A Tale of Two Charleston Live Theatres

Charleston is home to many firsts, including America’s first museum, first golf course, first regularly-scheduled passenger train, and of course the first historic district. But did you know we also had the first theatre – which predates America itself?

That’s right, New York’s Broadway isn’t the only place famous for offering live stage performances. To this day, Charleston, South Carolina continues to present many different entertainment options, making it an enticing place to live or visit.

Two Charleston theatres are DHM’s neighbors in the French Quarter neighborhood of downtown Charleston. Each has its own place in our nation’s dramatic history. Here are their stories.

 

THE DOCK STREET THEATRE

The oldest and most famous place to experience live theatre in Charleston is the historic Dock Street Theatre. It is located on the corner of Church Street and Queen Street, which was previously named Dock Street. The original structure on the site dated to 1736 and was the very first building in the colonies constructed exclusively for live theatre.

Its first production was of George Farquhar’s rather risqué play, The Recruiting Officer. This popular 18th century script was also the first to be staged on Broadway, and continues to be performed contemporarily. The first opera recital in America, Flora, also took place at the Dock Street.

Iron Balcony at Planters Hotel, Docks Street Theatre, CharlestonThat original building was probably lost along with many of its neighbors in the Great Fire of 1740. Roughly 70 years later, in 1809, the current building was erected on the site. It operated as the Planter’s Hotel for the next 136 years. In 1835, a balcony trimmed with exquisite iron railings was added. That balcony still exists above the current entrance.

Unfortunately, the Civil War destroyed much of the rest of the hotel. It stood in disrepair until the Great Depression, when it was slated for demolition. However, in 1935, the building was purchased by the City of Charleston and renovated as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The interior of the existing hotel was retrofitted to return the building to its original purpose as a live theatre.

Stage at the Dock Street Theatre, CharlestonMore than 100 years after its first opening performance, the restored Dock Street Theatre held a second grand opening in November 1937. Following historic precedent, it staged a revival of The Recruiting Officer. The revitalized theatre enjoyed decades as Charleston’s primary venue for stage performances. It earned recognition on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

But by the 21st century, the stage was showing its age. Dated facilities and uncomfortable seating drew from its appeal. This time, the City of Charleston undertook a state-of-the-art renovation. Completed in March 2010, it leaves the Dock Street well-equipped to enter its fourth century at the heart of Charleston’s artistic community.

Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, SCSince 1978, Charleston Stage has been the resident theatrical company at the Dock Street. They produce more than 100 performances each year. Today, you can experience live theatre in America’s first playhouse, as countless residents and visitors alike have over the years. The current schedule is available here.

 

THE QUEEN STREET PLAYHOUSE

While the Dock Street is the oldest physical theatre in Charleston, the Footlight Players are the longest existing theatre company in the city. Formed in 1931, they originally acted on various stages around Charleston, including the Dock Street. In fact, they are the troupe who performed at the 1937 second opening of the Dock Street Theatre. They remained in residence there until 1941.

Queen Street Playhouse, Charleston, SCBy that time, the Players realized the need for their own performance space. They had purchased a c. 1850 cotton warehouse at 20 Queen Street back in 1934. That facility initially functioned as storage and scenery construction space, but soon proved an ideal location for their needs. Volunteers remodeled the building into a true community playhouse.

Over the next few decades, the Footlight Players regularly performed at their own theatre as well as the Dock Street and other locations throughout the city. In 1986, they moved exclusively to the Queen Street location. However, it was more than 30 years later, in August 2018, that the current name was adopted. Today, the Footlight Players host dozens of live performances each year at the rebranded Queen Street Playhouse.

 

OTHER CHARLESTON THEATRES

There are plenty of other live theatre venues in the Charleston area. Light-hearted comedy, mystery, magic, and musical shows make for a fun night on the town. Pure Theatre and the Woolfe Street Playhouse are more contemporary spaces, while the grand Gaillard Center and the North Charleston Performing Arts Center bring in national and international artists and productions. And don’t forget our local college and university drama departments. Even with all these choices, the Dock Street Theatre and Queen Street Playhouse retain their own revered places in Charleston’s dramatic history.

 

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DHM Proudly Sponsors the Fall Tours

Disher, Hamrick & Myers Real Estate is proud to sponsor The Preservation Society of Charleston’s 43rd Annual Fall Tours of Homes, History, & Architecture. This year, the tours take place from October 3 – November 2. This highly-anticipated event is The Preservation Society’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Founded in 1920, the organization’s goals are to recognize, protect, and advocate for the Lowcountry’s historic places.

