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Friday Five // May 3rd, 2019

It’s Friday once again, which means it must be time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening throughout the Charleston area over the weekend. Celebrate visual and performing arts from cultures around the world, take in a few dragon boat races, get dapper for the most exciting two minutes in sports, and more. Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend!

Locals know that once the weather warms up, Patriots Point is the place to be on Friday evenings for Party at the Point, Charleston premier happy hour concert series. This family-friendly event takes place on the beachfront at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina and features live music, food, and drinks. This Friday you’ll be entertained by the Ol’ 55s, a Charleston-based acoustic trio that takes the high level of instrumentation and tight vocal harmonies associated with bluegrass and blends it with everything from Johnny Cash to Journey, Def Leppard to Bruno Mars, and everything in between. Admission for Party at the Point is $8 for adults and free for kids 12 and under. Gates open at 5:30pm, and the band takes the stage at 6:30pm. Bring cash for entry and to purchase beer and food inside the venue.

New at this year’s North Charleston Arts Fest is the World Arts Expo, a celebration of visual and performing arts from cultures around the world. Take advantage of the lovely spring weather this Saturday and experience a diverse array of music and dance performances by local and regional cultural groups on three stages; live art demonstrations and displays; multicultural food offerings; art and craft vendors; hands-on art activities; roving entertainment; a kids’ zone; and even a pop-up Medieval Village. Admission and parking for this event are free. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome and encouraged, but please leave your coolers at home. Bring a water bottle and stay hydrated thanks to Charleston Water System’s water buffalo. Food will be available for purchase from the likes of Lola’s Lumpia Food Truck, Happy Thai Food Truck, Roti Rolls, Krystyna’s Polish Food, Kona Ice Charleston, and more.

Also taking place this Saturday from 8am until 4pm is the 12th Annual Dragon Boat Festival at Brittlebank Park. Dragon Boat Charleston is a local nonprofit organization that promotes the physical and mental wellness of cancer survivors and their community through dragon boating. This annual festival is the organization’s main fundraising event, which allows them to provide programs and services all year long. On Saturday, 60 amateur teams will be showcased in a fun day of dragon boat racing. The event is free and open to the public. Come out and enjoy the day featuring costumes, racing, food trucks, and name-your-own-price margarita bar. Cancer touches everyone in some way. Come out and join the celebration of survivorship!

Don’t worry; we haven’t forgotten about the most exciting two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby! Get down to The Alley on Saturday from 4pm until 8pm for Bluegrass Bash, the biggest Derby Party in town. Come early and stay late for live bluegrass music from The Bluestone Ramblers; Best Dressed contests (Stallion & Filly); horse-picking contest for a shot at a custom bike from Affordabike; $8 Woodford Reserve Mint Juleps; a special Derby menu featuring Kentucky Hot Browns; a chance to win a four-pack of tickets to the Steeplechase of Charleston; free tickets to Charleston’s Hot Air Balloon Festival & Victory Cup Polo Match for the first 200 people in the doors; and a few other surprises you’ll be glad you didn’t miss! Admission to this event is free, but you must be 21 or older to attend.

Celebrate Latin culture and heritage at the Charleston Cinco de Mayo Festival this Saturday from 7pm until 11pm at the Visitor’s Center Bus Shed. Live music will be brought to you by Gino Castillo & the Cuban Cowboys, Bachata Flow, and DJ Leo, among others. Enjoy delicious, authentic foods from El Pincho Taco, Espettos on Wheels, Sabor CubaRican Cuisine, and more. Drinks brought to you by Jose Cuervo, Estrella Jalisco, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Be sure to check out the dance exhibitions as well! The primary mission of the Charleston Cinco de Mayo Festival is to encourage togetherness between diverse communities in the Charleston area. Secondly, the festival promotes awareness of the Charleston Animal Society and helps raise funds for their programs.

