The Joggling Board in Charleston, SC Homes

If you’re not from the Lowcountry, you might be curious about those long green planks on rockers that grace the piazzas of many Charleston, SC homes. They’re called joggling boards, and their history and folklore are quite interesting.

CREATION OF THE JOGGLING BOARD

Joggling boards are typically 16 feet long and made of flexible pine painted Charleston green (a tint so dark it almost appears black). Although they are mainly used for decoration or fun seating today, they actually started out as an exercise device. According to legend, the first joggling board was built at Acton Plantation in Sumter County in the early 1800s. The owner of the plantation, Cleland Kinloch, was a widower who invited his widowed sister Mary Huger to run the household. That woman developed rheumatoid arthritis that made it too painful for her to do many activities. Riding in a carriage that was outfitted with a rocking chair was one of the few things she could enjoy. Upon hearing this, the Kinlochs’ relatives in Scotland devised an apparatus that would simulate the movement of a carriage ride and gently “joggle” its occupant back and forth, up and down, providing a little exercise and joint pain relief. The result was the joggling board.

Soon many houses in Charleston and across the state had joggling boards. They provided a fun way to relax on your porch or in your yard as you enjoyed the breezes and took a break from the southern heat. Throughout the 19th century they became so ubiquitous that they made their way into some of life’s most important events.

COURTING BENCHES

EA Joggling boardOne of the more colorful stories in Southern lore says that no house with a joggling board on its front porch has an unmarried daughter living there. Back in the days when proper young couples couldn’t be alone together without supervision, the distance of the joggling board was deemed adequate protection. So if the young lady sat on one end and her suitor on the other, they were far enough apart not to require a chaperone. But as they talked and joggled, they’d slowly move closer to each other. If they got so close that his hand touched her knee, her reputation for purity would be ruined and he’d be forced to propose marriage. Imagine a father concerned that his daughter may become a spinster deciding that his best option was to get a joggling board!

Another popular use was to rock babies to sleep. Nannies were often seen soothing fussy infants with the gentle swaying motion.

JOGGLING BOARDS TODAY

In the 20th century, the cost of suitable lumber increased to the point where joggling boards fell out of fashion. Today, however, they are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. One of the first companies to bring them back is based in Charleston.  They harken back to a more genteel time and still provide an enjoyable place to sit. Plus they require less space than a porch swing. As not all houses have expansive porches, modern versions are built in various smaller sizes. They are particularly well-loved by children.

If you would like to see and try out a joggling board, they are found in several museum houses in Charleston. Please visit the Edmondston-Alston House or the Nathaniel Russell House in downtown Charleston or Middleton Place in West Ashley.

Would you like to have a joggling board in your Charleston home?


Property Taxes for Your Charleston, SC House

So you’re thinking about purchasing a home in Charleston, SC. You’ve fallen in love with the charm of the local culture, southern beaches and gorgeous houses. We don’t blame you. But now you’re wondering exactly what you’ll be paying every year in property taxes for your Charleston, South Carolina home. Lucky for you, property taxes in South Carolina are the 5th lowest in the U.S.

Here’s a simple equation that will give you a rough calculation of what you’ll pay in property taxes for your home in Charleston, SC:

1. Determine your home’s fair market value.

2. Multiply it by the assessment ratio to get your home’s “assessed value”.

3. Multiply your home’s assessed value by your local millage rate.

We’ll explain what each figure means below. We’ll also provide a sample calculation to show you how to determine the approximate property taxes for your home.

WHAT IS THE “FAIR MARKET VALUE” OF MY HOME?

Charleston home with joggling boardThe fair market value of a home is basically the price that a buyer would realistically be willing to pay for your home. The county assessor is responsible for determining the fair market value of your home.

Three things the county assessor looks at to determine your home’s value include:

  • Your home’s value compared to other nearby properties that have recently sold.
  • What it would cost to replace the property with one that is similar.
  • How much income the property would produce if it were rented out.

Here’s a great article that walks you through how to estimate your home’s fair market value.

Because the fair market value of a home can fluctuate, county assessors can reassess the value of your home every 5 years. If your home’s value increases by more than $1000 when it’s reassessed, you’ll get a notice in the mail by December 31st.

WHAT IS THE “ASSESSMENT RATIO” IN CHARLESTON, SC?

The assessment ratio is the percentage of your home’s value that is “taxable”.

The SC assessment ratio is 4% for a primary residence.

That means if you live in that home more than 50% of the year, you can qualify for the 4% rate. But here’s what most homeowners don’t realize: You actually have to apply for that lower rate of 4%. Otherwise, once you buy a home, you are automatically taxed at 6%.

