How-To Tuesday: Painting A Room the Proper Way

Last week, we promised you a post on how to finally (and properly) paint the interior walls of your home. So winter is almost over, spring is coming fast, and you’re realizing now just how gloomy that paint job in the guest bedroom really is. It’s time to brighten things up! Before you start, here are some important painting do’s and don’ts.

1. Make it fun! Before all else, figure out how to help yourself enjoy what promises to be a long day of frustration and paint fumes. Play your favorite music to keep you alert and awake. If you allow yourself to get bored, you might start making mistakes.

2. Pick a color. Everyone who has ever painted anything will probably agree that this can be the most frustrating part of the task. Remember: while you can always paint over a regretful shade, you will NOT want to. So make sure to put plenty of thought into this decision. Spend some time mulling over your options. Ask your friends and family for their opinions. It's during this step that you'll want to consider whether to use primer as well. If you're painting over a darker color, it's best to use one. If not, then it's up to you. Then go forth in faith, my friend, and hope for the best. If you need a little help on this step, check out last week's post about choosing paint colors.

3. Clean the walls. Don’t worry; you won’t need to go Cinderella on them. Just some dusting and wiping with a cloth or maybe a Magic Eraser will do the trick. Just avoid painting over any dirt and grime. You might want to think about giving the walls a light sanding during this step as well. Though it's not mandatory, professional painters suggest doing so to help the paint stick better.

4. Check for any existing nail punctures or other holes, and patch the ones you don’t plan to reuse with a lightweight spackle.

5. Tape it up. Grab your blue painter’s tape (not masking tape unless you want to leave behind a gunky residue) and outline your walls. Cover your baseboards, crown molding, door trim, window trim, etc. Use your tape to border anything you don’t want the paint to touch.

6. Remove the outlet covers and light-switch plates. If you have young children, mask them up with tape (the outlet covers, not the kids…) and reinstall them. This way your little ones won’t get hurt, and you won’t get paint on the covers.

7. Protect your floors in case of dripping paint. We say “in case,” but you’ll find that it’s pretty impossible to avoid dripping paint onto the floor. So make sure to complete this step. You can use old bed sheets or anything else you don’t mind getting splattered. However, a plastic tarp or painter’s drop cloth would be most efficient in protecting your floors.

8. Gather up all of your tools and materials. It's best to take the time to prepare now so you don't have to break your momentum to go grab odds and ends you might have forgotten. In addition to your paint and application tools, remember that you’ll need a sturdy stepstool unless you’re able to reach heights of at least 8 feet comfortably for an extended period of time.

9. Stir and mix your paints as needed. If you need more than one can of paint, to complete your job, you might want to consider pouring all of your paint into one 5-gallon bucket. This will keep you from possibly discovering slight differences in color when you finish with one can and switch to the next. If you don't use all of the paint, you can simply pour them back into their original cans. Remember to keep those for future touch-ups!

10. Start painting! We've found that the fastest and easiest thing to do is to start by cutting in. This is the step where you'll want to be most careful with your paint application, and doing it in the beginning means you'll still have energy and motivation. Cut in at the edges and corners of your wall with a 2 ½ or 3-inch-wide brush. Proceed with caution, as this is the task during which you’re most likely to get paint on things that you’d rather not have paint on. If you’re successful in your endeavors, you’ll be home-free when it’s time to use that roller brush. The number of coats needed will depend on your new shade and the shade you’re painting over.

As long as you take the time to prepare and plan out your steps, your painting endeavor should be hitch-free. And don’t forget to politely bombard your local hardware store employees with any questions you have. In this situation, it’s better to be sure about things than to simply wing it. Have fun!

What Is a Transitional Neighborhood?

With so much development going on in Charleston and its surrounding areas, you might have heard the term transitional neighborhood a few times. Every once in a while, a neighborhood will undergo a revival of sorts. As any real estate agent can tell you, most neighborhoods follow a cycle. They start out new and shiny and popular. When the novelty and popularity wear off, these neighborhoods may decline in value. Over time, they may show a lack of maintenance and pride of ownership, and oftentimes become hotbeds of crime. Eventually—whether it takes a few years or a few decades—people might notice potential for growth and begin to clean up these areas. Depending on your outlook, a transitional neighborhood can be beautiful, intimidating, or even scary. 

