either. If you live in an area prone to one or more of these threats, it’s a good idea to look into getting a separate policy for them.

Sewer Backups

There are a few different reasons your sewer might back up, including but not limited to growing tree roots, outdated sewer systems, sanitary main blockages, etc. The bad news is that damage caused by a sewer backup isn’t typically covered. The good news is if you’re concerned about it, you can purchase coverage in a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners policy.

Negligence

Your policy likely doesn’t cover issues caused by neglecting to properly care for and maintain your home and its systems. Pest infestation and mold growth not caused by a covered peril are two things that probably won’t be taken care of by your insurance. To keep these issues from arising, the Insurance Information Institute recommends cleaning bathrooms with mold killers like bleach; maintaining your roof; avoiding installing carpet in damp areas like basements and bathrooms; cleaning your gutters regularly; and installing dehumidifiers.

Attacks By Certain Dog Breeds

Certain possibly aggressive dog breeds like German shepherds, Rottweilers, and Chows, among others, aren’t covered by some insurance providers. While your “aggressive” breed might actually be the sweetest pup in the world, it’s the insurance company’s job to weigh the risks in general. If your dog’s breed is covered and bites someone on your property, your policy would cover a claim up to the limits of your liability coverage.

Expensive Jewelry, Art, and Heirlooms

Your policy probably covers personal items like jewelry, but chances are it doesn’t cover any pieces that are considered especially valuable. Jewelry has a high risk of being stolen, so insurance companies often limit coverage per claim to about $1,500. To protect your pricey jewelry or heirlooms, have them appraised and then purchase a rider to cover them.

There could be several gaps in your coverage that you’re not aware of. There are more that we haven’t mentioned here, including cash, collections, and some electronics. If you’re concerned about a lack of coverage in any of these areas, talk to your insurance agent soon. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what’s covered and the coverage limits.

How-To Tuesday: Make the Right First Impression with Buyers

First impressions matter. We’re taught never to judge a book by its cover, but we’re only human. The truth is most of us have made up our minds about people, places, and objects within mere seconds of seeing them. Of course there’s always much more to the story than what’s on the surface, but to get people to see what’s on the inside, you need to get them interested by making a good first impression. This couldn’t be truer in the real estate business. Buyers make snap judgments based on curb appeal and the condition of the exterior of a home before they even exit their cars. You don’t want them to turn around and leave before they have a chance to see everything your home has to offer. So before you put your home on the market, first cut your emotional ties; step outside and try to look at the house through unbiased eyes; and then follow these tips to make the right first impression with prospective buyers.

Ramp Up the Curb Appeal

Start with the exterior of your house. Give it a fresh coat of paint if needed, or just touch up the trim work and paint the front door. Wash your windows, even if you don’t think they really need it. Chances are it’s been awhile since they had a bath. Clean out the gutters, remove leaves and limbs from the roof and lawn, and freshen up the shrubs and flowerbeds. Put away anything personal, like lawn ornaments, outdoor toys, and lawn maintenance tools. Pressure wash the driveway, sidewalks, and front porch or stoop. You’d be surprised at the big difference this little detail can make! Plant some colorful seasonal flowers and put out a neutral yet welcome doormat. If your mailbox is rusty or loose, repair or replace it.

Fix What’s Broken

Take a trip around the house, inside and out, and make a list of all the little repairs you’ve been meaning to do but just haven’t gotten around to. Check for leaks throughout the house. Tighten door handles and hinges that have come loose. Replace old caulking around sinks, tubs, and windows. Replace any light bulbs that have burned out—it keeps buyers from wondering whether the light doesn’t work due to electrical problems or just a burned-out bulb.

Declutter and Depersonalize

The less “stuff” there is in the house, the less distracted the buyer will be. When a house has too many personal items—photos, collectibles, clothes, and toys, for example—it’s harder for the buyer to picture themselves living there. It’s harder for them to really get a feel for the house when someone else’s furniture and other belongings are everywhere they look. Don’t completely empty out the place, though. You don’t want it to be a sterile environment. Empty rooms can actually look smaller than those with a few key pieces arranged with good flow in mind. And those rooms with highly personalized paint colors? We highly recommend repainting them with more neutral shades.

Give the House a Little Facelift

There’s usually no need to do a major renovation before you sell unless something’s in really bad shape. But a little facelift and refreshment can be a great selling point. Focus on areas that buyers pay the most attention to: bathrooms, kitchens, and flooring. If anything is particularly worn out, think about replacing or revamping it. For example, a new coat of paint for kitchen cabinets makes for a nice little makeover that looks more expensive than it is. Little things like replacing faucets, cabinet handles, drawer pulls, and light fixtures are also small upgrades that make a big difference visually. Give flooring a boost by having rugs and carpets professionally cleaned, or if you have hardwoods that have seen better days, think about re-staining them.

Appeal to the Senses

Home buyers don’t just shop with their eyes. Together with your Realtor, come up with a strategy that appeals to all the senses. During showings, you might want to play soft music, brew coffee or bake cookies, light a candle or diffuse essentials that aren’t too overpowering, and decorate with fluffy, furry throw blankets and pillows.

Keep Things Ship Shape

You might have to endure weeks to months of showings and open houses before your home goes off the market. During that time, there will be lots of people in and out for showings, and if you’re still living in the house while it’s on the market, signs of day to day living will eventually make themselves known. Just make a concentrated effort to keep everything tidy and inviting for prospective buyers.