Therefore, as soon as you close on a house, if it will be your primary residence, you’ll want to file an application for the 4% assessment ratio. Once you apply for the lower rate, you won’t need to file for it again.

If you are currently being taxed at 6% and your home is your primary residence, click here to apply for the Charleston County “special assessment ratio” tax of 4%. As long as you file your application before January 15th (and assuming your application is accepted), you will be taxed at 4% for the prior year.

If you do not live in the home more than 50% of the time or rent it out, you will will remain taxed at the 6% rate.

WHAT IS THE “MILLAGE RATE”?

Charleston home piazzaThe millage rate is a dollar amount of tax owed for every $1000 of assessed value. A mill is equal to 1/10 of one cent. This portion of your tax money goes to the county’s political subdivisions like the school district, county, city etc. Because the millage rate is set by local governments, it varies from municipality to municipality.

Local municipalities millage rates can be found here.

SAMPLE CALCULATION FOR RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TAXES IN CHARLESTON, SC

So now that we know a bit more about each of the property tax terms, let’s look at how you would calculate the property tax on your home in Charleston, SC. In this example we will assume:

  • Your home’s fair market value is $550,000
  • The assessment ratio is 4% (owner occupied)
  • The millage rate is 2634

Here’s how you would calculate your residential property tax given these numbers:

Multiply your home’s fair market value by the assessment ratio to get your home’s assessed value:

sample calculation

Then multiply your home’s assessed value by your local millage rate:

sample calculation

So $5795 would be the rough estimate that you’d be expected to pay in property taxes. For a more exact answer, contact a licensed tax attorney or use Charleston County’s online tax calculator to help you determine your residential property taxes.

NEED HELP FROM A CHARLESTON REALTOR?

Knowing what you’re expected to pay in property taxes each year helps you make informed decisions regarding the purchase of your new home.

Have questions about the value of your home? We offer an easy home valuation tool – just enter some information about the property and we’ll follow up with detailed information shortly.

Disher, Hamrick & Myers looks forward to helping you navigate our beautiful Charleston properties!

 

*Note: for information only. Not to be regarded as legal advice.


The Charleston Single House

The single house is an architectural style found almost exclusively in Charleston, SC and this home plan gives the historic city much of its unique charm. The layout of a single house is ideally suited to the narrow street-facing lots originally laid out in Charleston in the late 17th and early 18th centuries (see Grand Modell). The homes are only one room wide and two rooms deep on each level, with a central hall between. Typically a porch, or piazza as it is known in Charleston, runs the length of the house with a public door facing the street. Visitors must enter the home through this entrance and traverse the porch before entering the central private door into the home. To take best advantage of prevailing breezes, piazzas always face south or west.

Charleston Single House at 62 Tradd St.

Public spaces, like an entry or office, inhabit the first floor. Entertaining spaces, such as drawing rooms, withdrawing rooms or ballrooms occupy the second floor – above the hustle and bustle (and mess and smells) of the streetways. Family spaces and bedrooms are found on the third floor. Each room would incorporate more or less decorative detail according to its use, with second floor spaces having the highest ceilings with intricate and colorful moldings. Those high ceilings, coupled with tall windows (often floor-length to accommodate walking out to the piazzas) allowed breezes to flow through the rooms and helped make Lowcountry weather more bearable.

Outbuildings, such as kitchens, stables and carriage houses, were constructed separate from the main house to the rear of the property. Today, many of these have been converted into separate residences (and given rise to the unique ½ address that dot the Charleston Peninsula). Other outbuildings were later connected to the main residence via “hyphens.” Kitchens were built away from the main house in an attempt to prevent fires — such as the numerous ones that destroyed large swaths of the peninsula — from spreading to the living quarters. This is also why the back wall of the main houses had fewer windows than might be expected for ventilation.

Charleston Single House at 45 Church St.

Various decorative styles have been applied to the single house layout, including Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian. Two and three-story piazzas often employ the classical order of columns with the ground level being Doric, followed by Ionic and Corinthian. Formal gardens beautified the side yards to be enjoyed from the shady porches. In fact, upper porches were sometimes used as sleeping quarters on hot, humid nights.

Don’t believe a tour guide who tells you single houses were a reaction to the city taxing street frontage. Instead, “early Charlestonians developed the Single House as an ingenious solution to the various demands of their unique urban landscape: a house that provided privacy, ventilation, fire protection, and social status within the confines of a tightly restrictive public space.” (credit Charleston County Pubic Library)

Disher, Hamrick & Myers Real Estate currently has several archetypical singles houses for sale in downtown Charleston: 24 King Street45 Church Street, 25A Montagu Street and 66 Smith Street. If this style historic home appeals to you, contact us for a showing!