If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the grand historic estates in downtown Charleston, this is your chance. Volunteer homeowners open their doors to you and welcome you into their homes. Each tour includes 6-8 properties within walking distance, with guides stationed to help you navigate your way, as well as docents in each home to tell you more about its history, architecture, furnishings, and art.

In addition to the ever-popular house tours, there are garden tours, which let you peek behind the gates into private oases. Each Thursday, a curated tour of gardens is led by industry professionals, for those who desire a deeper dive into Charleston’s horticulture.

Then on Fridays, professional and amateur photographers alike are invited to attend a 3-hour walkabout that will teach them how to take stunning architectural photographs for their own collections. Be sure to bring a camera or phone to capture your masterpieces.

And early birds can take a morning history walk through downtown’s streets. While these strolls do not include admission into private homes or gardens, they are a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our beautiful city. Topics vary and include ironwork, the Grimke Sisters, architecture, and even our graveyards.

So put on your walking shoes and join DHM in supporting the Preservation Society for the 2019 Fall Tours!

 

MORE INFORMATION            PURCHASE TICKETS

 

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The History of Row Houses in Charleston

Row houses are a distinctive part of the architecture of many of the oldest cities across the United States. The style first appeared in Europe at the Place des Vosges in Paris, early in the 17th century, concurrent with the founding of America. It followed settlers across the Atlantic to the colonies, where early cities were founded near the water or on peninsulas. These connected homes make the most of limited land. Accordingly, they are prominent in port cities such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

 

WHAT IS A ROW HOUSE?

A row house is a single-family dwelling of at least 2 stories that shares one or both walls and roofline with a neighbor. While this definition also applies to townhouses, they differ in that row houses are very similar in architectural design and the facades are aligned. Townhouses, on the other hand, can be staggered from the street and may differ vastly in style.

Brownstone row housesOne well-known example of a row house is a New York brownstone, named after the reddish-brown color of sandstone on the exterior. Throughout Europe, row houses are called terraced houses. But across the US South, “row house” is a more generic term referring to any long contiguous group of residences. While there are a few brownstones in Charleston, row houses are more common along our historic streets.

 

CHARLESTON’S ROW HOUSES

A number of streets in downtown Charleston are adorned with beautiful row houses that date to the city’s earliest residents. Many of Charleston’s row houses have balconies with elaborate iron railings.

One such row has earned worldly distinction: Rainbow Row. This stretch of 13 homes is located on East Bay Street, just South of Broad. The collection of different pastel colors used on each individual residence led Robert Ripley of “Believe It Ot Not” fame to coin the term Rainbow Row.

While Rainbow Row is one of the most photographed areas in downtown Charleston, it has not always been that way. The homes were built in the middle of the 18th century as modest residences. Merchants working Charleston Harbor could conduct business downstairs and live upstairs.

99-101 East Bay Street Row HousesAfter the Civil War, the area was so rundown it was deemed a slum and stayed in disrepair for almost a century. Then in 1931, Judge Lionel Legge and his wife Dorothy purchased a block of the homes. It was Dorothy’s idea to paint the homes in colorful pastels, to reflect the city’s Colonial Caribbean affinity. She painted their primary residence at 99-101 East Bay Street pink.

Eventually, the entire row was repainted in various pastels. There is a longstanding legend that the homes were painted different colors so that drunken sailors could find their way to the proper front door. However, since the homes receive a generous amount of sunshine, it is more likely Legge’s motivation was to make the houses cooler in the hot South Carolina summers.

Whatever the original reason, these charming Charleston row houses have captivated the imagination and love of locals and tourists alike.

 

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Best Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Charleston This Summer

It would be hard to find a more beautiful place to live than Charleston, SC. People come here for the history and beaches, and end up staying for the mild weather and beautiful scenery. The location is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, as well as those who have an appreciation for native plants and wildlife. You’ll find plenty of activities to enjoy under the warm southern sun. So get outside and check out these places to enjoy the summer in Charleston!

CHARLESTON HARBOR

Charleston Harbor and the Ravenel BridgeCharleston’s prime location on the waterfront makes it easy to access a variety of water activities. You can enjoy a sunset sail on a charter boat or test your skills by angling for a big fish. Kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals are also quite popular if you want to explore Charleston Harbor from the water. You can also catch a boat out to Fort Sumter, to see where the Civil War began. Or cross the Ravenel Bridge to the Mt. Pleasant side of the harbor to tour the USS Yorktown.