 

8 Things Your Real Estate Agent Wishes You Knew

As real estate agents, we work with people from many different walks of life and many different knowledge bases. We work with people who have done a lot of research about the home-buying or selling process, and we work with people who don’t have the first clue about it and require a lot of handholding. And guess what? We love them all! It doesn’t matter what you do, where you’re from, or how much you can spend on a house. We love helping our clients find the home that’s perfect for them, and we live for the air of excitement and the look of joy on their faces on closing day. But there are a few things we wish our clients understood a little more clearly.

We want to be your partner.

First and foremost, we want our clients to know that we’re on their side. We want to be your partner in the buying or selling process. We’re in your corner, looking out for your best interests before anyone else’s. We want to help you to the finish line that is the real estate closing table, and we definitely want to hear from you from time to time afterward. (So keep those Christmas cards and birth announcements coming! We love hearing from past clients.)

Time is of the essence.

We’ve dealt with more than a few instances where a client took their time to make a decision and missed out on the house they really wanted. There have also been situations where deals have fallen through because one party or the other didn’t complete a task or get paperwork turned in on time. Between the initial offer and closing day, there are quite a few deadlines that have to be met. Buying or selling a home is a huge decision and a major transaction; it’s fine to take the time you need to decide. But once it’s time to pull the trigger, sometimes you have to act fast.

DIY television shows make it look way easier than it is.

Real estate reality shows on HGTV or the DIY Network are a lot of fun to watch, and it’s great to get design ideas and watch the house-hunting process. But one of the biggest things your agent wants you to know is that those shows make the buying, selling, and remodeling process look a lot easier and faster than it actually is. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that you don’t see, including the negotiation process and all the otherwise “boring” details that don’t make for great TV.

We want you to be specific about your needs.

It’s good to be flexible and easy to work with, but don’t give us too long of a leash. We want to hear specific needs and desires so we can show you the most relevant homes without wasting your time or ours. At the same time, we don’t want you to paint us into a corner with too many restrictions or too long of a list of “must-haves.”

Pre-approval is so important!

Many agents won’t show a buyer client any homes until they have their pre-approval in hand, and for good reason. Sellers want to know that a prospective buyer is serious about purchasing their home, which means they want to see your pre-approval letter. Having a pre-approval also tells us what your budget is so we don’t waste time showing you homes you can’t afford. Additionally, being pre-approved can help move things along more quickly once it’s time to apply for actual approval for your home loan.

Lowball offers are embarrassing.

Your real estate agent is trained in the art of finding a home’s actual value. If a house is listed for $200,000 and you want to offer $150,000 “just to see what they’ll say,” be prepared for your agent to advise you against it. If that house is actually worth $200,000, bringing a lowball offer to the table like that makes us look like we don’t know what we’re doing. In fact, we’ll probably tell you not to be surprised if the seller doesn’t even come back with a counteroffer.

No home is perfect.

Whenever we show homes to buyers, we hear a lot of, “This one would be perfect, but…” Keep in mind that it’s rare that any one property will tick every box on your list and also be within your budget. The trick is to find the home that’s perfect for you for now. If you can’t seem to find one that meets every need or want, choose the one that checks the most boxes, is in the perfect location, and is within your budget. Most other issues can be resolved later.

We want you to think about resale value.

When you’re buying a home, we want you to be thinking about resale value. You might not have plans to move again anytime soon, but statistics say you will eventually. So even if you don’t need a second bathroom and an area that has a good school district, you’ll want to consider them for resale value later on down the road.

 

How-To Tuesday: Prioritize Your Home Projects

If you’re anything like us, you tend to get overwhelmed by your growing list of home projects every now and then. This can especially be a problem at this time of year, when we’re embracing all things spring, including projects like deep cleaning, putting away cold-weather clothes and gear, and planting gardens. We’ll be the first to admit that when our to-do lists seem about a mile long, we start to feel overwhelmed and consider heading out for a beach day instead. If this sounds like you, it might be time to figure out how to prioritize your home projects.