What You Should Know Before You Flip Your First House

Thanks to the magic of television, flipping houses might seem like a quick and easy way to make a lot of money. But just like anything else in life, if you want to do it right and make a profit, there’s a lot to learn about flipping houses before you actually start. Here are just a few of the key things to think long and hard about before you decide to flip your first house.

You need startup capital.

Of course the very first thing you need in order to buy a flip house is capital. Getting a loan for an investment home isn’t quite as simple as getting a home loan for a primary residence, and there’s definitely no 100% financing available for this type of investment. It’s usually a good idea to use cash to buy a house you’re going to turn around and sell soon. Even if you do decide that a home loan is the way to go, you’re going to need to come up with the cash for a down payment in additional to whatever cash you’ll need for renovation. And don’t forget that your flip might sit on the market for a while after it’s finished. During that time, you’ll need to have cash available to pay the mortgage, taxes, utilities, etc.

Finding the perfect house isn’t as easy as it looks on tv.

Television shows like Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, and even House Hunters make finding the perfect fixer way easier than it really is. In actuality, finding a house to flip takes a lot of time, research, and trips back to square one if your offer doesn’t get accepted. There’s so much more to be taken into consideration than whether or not you think the house will make a good project. You have to think about the area it’s in and the type of buyer it attracts (single professionals, small families, etc.); the cost of renovation versus the actual post-renovation value; whether you’re over-improving for the area and won’t get back the money you spent, and much, much more. Make sure you’re working with a trusted, seasoned real estate agent to help you flesh out all these details.

You have to schedule things out to a tee.

TV shows also make it look like things simply fall into place as needed, but there’s a ridiculous amount of planning and scheduling that goes on behind the scenes. Once you find a house and actually buy it, you’ll need to get quotes and bids for various jobs, apply for permits, shop around for materials, and on and on. If you don’t have a super organized schedule, the odds are high that you’ll face a few challenges along the way. After all, you don’t want the drywall contractor and flooring installer to show up ready to work at the same time.

You won’t be able to do it all yourself.

Even the best contractors specialize in certain areas. For instance, someone who can build almost anything from scratch might not do sheetrocking, and they might hate painting. Good contractors know their specialty inside and out, and they know what they’re not good at, or what they simply prefer not to do. Just like a good contractor, you should be aware that you won’t be able to do every little job in your flip house on your own. This is especially important when it comes to specialties like electricity and plumbing. If you want to make a good name for yourself in the flipping business, you need to ensure a quality job each and every time.

Friday Five // February 1st, 2019

It’s Friday once again, and you know what that means! Time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening throughout the Charleston area this weekend. The Big Game might be the talk of the town this week, but there’s lots more going on around the Lowcountry. Take in some student art, get your weekly oyster fix, support our pet-loving community, and more. As always, no matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents here at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company hope you have a safe and happy weekend!

Bring the whole family out to the Charleston Area Convention Center this Saturday for the 2019 Lowcountry Family Expo, hosted by Lowcountry Parent. Come be entertained, inspired, informed, and engaged through fun, interactive activities. There will be activity centers, exciting exhibitions, and fun contests. Some of the vendors include the Charleston RiverDogs, Trident United Way, the Lowcountry Children’s Museum, Coastal Kids Dental & Braces, the Carolina Ice Palace, and many more! This event takes place from 10am until 3pm. General admission tickets are $5 for adults and ages 13+. Children age 12 and under get in free.

Get your oyster fix this Saturday evening at the annual Paws & Pearls Oyster Roast at Summerville Country Club. Beginning at 6pm, you can enjoy endless oysters, flowing beer and wine, live music from Saluda Shoals, dancing, and live and silent auctions, all to benefit Dorchester Paws (formerly the Francis R. Willis SPCA). Tickets are $60 and include all the oysters you can eat, food, beer, and wine. All proceeds benefit the animals in care at Dorchester Paws and programs to support the pet-loving community.

For a unique, family-friendly experience, check out the Art to Go Student Exhibition at the Gibbes Museum this weekend. Art to Go is an in-school outreach program that pairs teaching artists with classroom teachers to allow students to create unique works of art inspired by exhibitions at the Gibbes. It is sponsored in part by the Women’s Council, the South Carolina Arts Commission, and the Town of Kiawah. Students from Mitchell Elementary School, Hunley Park Elementary School, Angel Oak Elementary School, and Northwoods Middle School participated this year and will display their work at the Gibbes. The students were inspired by works in the permanent collection as well as the artists featured in A Dark Place of Dreams: Louise Nevelson with Chakaia Booker, Lauren Fenterstock, and Kate Gilmore as well as Anna Heyward Taylor: Intrepid Explorer.

Join the effort to support and preserve the Morris Island Lighthouse at the Save the Light Half Marathon & 5K this Saturday, February 2nd. Both the half marathon and the 5K race are USATF-certified and will start and end near the Folly Beach Pier. Those who register for the 5K may run or walk, but the half marathon is a run-only event. No earbuds or pets are allowed on the course. Strollers will be permitted in the 5K only, but those with strollers must start behind the other runners and walkers. Awards and food will be provided after the race.

Join the Charleston Animal Society and Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre on Saturday from noon until 3pm for the second annual Pup Bowl to benefit the animals at the Charleston Animal Society. Attendees can register to adopt a new pet or just have a fun family day, complete with photo booth, bounce house, face-painting, balloon animals, caricatures, and of course two teams of adorable and adoptable puppies battling it out in an adorable game of puppy football!

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