WATERFRONT PARK

Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park, CharlestonVisitors and locals alike are quite fond of Waterfront Park. This beautiful park stretches along 10 acres of harborfront property in downtown Charleston. It’s perfect for a morning jog or evening stroll. Bring a book, grab one of the many benches and enjoy the breeze coming off the water. Walk down the public pier and sway in one of the hanging porch swings. Take in the sights of boats and marine life. Let the kids splash around in the Pineapple Fountain, a symbol of Southern hospitality.

JAMES ISLAND COUNTY PARK

Searching for an adventure? Look no further than James Island County Park, just a short drive from Charleston. This park features great activities for anyone looking for an adrenaline rush. You’ll find a 50-foot climbing wall that’s popular with guests. Many organizations take advantage of the challenge course for a team-building exercise. Enjoy a walk or jog down one the miles of paved trails lined by subtropical loving plants. Bring some friends and challenge them to the 18-hole disc golf course. Cool off in the seasonal Splash Zone Water Park. A visit to James Island County Park is perfect for those afternoons when you need to get out of the house.

MCLEOD PLANTATION HISTORIC SITE

McLeod Plantation There are many plantations in the Charleston area that date back centuries. McLeod Plantation Historic Site, est. 1851, sits on 37 acres on James Island. Here, you’ll learn how critical sea island cotton and the plantation system were to Charleston. You’ll also learn about the lives of the free and enslaved men and women who built and ran McLeod. Walking paths take you past 19th-century buildings, which you can also tour. Keep an eye out for the many native plants that cover the area. Be sure stop by the McLeod Oak Tree, which dates back more than 600 years.

GO WEST

Angel Oak, John's Island, SCThe famous Angel Oak is located just a short drive west from Charleston, on Johns Island. You can’t miss this beautiful tree that is at least 400 years old and covers more than 17,000 square feet. The tree itself is stunning, but there are also other outdoor activities to enjoy on this side of town. Travel a little further up picturesque Maybank Highway to Wadmalaw Island. Here, check out Charleston’s only winery, Deep Water Vineyard, and sample some of their muscadine wines. Or tour the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in the US.

 

Author John Williams is an outdoor living expert and explorer. When he’s not traveling to nature’s well-known beauty spots, he tends to the greenery surrounding his home.

 

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Spoleto Festival Insider Tips & Tricks

The 43rd annual Spoleto Festival USA runs from May 24-June 9 this year. Charleston residents and visitors alike will have the opportunity to enjoy world-class theatrical and musical performances. Want to know how to enjoy the festival like a local? Whether this will be your first Spoleto or you are a regular, here are some insider tips and tricks to make the most out of your visit to the festival.

 

SPOLETO ON A BUDGET

  • Piccolo Spoleto posterTickets are less expensive for weekday performances than for those on the weekends.
  • Some city garages offer free parking during the performances.
  • Select events offer senior, military, student and group discounts.
  • Piccolo Spoleto is a complementary festival with regional rather than international artists. Many Piccolo events are free or have a minimal charge.
  • Free events include afternoon concerts at the Festival of Churches and Synagogues, Family Day at Marion Square, the opening weekend concert at the Customs House and the Festival Finale at Hampton Park.

DINING CONSIDERATIONS

  • Restaurants and bars tend to be full before and after performances. Take this into consideration when scheduling your meals out and plan accordingly.
  • Allow more time than you think you need if dining before a show.
  • If you’re not attending a performance, choose to dine during those hours. Reservations are much easier to get at those times.

DOWNTOWN PARKING

  • Parking is always difficult. Be prepared to drive around to find a spot and then walk a good distance to the venue. The earlier you arrive, the better chance to find a good parking spot.
  • On-street parking meters are free after 10:00pm and on Sundays.
  • Neighborhood parking is usually limited to an hour or two. If you park in a residential area, you will be ticketed if you stay longer.
  • Some garages offer flat rates for the evening.
  • If possible, leave the car at home and walk or Uber.

Spoleto posterSPOLETO VENUES

  • Indoor venues tend to be very cold, so despite the usual Charleston heat and humidity outside, be sure to bring a wrap or a jacket with you.
  • You can purchase last-minute tickets at the venue an hour before the show. They are not discounted, but are often available, especially for shows at larger venues such as the College of Charleston Cistern and the Gaillard Center.
  • Go to the festival office at the Gaillard Center to get information and brochures on Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto. They will provide all the information on times, dates, length of productions, maps, etc.