Consider Function First

The most important projects to address first are those that have to do with function over form. Take a look at your list and put a star next to the projects that will make your life a little easier once they’re completed. For instance, have you been meaning to hang some wall hooks to hold your keys, your jacket, and the dog’s leash? Do you need to build some shelves for more storage in your closet? Try to complete projects that serve a purpose first.

Think About First Impressions

If you don’t have time for a whole-house redo, concentrate on the things that make a first impression when someone walks into your home. Are your front door and porch or stoop in good shape? Is your entryway warm, inviting, and functional? The next time you walk through your own front door, try to look at it with an unbiased eye and see what areas could use some improvement.

Go For Lowest-Cost/Highest-Impact Projects

The next category you tackle should be the projects that make the highest impact and cost the least. For example, painting a room makes a huge impact and can really change things up. When you consider the cost of a couple of cans of paint and some brushes, you get a lot of bang for your buck. The same goes for trim. A subtle, inexpensive change like adding crown molding or expanding your baseboards creates one of those “can’t quite put my finger on it” changes that somehow always gets noticed.

Focus on One Thing

When you feel overwhelmed, or even when your budget constraints are keeping you from achieving everything you want to achieve, just choose one thing to focus on for the time being. That one thing could be repainting all the trim in your house, or it might be something as simple as finding the perfect piece of artwork for that awkward wall that’s always bothered you. Zero in on your one thing, and when it’s done, it’ll feel so good to put a check next to it on your list!

 

Friday Five // April 26th, 2019

It’s Friday once again, which means it’s time for the Friday Five, our weekly roundup of five fun events happening in the Lowcountry this weekend. Chow down on some wings, take in a family-friendly movie in the park, crawl King Street dressed as your favorite Game of Thrones character, and more. No matter what you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend!

On Friday evening from 8pm until 11pm, join the Summerville Parks & Recreation Department at Gahagan Park for their first free outdoor Movies in the Park night of the season. This family-friendly event sponsored by Summerville Medical Center is perfect for everyone, so grab your blankets and/or chairs and join in the fun! This week’s movie is Incredibles 2 and will start at dusk. Grab some food and treats from Miracles Tasty Express, Palmetto Sun Kettle Corn, and Kool Katz Italian Ice and kick off the weekend with a little relaxation and fun for the whole family.

If you love chicken wings, the Visitor Center Bus Shed is the place to be this Friday evening from 7pm until 10pm for Lowcountry Wingapalooza. Pay one admission price and eat chicken wings from some of the Charleston area’s finest poultry-preparing establishments, including Burton’s Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dog and Duck Family Pubs, Two Keys Tavern, Bitsnbytes Food Truck, Smoke BBQ, Charleston Beer Works, and more. Your ticket includes entrance to the event, a sampling of each wing restaurant in attendance, and the ability to vote for your favorite. Enjoy wings, vendors, live music, ice cold beer, and cocktails (alcohol sold separately). This event is family-friendly and open to all ages. Get your tickets in advance for $22 or at the door for $27.

Runners of all ages will have a ball this Saturday at the Exchange Park in Ladson at the Insane Inflatable 5K, a fun and dynamic 5K with 11 of the world’s largest custom inflatable obstacles ever created. The course will challenge you, surprise you, and leave you bouncing back for more. Even those who aren’t regular runners will love this 5K fun run! New this year, kids ages 5 to 11 can run, jump, and slide their way through their own 1-mile Krazy Kids Inflatable Fun Run course. Find more info and register at the link above.

Brace yourselves—a bar crawl is coming! Whether you support the Starks, the Targaryens, the Lannisters, or you just “drink and know things,” The Brick is the place to be this Saturday to check in for the Crawl of Thrones, a King Street bar crawl with a Game of Thrones theme. Rally your bannermen and women and don your best GoT costume (not required). Check in between 3pm and 6pm at The Brick to pick up your scorecards and swag, then crawl to the other participating bars at your own pace, enjoying drink specials and getting your card marked at each bar. Note: drinking is not required to participate, especially for designated drivers! Simply show up to each spot and have your scorecard marked. Check the link above for tickets and more information.