Let's take a look at some transitional neighborhoods in Charleston. King Street is known for deluxe shopping, gorgeous architecture (as is most of downtown), and spectacular options for dining and drinking. Not many years ago, trekking north of Calhoun Street, past Francis Marion Square, meant your options dwindled exponentially. Buildings were in all states of disrepair, and it definitely wasn't one of the safest areas of downtown. Now, however, Upper King is a breeding ground for various culinary delights, upscale bars, and one-of-a-kind shops. Businesses have taken advantage of the previously ramshackle buildings, snagging them for better prices than those south of Calhoun, and a veritable renaissance has occurred. 

Park Circle in North Charleston has also made a comeback over the last few years. Decades ago, this neighborhood in North Charleston was a nice area for families to live in. Then the quality declined and the crime rate rose. As crime came under better control, would-be business owners and residents began to sit up and take notice of Park Circle's potential. Neighborhoods were cleaned up, parks were constructed or given facelifts, and even new construction moved in. Now Park Circle plays host to a bevy of trendy restaurants and bars. Another transitional area in Charleston is downtown's Eastside. According to an article in the Charleston City Paper, crime in this neighborhood has drastically reduced, and young people—especially college students—looking for cheap housing are moving in. It looks as though this area housing the well-known America Street is in the beginnings of a renaissance as well. While some people might find areas like the Eastside somewhat sketchy still, there is so much character and local culture to be found there.

What do you think of buying a home or business in a transitional neighborhood? Have you been drawn to another transitional area in the Lowcountry? 

Friday Five // March 7, 2014

Live 5 News reports on possible funding of a study on whether to deepen the Charleston Harbor. The funding would come from President Obama's proposed budget and would grand the Army Corps of Engineers $695,000 to complete the 4-year survey.

Fodor's Travel presents 5 Reasons to Go to Charleston, SC, Right Now. The article mentions Charleston's ever-growing culinary scene and also recommends upcoming events like Charleston Fashion Week and the Spoleto Festival.

Have you seen our new ad in the Spring issue of Azalea Magazine

Need something to do this weekend? Get out and enjoy the Charleston Wine + Food Festival!

According to Mayor Joe Riley, West Ashley is on the verge of an "extraordinary economic boom." Head over to the Charleston Regional Business Journal to read about the city's plans for an economic strategy.

That's it for this week! Now let's all get out and enjoy the warmer weather heading our way over the next few days. Everyone at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wishes you a safe and happy weekend.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding To Rent Or Buy

Even though the real estate market is recovering beautifully as effects of recession recede, many homeowners still find themselves displaced as a result of foreclosures and short sales. By the rules of supply and demand, this has driven the rental market up in recent years. More families looking to rent equals less rentals on the market, which gives landlords the ability to ask for higher rent. As of January, the asking price for rentals in the Charleston metropolitan area had risen 9.6% over the previous year. The actual rental price rose 6.2%.


The same has happened recently with residential home sales. More families are once again able and willing to buy without fear, and the inventory of homes for sale is way down, resulting in higher asking prices. This is known as a seller’s market. With increasing prices in both renting and buying, how do you know which is better for you? Many people would assume that buying is better, because your home is an asset which builds equity. Though this is true, it isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone. At Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company, we work with buyers, sellers, renters, and landlords. If you need a professional opinion, you can always call us to explore your options! Before you make any kind of decision, there are several questions you need to ask yourself when determining whether to rent or buy.


  1. How much financial freedom do I have? There are upfront costs for both buying and renting, but the numbers are significantly different. Costs for buying vary depending on aspects like the type of loan you secure. Do you need a down payment? Will your closing costs be paid by a builder or seller, or will you need to come up with 2-5% of the mortgage loan up front? If you’re short on cash or your credit score isn’t up to par, renting is probably the better option. Upfront costs for renting usually include a security deposit and sometimes the first and/or last month’s rent.
  2. How’s my credit? If your credit score isn’t in good shape, you might not be able to secure a loan in order to buy. Renting might be a necessity in this case. The good news is that it will give you time to repair your credit while you rent. Come up with a plan to pay off bills and build credit by paying your rent on time each month.
  3.  Am I prepared to cover recurring and incidental costs? The most obvious costs here are monthly mortgage payments and rent. But when you buy a home, you also need to be prepared for yearly costs, including taxes, any HOA fees, homeowners insurance, and upkeep. The upside of this is that some of these costs are tax deductible. Being a homeowner is great when tax time comes around. When you rent, your main recurring cost besides rent will probably be renter’s insurance.
  4. Will I be moving in the foreseeable future? If there’s a possibility that you might move in a year’s time, buying might not be the best thing for you. That said, many people choose to turn their homes into investment properties when they move. It’s a great way to make your house work for you, especially with the rental marketing doing so well right now. If you'd rather rent leases can be tailored to your needs, and once your lease is up, so is your obligation.
  5. How much flexibility do I want? Both buying and renting pose a certain amount of flexibility in different areas. For example, it might seem like you're saddling yourself with a huge commitment by buying, but owning a home does give you some freedom by allowing you to make all the decisions yourself. Want to paint the walls? Replace the carpet? Plant a garden? Build a swingset in the back yard? Go for it! There's no need to get permission (unless your homeowners' association has restrictions on types of outdoor renovations). On the other hand, renting makes it easy for you to move if you end up not liking the neighborhood or just need a change of scenery. 