 

And if you enjoy your trip to Charleston so much you’d like to move here permanently or invest in a vacation home, Disher, Hamrick & Myers can help you find the perfect place! Call us at 843.577.4115 to start your Charleston home search.

 

Do you have any additional insider tips for Spoleto? If so, please add them in the comments.

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Six Spring Blooms in Charleston Gardens

Spring is a colorful time in Charleston, SC. From the lawns of historic plantations to decorative flowers in parks, the city rebounds from winter with a burst of pigments and hues. From Hampton Park to Magnolia Plantation, there are so many places to catch a glimpse of the vibrant spring blossoms. Take the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and soak in the sights of these 6 blooms, which you will see everywhere in Charleston gardens this spring.

 

AZALEAS

azaleaWant to catch a glimpse of azaleas in full bloom? You’ll have plenty of opportunities to view these shade-tolerant blooms in Charleston, where they blossom for several weeks. Azalea Park in nearby Summerville is filled with hot pink azaleas, as well as other flowering plants like lavender, wisteria and white dogwoods. The annual Flowertown Festival, held in April, brings thousands of guests to view its flora and enjoy food, craft booths and family fun activities.

 

DAFFODILS

daffodil

Daffodils take hold in spring in Charleston gardens. You can find them as early as February in most parts of the city. These perennials bloom until the end of April and continue to come back every season. Typically planted in the fall, daffodils are resistant to deer and other pests and hold up well to the hustle and bustle of the city.  They display blooms that are white, yellow, orange, pink or tricolor. They are often seen as a harbinger of spring.

 

CAMELLIAS

camellia

Charleston is home to hundreds of types of camellias, including the “Reine des Fleurs” or “Queen of Flowers.”  This specimen is the only surviving one of the first four camellias planted and cultivated in America – in 1786! You can see it today at Middleton Place, which hosts camellia walks throughout the spring. On this tour, you’ll learn about the different forms these flowers take and see other ancient camellias as well as more modern cultivars.

 

SOUTHERN MAGNOLIAS

southern magnolia

The city is famous for its magnolias, which are native to South Carolina. These trees come into bloom in May, producing gorgeous foliage in spring and early summer. Their saucer-like white flowers emit a wonderful scent that is used in many locally-produced perfumes, candles, soaps and home fragrances. This iconic tree lends its name to the famous Magnolia Plantation, where romantic gardens allow it and other plants to grow informally, as nature intended.

 

NOISETTE ROSES

Noisette rose

Take the time to pause and smell the roses in Charleston. Here, they bloom in late April and continue until the first frost, which is usually not until November. Charleston is the birthplace of one of the most famous garden roses, the Noisette rose. In fact, it’s the only class of rose to originate in the US. No surprise, they’re a favorite in Charleston gardens. You can also find them growing in public attractions like Boone Hall and Hampton Park.

 

HYDRANGEAS

hydrangea

If you’re a hydrangea lover, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to view them throughout Charleston in early summer. That’s when thousands of these large blossoms, which make beautiful cuttings, are in bloom. Hydrangeas present in many colors, including a rarity for the flower kingdom: blue. Interestingly, their hue depends on the pH of the surrounding soil, creating shades from white to pink to purple to blue. The floral clusters also dry very well, so you can enjoy their beauty into fall.

 

No matter where you roam in Charleston – from parks to plantations – there are plenty of places to catch a glimpse of these beautiful spring colors. Make sure you bring the camera and enjoy the colorful palate this spring!

 

Author David Wheeler is a landscape design writer and nature enthusiast. He is an avid traveler and loves to spend his time hiking and strolling through magnificent gardens, learning about rare and native flowers across the world.

 

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Enjoy a Taste of Charleston at the Wine & Food Festival

The 2019 Charleston Wine & Food Festival is taking place this Wednesday – Sunday, March 6-10. If you are a foodie, you won’t want to miss this premier event! Charleston is known around the world as one of the most cultured cities in the south. From our beautiful historic homes to our rich southern history, visitors from around the globe can’t get enough of our unique character and culture. But Charleston is also recognized a top culinary destination and you won’t get the full Charleston experience if you aren’t sampling our local cuisines. The first weekend in March is a special opportunity to celebrate our culinary distinctions, taste our southern fare and toast to everything that makes Charleston the gem of the south!