Start your Sunday Funday off right with Sunday Brunch in Hampton Park from 11am until 2pm, hosted by Charleston Parks Conservancy. Bring your chairs and blankets and relax at the newly renovated Rose Pavilion while you enjoy bluegrass music by The Bluestone Ramblers. Local food trucks Kickin’ Chicken, Holy City Waffles, and The Pita Stroller will have delicious food available while Independent Grounds Coffee House supplies the coffee and MIX Bartending serves up beer, wine, and mimosas. Please note that coolers and pets are not allowed at this event. Get your tickets in advance for $10 or at the door for $15. Admission is free for children ages 12 and under.

 

8 Things Every New Homeowner Needs

There are so many things to think about when you’re buying a new home, especially when you’re a first-time homeowner. In the time leading up to closing day and moving day, you’re going to be pretty busy with major decisions and important tasks, which makes it easy to forget about the little things. Some essentials tend to be forgotten, and when a glass breaks on move-in day, for example, you’re stuck cleaning up the mess without a broom in sight! With this in mind, we’ve put together a short list of some things every new homeowner needs. Keep in mind that this is by no means a comprehensive list, but just some of the things we find new homeowners forgetting about in the hustle and bustle.

A Plunger and a Drain Snake

As a new homeowner, your first instinct when something goes wrong might still be to call the landlord…but then you realize you no longer have one. One of your first minor purchases when you move into your new home should be a toilet plunger and/or a drain snake. The last thing you want is to be caught without one of these tools when a toilet overflows or a drain is clogged.

Household Tool Kit

Every homeowner needs a basic household tool kit on hand at all times. After all, how will you hang all that cool artwork you bought for your new place without a hammer and some nails? You can find some great basic kits at Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, and even Amazon. Make sure the kit comes with essentials like a cordless drill and bits; a utility knife; a claw hammer; a tape measure; screwdrivers (both flat head and Phillips head, preferably in a couple of different sizes); a small assortment of pliers; a level; vice grips; an assortment of nails and screws; wire cutters; pencils and/or chalk; masking or painter’s tape; packing tape; a putty knife; a paint can key; glues (wood, super, and basic white glues are all good to have on hand); and solvents like Goo Gone.

Fire Extinguisher(s)

We could throw any number of old adages about always being prepared at you on this one, but we’ll spare you the lecture. Let’s just say that each and every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. If your home has multiple stories, it’s best to have one on each floor.

Window Coverings

This is one that often gets forgotten on move-in day. Many homes—especially new construction homes—don’t come with any window coverings, and it’s easy to forget that detail until night falls and you realize everyone can see right inside your home. Don’t forget to measure windows ahead of time and grab a few sets of blinds, shades, or curtains for a little privacy on your first night in your new home.

An Emergency Fund

We can’t stress enough how important it is for homeowners to have an emergency fund set up at all times. You never know what might happen and whether or not your homeowner's insurance will cover it. Having an emergency hand can really save your hide in the event of major repairs or life circumstances like illness or a job loss. We know—you just dropped an awful lot of cash on your down payment and other closing costs. As long as you save a little to put toward your emergency fund each month, you should find it built up in no time.

Furniture Dolly

If you choose to do your own packing and hauling on moving day, a furniture dolly will be incredibly helpful. But don’t think you won’t get much use out of it beyond that. Break it out anytime you need to move something heavy or whenever you need to help a friend move in the future.

A Wet/Dry Vacuum

Whether you think you need a wet/dry vacuum or not, you’ll get more use out of one than you might think. It will come in handy when you’re vacuuming out the car, cleaning up dog messes, picking up sawdust or other debris from DIY projects, cleaning up after a water leak or toilet overflow, and more. Get something like a Shop-Vac. You’ll thank us later.

Basic Cleaning Kit

Make sure you have basic cleaning essentials on hand. Assemble a kit that includes a broom, mop, bucket, dustpan, rags or paper towels, and household cleaners for that initial cleanup (and all those daily and weekly chores to come).

 

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