Get to Know the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant

Disher, Hamrick & Myers real estate agent Bill Johnson recently sold two historic homes in the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant: 209 Bennett Street and 114 Hibben Street. Let’s take a closer at this charming neighborhood in the heart of East Cooper.

The Old Village consists of 30 blocks bounded by Charleston Harbor to the west, Shem Creek to the north, Royal Avenue to the east and McCants Drive to the south. It contains the oldest home in the area and the foundations of the present town. Mt. Pleasant is named after a plantation originally owned by Jacob Motte. The main house was built in 1755 and still stands at 111 Hibben Street in the Old Village. Hibben House takes its name from James Hibben, who purchased the property 1803 and named his plantation Mt. Pleasant. Between 1766 and 1847, several other settlements grew up across the harbor from the Charleston peninsula. These were incorporated into the town of Mt. Pleasant in 1872.

Shem Creek, Old VillageThe Mount Pleasant Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Today, the Old Village is known for the its history and the architecture of its homes as well as its churches, shopping, dining, and outdoor recreational activities. Perhaps the best-loved part of the Old Village is Shem Creek. This picturesque waterway is the home to a local shrimping fleet as well as several well-known restaurants, boating and water sports companies. The newly-completed public boardwalk provides spectacular views of the water, marshes, sunsets, fishermen, shrimpers and dolphins.

Another popular outdoor walkway can be found at the Pitt Street Bridge. Several bridges dating back to the Revolutionary War have occupied this passage – including the one through which the H.L. Hunley submarine crossed during the Civil War. The remains of the last bridge now welcome pedestrians, bicyclists, and dog-walkers.

Long-time businesses in the Old Village include the Pitt Street Pharmacy, which has been serving locals since 1937 and includes an old-fashioned soda fountain. The nearby Old Post House restaurant – founded by the seminal Maverick Kitchen Group and now owned by the Hall family – crafts fine Southern dishes for hungry locals and visitors alike. Waterfront Alhambra Hall, once a ferry terminal, and is now a popular event venue.

Take a drive across the Ravenel Bridge to the explore all the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant has to offer. And if you are interested in making the oak-lined neighborhood your home, please contact Disher, Hamrick & Myers to give you our local expertise and open every door…


Make This Piece of History Your Own!

Imagine buying a dream home, in the heart of one of the country’s most adored cities, then being able to design the interior exactly to your liking.

62 Tradd StreetThe home at 62 Tradd Street offers this very unique opportunity! The property is situated on one of Downtown’s most picturesque streets, running across the peninsula, from the Charleston Harbor to the Ashley River. According to the Charleston County Public Library, “tradition says Tradd Street was named for Robert Tradd who supposedly was the first child of European descent born in the Province. lt is more likely that it was named for his father, Richard Tradd, who by 1679 was living at the northeast corner of present-day Tradd and East Bay. Early deeds refer to ‘the little street that runs from Cooper River past Mr. Tradd’s house.'”

A stroll down Tradd Street reveals beautiful historic homes steeped in history and framed by intricate ironwork and lush manicured gardens. The home and property at 62 Tradd presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Buyers to create a dream home within the walls of a historic gem. The structure, c. 1852 was a bakery with a dwelling upstairs. The outbuildings included a bake house and quarters for workers of the bakery. Descendants of the baker, John T. Marshall resided in the home until 1978 when they sold to the current owner. A shell now ready for interior renovation, 62 Tradd has plans drawn and available from Charlottesville, VA architecture firm W.G. Clark Associates. Noteworthy features of the property include repointed bricks, a basement, screened porch, slate driveway, a grand entryway, five fireplaces, huge windows and handsome French doors allowing for a sun-drenched interior.

This property was sold by Agent Douglas Berlinksy.

 


Opening Every Door – Disher, Hamrick & Myers

WeDisher, Hamrick & Myerslcome to the new Disher, Hamrick & Myers website!

Our new, fully responsive website is live and ready to serve visitors on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. You’ll notice DHM’s exclusive listings are prominently featured on the home page and an intuitive search function offers users the ability to search every home for sale in the Charleston area via MLS. Searches and favorite listings can be saved by creating a personal DHM account. When viewing the website on a mobile device, users can also search for homes via GPS-enabled functionality.

And if you’re wondering which of our experienced Real Estate Agents might be best to help in the purchase or sale of a home, we offer in-depth profiles of each agent and their contact information. Staying “in the know” is made easy with live feeds from our Twitter and Facebook channels across the site. We’ve also launched the DHM blog, a Google+ profile and a YouTube channel that will feature a diverse selection of Charleston and real estate-related video content.

Thanks for visiting DHM’s new website. We’d love to hear your feedback! Comment on any of our social media channels or email us at [email protected] with your thoughts or suggestions for ways we can improve your user experience.

Enjoy!