Charleston Wine & Food Festival signThe backbone of the Charleston Wine & Food Festival is the Culinary Village located in Marion Square. Here, you can sample local food and spirits, meet purveyors and chefs, watch cooking demonstrations and purchase goods. More than 100 other events are also planned throughout the week. Highlights for festival goers include:

  • Dinners
  • Workshops
  • Excursions
  • Parties
  • And More

Most events are conveniently located in downtown Charleston within walking distance of Marion Square. Others are throughout the surrounding areas and have shuttle service to the venues.

Charleston Wine & Food Festival sampleAll festival events do require tickets, which fit a variety of budgets. There are even hotel packages to help you plan your full weekend. Note that this event is for adults only – no children under 21 or pets are allowed – so be sure to secure a sitter. Locals can receive discounted tickets to the Culinary Village on Sunday, March 10. Those who want to participate behind the scenes can sign up to volunteer by filling out this form. Find more information including a full calendar, event details and tickets by visiting the official Charleston Wine & Food Festival website at charlestonwineandfood.com. See you there!

Special thanks to Slather Brand Foods for the festival photos.

 

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French Quarter Art Walk

Disher, Hamrick & Myers is proud to be located in the heart of the city’s original commercial district on Broad Street in the French Quarter of historic downtown Charleston. And one of our neighborhood’s favorite events is coming up. The first Friday in March, May, October and December is the Charleston Gallery Association’s French Quarter Art Walk. Over 40 galleries and shops stay open from 5-8 in the evening to welcome art lovers and guests. Many serve wine and light refreshments and host artists and exhibit openings. USAToday named the art walk one of the  10BEST “Free Things to Do” in Charleston.

ART WALK INSIDER TIPS

All the participants are within walking distance and maps can be picked up at any location. You may start at any one and visit as many as you wish at your own pace. Strike up a lively conversation with a gallery owner or artist. Discuss your reaction to a painting or sculpture, and maybe even find a piece to add to your own collection. Art prices are very accessible, ranging from prints and original pieces available for under $50 to larger pieces of fine art and jewelry priced in the tens of thousands of dollars. There is truly the opportunity for everyone to find something they can afford and enjoy.

French Quarter art walkArchitecture buffs should be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to see inside and behind the buildings normally only glimpsed from the street front. To make the most of your experience, venture off the beaten path to shops and galleries that are located in alleyways or on the second or third levels of buildings. The streets will be bustling with locals and visitors of all ages.

After the art walk, treat yourself to a cocktail or dinner at one of the French Quarter’s restaurants, like the upscale Oak Steakhouse or Disher, Hamrick & Myers’ neighbor, the Blind Tiger Pub. The weather should be pleasantly warm and sunny, presenting the perfect opportunity to stroll the historic streets of downtown Charleston. Beautiful weather, art, architecture, food, drink and company – what more could you ask for on a Friday evening? We look forward to seeing you all there!

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Have Your Best Valentine’s Day in Charleston

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Now is the opportunity to pamper your loved ones – and yourself – with some of the best that Charleston has to offer. Here are our real estate agents’ recommendations for the most romantic spots to celebrate your Valentine’s Day in Charleston. Just click on each name to be linked to the individual businesses’ websites for more information.

 

MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS IN CHARLESTON

  • Fulton Five – Consistently rated the Most Romantic Restaurant in Charleston, this cozy Northern Italian eatery located down an alleyway off of King Street earns its marks.
  • R. Kitchen – Chef Ross Webb creates a new four-course menu every night for the 16 lucky guests who sit at the counter in his kitchen in Cannonborough-Elliotborough.
  • Middleton Place Restaurant – Once the daytime crowds have left, enjoy strolling the moonlit pathways of Middleton Place gardens before or after your traditional Southern meal at the restaurant. Don’t miss the Huguenot Torte for dessert! To top your evening off, book a romantic room in the Middleton Inn where you can enjoy champagne and chocolates in a soaking tub or beside the wood-burning fireplace.
  • Zero Restaurant + Bar – Located in a boutique hotel in Ansonborough, this small fine dining spot is the reason why Zero George was named one of Conde Nast’s Top 5 Foodie Hotels in the World.
  • Circa 1886 – Tucked in the former carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion, enjoy the seasonal menu or splurge on the 5-course tasting menu. After dinner, be sure to tour the Wentworth Mansion. If you are lucky, catch a glimpse of the city at twilight from atop their cupola.