Make a list of these questions and sit down to answer them honestly. It will make things much clearer and aid you in making an educated decision. And if you're still not sure about what your best option is, consult one of our professionals at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company. You'll get an un-biased opinion from specialists who work in both sides of the business. 




How-To Tuesday: Choosing Paint Colors


There’s no denying that colorful walls add character to a house and expresses your personal style, making it feel more like home. But did you know that the paint colors you choose can actually affect your mood and energy level? Color is light, and light is energy. Different colors reflect light in different ways, which means some spark energy and motivation while others inspire warmth and tranquility. So how do you choose? To give you a jumpstart, we’ve compiled the following list of colors and how they might affect you. Just remember, you’ll probably have to live with your paint color for a while, so choose wisely!



Red signifies strong emotions like passion, boldness, and courage. It can stimulate energy and inspire us to take risks. If you’re in love with red, think twice about the room you’re painting. Kitchens and dining rooms are popular places for this color, but it might not work well in a bathroom or a bedroom, where you’ll more than likely want a more calming space…which brings us to our next color.



A sister of red, pink has a soft, calming influence. Don’t let your mind go straight to bubble gum or Pepto Bismol. Think ballerina pink for a child’s room or bathroom. Just the slightest twinge of pink can bring the feeling of softness and beauty to a room.



We have a love-hate relationship with orange. On one hand, it’s a color of warmth and enthusiasm. On the other hand, it can look a little too much like Halloween. The mood you encourage here has everything to do with the shade of orange you choose. If you want to kindle warmth, go for a deep rust or burnt orange. Bright orange might be fun for a kitchen or playroom to inspire energy.



Yellow is the color of optimism, happiness, and—again—energy. Painting a bedroom a buttery yellow hue will surely help you get out of bed in an optimistic mood in the mornings. On the other hand, bright yellow can cause fatigue since it reflects light more than most colors, causing too much stimulation. Experts advise against painting a nursery bright yellow for this reason.



It’s become a modern symbol of eco-friendliness, but green is also a color of peace, luck, and stress relief. Think about using this color in an office, study, or laundry room.



Ah, blue. Such a popular color for walls everywhere. It’s the color of cheery skies and Caribbean waters. The ultimate color of calmness and serenity. A very light blue can turn a living room, bathroom, or bedroom into a tranquil retreat. The great thing about blue is that most any shade can work in any room of the house without causing offense or stress.



Purple has long signified royalty, wealth, and wisdom. But did you know it can also give you problem-solving abilities a lift? It might be another good color for an office or any other “get things done” room. A light lavender, which can be both uplifting and tranquil, can also be a great color for a nursery.



Many of us equate gray with gloom and sadness. As a wall color, however, it can be cozy, warm, and timeless. It’s a great color for those who like to change up their décor often, especially because it goes with literally any accent color. If you enjoy hanging bright, cheery artwork, a dark gray can offer a great contrast.



Stick with me here. I know black as a wall color can seem scary, but it really does work in a lot of areas. Black can evoke formality, mystery, and luxury. Think of your little black dress, ladies. It’s timeless and universal. A formal dining room coated in black with all white furniture, for example, is stunning and unexpected. Still too scary? Try an accent wall. A caveat: black can be weighty and overpowering in smaller rooms.



Some people don’t consider white a color at all. While that is technically true when it comes to pigment, a lot of designers do consider white a color. In fact, it’s the best one you can use if you have a particularly small space. White reflects light and creates the feeling of an open space. Small bathroom? Small kitchen? Paint it white and use colorful accents here to add some cheer. 


While choosing paint colors can be a long, drawn-out process, try not to overthink it! If you like to change things up and don’t mind painting, feel free to follow trends and use of-the-moment colors. Don’t be afraid to use those that take you out of your comfort zone. You can always change it. Above all, don’t rush the process. Take as much time as you need to decide. The walls aren’t going anywhere (we hope!), and the last thing you want to do is start over from scratch if you decide you don’t love it.


Be on the lookout for next week's How-To post, where we discuss applying paint to walls.



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