 

BEST CHOCOLATES:

Charleston Valentine's Day chocolates & flowers

  • Christophe – Treat yourself to handmade traditional chocolates as well as delicious pastries from French Artisan Chocolatier-Pâtissier Christophe Paume.
  • Godiva Chocolatier – Find these world-known Belgian chocolates in the Charleston Place Hotel. Pick up a Valentine’s Day heart-shaped box full of assorted truffles.
  • Market Street Sweets – If chocolate alone isn’t your thing, indulge your sweet tooth with warm pecan pralines and fresh Bear Claws. Originally from River Street in Savannah, this shop also has locations on the Market and King Street. I dare you to walk by the smells wafting out of these shops without stopping for at least a sample!

 

BEST FLORIST:

  • Lotus Flower – Since 2000, the owners have been making some of the most creative arrangements in Charleston.
  • Tiger Lily Florist – The converted service station on Spring Street has become one of downtown Charleston’s premier flower shops, plus they deliver throughout the area.
  • Charleston Flower Market – This long-time shop on Maybank Highway on James Island advertises “uniquely creative” cut flowers and arrangements.

 

BEST SPA:

  • The Spa at Charleston Place – This European-style retreat is located in the Charleston Place Hotel in downtown Charleston. Guests have access to a rooftop pool with retractable glass ceiling. After your appointment, enjoy a poolside lunch. Or have a mommy and me day, treating your daughter to a “Lollipop Manicure.”
  • Earthling Day Spa – Another stalwart of the downtown spa scene, Earthling also houses a Pilates studio.
  • Woodhouse Day Spa – This luxurious spa across the Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant is a relative newcomer, but already receiving rave reviews.

Remember when two people love each other, anything can be romantic!

How will you spend your Valentine’s Day in Charleston? What are your suggestions for the most romantic spots? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Housing Your College Student in Charleston

If your daughter or son is attending one of the many colleges in Charleston, SC, you have several housing options. While many students will choose to live in a dormitory or rent an apartment, you should also consider buying a home near campus. Owning a rental home can be a worthwhile financial investment, as well as an educational experience for your child. Purchasing the property your student lives in while attending school offers many benefits:

  • Stability. Your student will be in the same location during their college years. There will not be a need for yearly apartment hunting.
  • Storage. Furniture and other belongings can remain in the home while you own it, saving both time and money.
  • Fixed expenses. Generally, rent in Charleston increases every year. The average rent for an apartment in the downtown area is over $2300 per month. By buying your property with a fixed rate mortgage, the housing expense will be fixed for the duration of ownership. Keep in mind, you will also avoid paying security deposits and moving utility services.
  • Responsibility. Your child receives a lesson in real estate investing as well as the responsibility that comes with owning property.
  • Financial benefits. Your financial gains include possible appreciation in value, equity build up and the opportunity to charge rent to housemates.

Of course, there are some things to watch out for when considering buying a home for your student. College students are generally on the move, so staying in one location for four or five years could present a challenge. If you rent rooms in the home, you become landlords and your student may have to deal with irresponsible housemates. General maintenance costs are also something to remember when purchasing an investment property. Be sure to factor additional expenses into your formula.

 

FINANCING OPTIONS

When it comes to the actual purchase of your investment property, there are many options available for the title and financing. Some parents include the student’s name on the title for owner-occupied tax benefits, while some opt to buy strictly as a rental property. There are several ways to hold the title, so speak with your attorney and tax advisor to determine the best route for you.

When you have decided to move forward with a purchase, your lending institution should offer several strategies. If your student will be named on the title of the property, using a FHA “kiddie condo” loan is a good option. This program allows your student to qualify for the loan as a co-borrower with a blood relative. There is a maximum loan amount, so check here for limits in the location of interest. Another option is to use a non-owner occupied loan with conventional financing. Interest-only loans are also available that may have a lower monthly payment.

Should you wish to rent extra rooms to supplement the mortgage payment and share expenses, have each housemate sign a written agreement. Standard rental agreements can be obtained through your real estate agent or lawyer. The rental document needs to address the term of the lease, rate and due date for payments, security deposit, parking, pets, utility payments, maximum occupancy and notice to vacate.

college student graduationWhen your student graduates or is moving on, you have several options. You can keep the property as an investment rental. If you have another child who attends the same school, you can make a similar arrangement with him or her. You can also exchange the home for another investment property in another location in a 1031 exchange. Or you can always sell the property and realize any profits from increased value.

Disher, Hamrick & Myers has several homes for sale near the College of Charleston and MUSC that would make ideal student residences or investment properties: 31 Coming Street, 9 Bogard Street, 1 Senate Street and 24 Strawberry Lane. Buying a house for your college student has many advantages. To learn more and decide if this is the right strategy for your family, call Katherine Falls at 843.478.0495 today.

 

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